AR 2009: Fund Raising

AR 2009: Fund Raising

We were live-blogging AR 2009. We brought our laptops to the sessions, took notes, and published those notes for you right here.

For details about Animal Rights 2009, please take a look at

These are my notes about:
Fund Raising

Speaker 1 – Lorri Houston from Animal Acres

  • a) Administrative operations – this is the key to organizational development, database, office, etc
  • database is HUGE, it is lifeblood of organization- members provide majority of funding (I remember this to be true from another nonprofit I worked with)
  • etapestry = free for new nonprofits if membership is under 500 (I use meetup to organize database, listserv, etc.)
  • b) Bequest program, remind members to remember the animals in their will
  • c) Personal touch: get to know the members, calls, handwritten notes, thank yous
  • do what you can yourself (because you can’t afford to pay others)
  • schedule mailings – 3-4 appeals to members per year, 2-3 appeals to nonmembers
  • e) email alerts/ newsletter monthly
  • f) Monthly giving – easy for members, regular income for org
  • sponship of animals at animal acres provides half of thenecessary funds to care for the animals. It’s a huge success
  • g) Special events – annual gala, opportunity to highlight the organization and have fun, make it fancy
  • celebs, gourmet vegan food, etc.
  • takes 6 months of planning, events planning skills
  • h) Volunteering – helps ease funding need, keep good volunteer database, motivation is key

Speaker 2 – Joshua Levine

  • Continuum of fund rasing from disorganized, haphazard fund raising to immaculate, planned fund raising and funds management
  • Examples of the two kinds and how the donor is more compfortable giving to the organized org
  • Make sure all financial records and budgets are clear and up-to-date
  • If our org receives a large pool of money/ endowment it should last. We need to protect it, we have a duty to protect it
  • Investments need to be “mission aligned”  (not invested in orgs working against our org)
  • Brand your group’s name – internet, networking, etc
  • Partnerships with other orgs that can help fund raising or funds management
  • Partnerships with industry, too – restaurants, culinary schools, etc

Speaker 3 – Alex Hershaft of FARM

  • Think of resources as more than just money, for example, volunteers
  • Other resources: facilities like homes and warehouses, trade and bartering
  • Look into payroll deduction campaigns where employees can automatically donate to you
  • Resource management – think of ways to save resources, too
  • Conservation – refurbished computers, used furniture, telecommuting (, use freeware etc, printers use “house paper”,
  • Regular schedules for volunteers encourages them to come back regularly,
  • Planning can save a lot of money – get the media mail rate, etc.
  • Advertising your org on a budget: barter, remainders
  • Postage – plan ahead and use bulk mail or media mail
  • Phone – skype!
  • Emailing – is current, cheap bulk email provider of choice for FARM
  • FARM’s budget – $400,000/ year


  1. Q: What is the Animal Acres gala budget?
    A: Around $25,000. It’s low because they use volunteers, get donated goods, put it on at home base instead of rent a space. Other galas cost around $60-70,000. In order to raise big bucks, it has to be very fancy
  2. Q: In this economy, should continue the same events?
    A: YES, sadly sometimes spending money makes the org seem more successful and thus people are more willing to donate and make it a self-fulfilling prophesy. Long-term special events are a big deal
  3. Q: How to get new members/ donations?
    A: It’s a huge struggle, just keep working at it, highlight the organization
  4. Q: I’m starting a new nonprofit. I have big ideas/ big goals but little funds?
    A: Can be difficult to get grants in our movement because of controversy; work through an existing nonprofit and use a flow-through for funding
  5. Q: Should we allow family members on our nonprofit board?
    A: No, it’s not avisable; try to get a relatively neutral board

These are just my notes and are not official transcripts or anything like that.


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