The meeting shared experiences on campaigning for sponsor funding.
On the morning of the 26th of February, Ms. Dabney Schmitt, a volunteer and donor mobilization specialist for raising funds with over 15 years’ experience and co-founder of Lander Carter Schmitt Memorial Fund (operating since 2009, the fund provides financial support to projects in Vietnam to serve the needs of children with mobility or health disability in particular, as well as those in difficult circumstances) came to LIN for Community Development’s office. She shared an detailed session with over 25 participants from LIN’s NPO partners. The session was aimed at mobilizing personal sponsorship with the theme “identifying and contacting potential sponsors”.
Just recently, Ms. Dabney elaborated on the reason she and her husband founded Lander Carter Schmitt Memorial fund. The fund bears the name of two people, a young person who saw Vietnam as his second home, as well as got lost here. With fundraising experience from the aforementioned couple, they associated with an International Organization and established the Landen Center Schmitt Memorial Fund to support a school for disabled children in Đông Hà, Quảng Trị, Việt Nam.
With our experience, Ms. Dabney started with a fundraising plan; this is an important step that the Organizations need to grasp. “If there is a good fundraising plan with specific budget figures for years, then we will able to comprehend where, for what, and why our organizations are working for” said Ms Dabney. There are two ways to raise funds for Organizations: annual fundraising support for the survival of the Organization every year and raising funds for long-term operations. In the annual fundraising plan, the funds for long-term operations budget are usually planned annually, which are 3-5 years planned ahead. A specific example Ms. Dabney shared: “At Harvard University, they plan to raise up to 8 years to ensure their operations in a sustainable manner.”
In our presentation, Ms. Dabney shared her experience with every donation from benefactors and experience from the database of donors. This database can be started by employees, volunteers, friends… anyone can contribute money to the organization’s budget. The management and development of the database is usually planned and developed from at first, when organizations are interested in raising funds in this form, however, it does takes more time and effort.
After that, everything Ms. Dabney had shared revolved around the lessons of experience on how to raise funds. For example: identifying, searching for potential sponsors, evaluating, retaining them, how to convince them as well as media strategy, reporting and [transparency of the revenues spent on]… She shared a special chart online at www.giftrangecalculator.com, where all organizations can use to get a number of budget and donors they may need for an annual fundraising campaign.
At the end, the participants were divided into four groups to practice on how to inspire and arrange an appointment with potential donors; and how to plan and search for information of potential donors. With this exercise, the participants used the form guide for discussion access to potential sponsors.