The Fund Raising School loves working with partners across the country and around the world. The school can design custom programs, online or in-person, for organizations big and small. One such collaboration took place right in The Fund Raising School’s backyard in Indianapolis.
The Central Indiana Community Foundation (CICF) and its two affiliates, the Indianapolis Foundation and the Hamilton County Community Foundation (HCCF), believe in investing in their organizations and communities. So, CICF found the opportunity to work with The Fund Raising School to deliver Certificate in Fund Raising Management (CFRM) training to 30 individuals and the organizations they represent.
We sat down with Robin Elmerick, director of effective philanthropy at CICF, and Brittany Rayburn, director of development at HCCF, to learn more the partnership and how they hope it benefits Marion County and Hamilton County nonprofits.
What was the impetus behind this partnership with The Fund Raising School?
(RE): We believe strongly that we need to invest in the organizations that we serve. We also know firsthand the crucial need for fundraising when it comes to nonprofits’ abilities to thrive and be sustainable, and we know that diversification of funding is critical.
We also recognize that it can be difficult for small and medium-sized nonprofit organizations to find both the time and resources to invest back in themselves. They’re often pouring everything they have into the community, and it can be difficult to find the resources to engage in professional development opportunities. So, we wanted to help shoulder that cost to give them this opportunity.
We want these organizations to be as sustainable and successful as possible, and we believe that a partnership with The Fund Raising School will give them rich knowledge and skills to help strengthen their organizations.
Brittany Rayburn (BR): When we look at the nonprofit landscape, we realize that support doesn’t always have to be in the form of a grant to an organization. Instead, we’re able to provide some funding assistance and find a way for these individuals to have an awesome professional development experience.
We also really loved that it allows for a natural cohort of participants to go through the training together. It’s a natural environment for organizations to meet, learn from one another, and collaborate in the future.
What is the critical need for fundraising and trained fundraisers in Marion and Hamilton counties? What challenges do they face?
BR: As we’ve mentioned, the funding landscape is constantly changing. Helping organizations across both counties realize and work on implementing different mechanisms for fundraising is so important.
As we’re working with these organizations, we’re looking into how we can branch out, be more creative, and be on the cutting edge of different fundraising techniques.
RE: The participants chosen cover a broad range of niches and focus areas, which we wanted to include.
The experience levels in the room also ranged from brand new to fairly experienced individuals. We did that purposely. No matter where you’re at in your fundraising process, you can always sharpen your skillset and learn more. You can learn from each other’s real world experiences of fundraising in Central Indiana.
So far, we’ve also seen that even though organizations are unique, many of them face the same or similar challenges. It’s nice for them to see that they’re not alone. They’re able to experience it and figure it out together.
How is the program set up?
RE: It’s spread out over the course of a year. We wanted to be respectful of the individuals and their time. We chose Principles and Techniques of Fundraising, Developing Major Gifts, Developing Annual Sustainability, and Managing the Capital Campaign.
What can The Fund Raising School learn from professionals working in the field?
BR: This is a great opportunity to continue to plug into some of the needs of local organizations who are doing the “boots on the ground” work, and learn about the challenges they face.
It contributes to a spirit of learning overall from one another.
What are your end goals?
RE: We know that the knowledge gained will enhance the nonprofit organizations represented in the room. Not only will the participants themselves learn, but they’ll also share those experiences with others in their organization. Thus, more people will benefit from the experience.
Long-term, we want to empower and add strength and capacity to these organizations to better serve the people that they’re working with and the communities that they’re a part of.
BR: We hope that these individuals give back to their organizations and continue to invest in the philanthropic landscape in both Marion and Hamilton counties. If we continue to train philanthropic professionals, we hope that the fruits of that training will continue to produce.