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Launching a Comprehensive Fundraising Plan for Your Writing Project Site

Author: Meg Petersen

Summary: The new reality for site sustainability is the need for fundraising. This overview of the Hudson Valley Writing Project’s strategy focuses on the need for ongoing discussion, cultivating university relationships, documenting programs, and identifying tools and actions. This document is written in a short, easy-to-use list form, and would be a great starting point for other sites to consider their own fundraising strategies. Site leaders might use it at a leadership retreat to spur discussions not only about funding, but also about marketing and visibility—how to make sure the university and the larger educational community know about the site, its programs, and its impact.

Original Date of Publication: February 26, 2013

HVWP Fund-Raising Strategies, Tools, and Actions:

I. Commit to on-going site discussion of fundraising and working meetings (about 1x per month)

  • Meetings: Read, write, and strategize together – keeping a running record on google doc;
  • Share financials with TC community through Letter-Writing & “Community Meetings”
  • Build a case for giving to support SI participation and YWP scholarship

II. Continue cultivating university relationships

  • Meet with Development/Foundation Officers, VP for Finances, Deans
  • Invite President and Dean of the School of Education to greet HVWP Visitors
  • Build a case for how HVWP “fits” university goals for community service

III. Recommit to documenting, evaluating, and reporting HVWP Programs

  • Take photographs at all events
  • Make short digital compositions of programs
  • Solicit testimony/evaluation from stakeholders (TCs, Teachers, Administrators, parents, youth writers)
  • Write Press Releases and Letters describing HVWP accomplishment

IV. Tools & Actions:

  • Attended NWP webinar and locally sponsored fundraising workshops; Foundation Center Grant Basics/Grant Makers Panel (to discover available funding resources and how to effectively develop a grant request budget).
  • Wrote a 2-page case regarding fund-raising goals – with text/photographs
  • Designed, distributed, and sold T-shirts w logo/message (e.g., Respect Teachers; iWrite)
  • Opened new “Foundation” account to complement existing Research Foundation
  • PayPal Link on HVWP website for donations; registration fees (pending activation)
  • Wrote fund-drive* letters and personal acknowledgment of donations
  • Held two donation-accepted events (e.g., Tom Romano)
  • Wrote Funded Grant to local Community Foundation and similar, pending grant
  • Invited Community Foundation Board Member to visit HVWP office and events
  • Invited local newspaper to write a story about HVWP
  • Wrote press releases about SI and about Community Foundation funding

* In our letters to members of our community, we apprised them of HVWP programs and also requested their donations. While the sum of donations has been modest, the number of small donations from TCs and non-TCs reveals that our community values their connection to our network. We anticipate being able to show potential funders that “x number/percentage” of our community gives and that should serve as a proxy that we are a generous and thriving community and that their potential donation is one of many.

DMU Timestamp: November 30, 2017 18:21

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