Community Foundation Announces First Jumpstart Fundraising Cohort

Wabash Valley Community Foundation Announces Partnership with Network for Good to Offer First Jumpstart Fundraising Cohort

The Wabash Valley Community Foundation is pleased to announce a partnership with Network for Good to offer the Jumpstart Fundraising Program. This twelve-month program will provide select nonprofit organizations with specific tools and coaching to help take them to the next level of financial stability.

The Jumpstart Fundraising is a unique, investment-like program that enables grantees (who meet specific eligibility criteria) to increase their fundraising outcomes while decreasing costs by combining personal coaching, professional services, software and an evidence-based framework into an immersive, year-long program. Typically, after one year of committed fundraising while implementing skills learned in the Program, participants see an average increase of 34% more money, while building their organizational capacity.

“Transforming our nonprofits’ financial sustainability cannot be achieved in one year, nor through a single grant,” explained Kelli Miller, Program Director for the Wabash Valley Community Foundation. “To create the lasting impact our donors, boards and committees envision, we must ensure our local nonprofit organizations are financially-resilient, with the capacity to deliver services and sustain impact, year after year.”

As the Community Foundation’s Program Director since 1997, Miller is aware of the challenges nonprofit organizations face to align boards, funders, staff and volunteers to reach annual fundraising goals – especially with limited time and budgets.

“As grant makers, we hold the responsibility to understand the threats to the sustainability of our funded programs and then, based upon the feedback we receive from our grantees, to take measured action to address the needs discovered,” she said. “If we don’t, our nonprofit organizations only stand to grow more underdeveloped and will have to resort to our competitive grants process to help make up the shortfall in their budgets.”

The Community Foundation spent the past two years conducting research on how to best assist local organizations in capacity building and working toward greater financial stability. Earlier this year, the Community Foundation connected with Network for Good and was introduced to the company’s Jumpstart Fundraising Program to provide top-level skill building to a specific selection of Wabash Valley non-profit organizations.

After entering into a partnership with Network for Good, 20 nonprofit organizations were identified and invited to participate in a brief Needs Assessment. The nonprofits’ participation in the assessment helped the Community Foundation identify each organization’s most common challenges, core needs and opportunities for growth, and potentially qualified each organization to receive a grant from the Community Foundation to participate in the Jumpstart Fundraising Program.

Approximately 17 nonprofit organizations were deemed “program ready” based on their responses to the grantee readiness assessment, thereby making them eligible to participate in the Jumpstart Fundraising Program. These organizations were then invited to attend a special information session to learn how the program works and how to apply for a capacity building grant from the Community Foundation to participate free of cost.

After a competitive selection process, 12 organizations were chosen to participate:

  • Camp Navigate
  • Council on Domestic Abuse (CODA)
  • Happiness Bag
  • Mental Health America Vigo County
  • Next Step
  • REACH Services
  • Sheldon Swope Art Museum
  • Susie’s Place
  • Team of Mercy
  • Terre Haute Humane Society
  • Terre Haute Symphony Association
  • YMCA of the Wabash Valley

The program itself costs $10,400 per nonprofit organization. Through Network for Good, the Community Foundation was able to secure a $1-for-$1 matching grant to deliver the program to the selected nonprofits. This enabled the Community Foundation to inject nearly $125,000 worth of targeted, technical fundraising assistance to local grantees with an investment of $62,400 from its unrestricted endowment funds.

“A strong non-profit community is critical to the Community Foundation’s ability to steward its donors’ charitable funds to where they can have the most impact,” said Sally Zuel, Chair for the Wabash Valley Community Foundation’s Distribution Committee. “The funding for this program was reserved from unrestricted grant funding over these past two years while research took place to identify a meaningful, capacity-building program for which our grantees expressed both need and interest.”

Each time Network for Good co-funds a rollout of the Jumpstart Program, it is anticipated grantees will increase total revenue from individual donors, directly multiplying the impact of each dollar invested in the program expenses. Network for Good is accomplishing this goal by working with grantees through a series of monthly fundraising objectives called “milestones,” which are measured through each grantee’s use of fundraising software and guided by a Personal Fundraising Coach matched to work with the grantee based upon the unique needs expressed within their assessment. With the first cohort up and running, the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.

“Network for Good’s Jumpstart Program is a wonderful opportunity for non-profits in the Wabash Valley,” said cohort Anne Stamper of the Terre Haute Humane Society. “This Program will make such a difference for those [of us] lucky enough to be selected!”

“Jumpstart only works if you work it,” said Miller. “Our nonprofit organizations are diligently working on this Program not out of contractual obligation, but out of a commitment to their communities. We are thankful for these organizations for partnering with the Community Foundation in this journey to increase capacity and sustainability among our local nonprofits. As our nonprofits become stronger, more stable organizations, so too, do the communities in which they serve.”

The Wabash Valley Community Foundation is a tax-exempt public charity created by and for the people in the Wabash Valley. The Community Foundation enables people with philanthropic interests to easily and effectively support the organizations and issues they care about – immediately or through their estate plans. Donors may give to existing funds or establish a charitable fund at the Community Foundation by contributing a variety of assets.