Fundraising

Fundraising started slowly, with a single $50,000 donation from an individual donor that went directly to Bridge Park and was transferred to Bread for the City in June. Several large commitments arrived in May, pushing the total funds raised over the $400,000 threshold that the CBOs had set for launching a first phase of the program for up to 100 households, or 25 households per CBO.

As of late October 2020, the partners had raised slightly more than $3.5 million, anchored by several large gifts from corporate, family, and private foundations and contributions from more than 500 individual donors. The partners continued to receive money through year-end holiday giving and early 2021. As of March 2021, the CBO leaders assessed that they had met their fundraising goal and authorized enrollment in the program of up to 500 households (125 per CBO).

TIP: Set a “go” amount, the point at which you have enough funds to implement a pilot.

Foster Trust by Sharing Leads

THRIVE’s fundraising was successful because all four CBOs came together and shared leads. The CBOs highlighted that fundraising was not a zero-sum game. Many donors gave to THRIVE and individual CBOs. Approaching fundraising as a shared goal helped all parties. However, this approach was complex and required regular communication, clear roles, and careful tracking.

Coordinate Donor Outreach Strategy

Tracking contacts with potential funders was vital because it ensured that the most appropriate people were reaching out to them and that all partners knew whom had been contacted. Bridge Park staff set up an online spreadsheet to handle donor identification and contact management.

Engage Funders of All Sizes through Media and Other Outreach

A significant number of donations came through the online Bridge Park portal. Although there was no mechanism for tracking how individual donors found the fundraising page, influxes of online funds appeared to align with the publishing of local media reports on THRIVE.

THRIVE leaders say the philanthropic response to the project, especially from local funders and individual donors, was unprecedented.

TIP: Remember that fundraising is not a zero-sum game. Sharing leads takes trust.

TOOL: THRIVE’s online fundraising portal

TOOL: Funding Direct Cash Initiatives—this Urban brief explores the following questions: What motivated funders to give to THRIVE? How did THRIVE organize its fundraising?