Thanks to grant funding from the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, Causewave was able to offer capacity building grants to nonprofits in Monroe, Genesee and Orleans counties over the past two years to help offset the cost of services and support nonprofits in those regions.
In Genesee and Orleans counties we have partnered with a range of organizations including GO ART!, the Byron Bergon Community Center, the YWCA of Genesee County, the Genesee County Office of the Aging, Hospice of Orleans, and the Genesee Orleans Ministry of Concern.
One of these nonprofits — the Ministry of Concern — is an organization that began in the 1950’s to support the many migrant workers who resettled in Genesee and Orleans counties, facing job and housing discrimination and economic hardship.
The Ministry of Concern’s mission is to help families living in poverty (primarily the working poor) avoid crisis and overcome difficult circumstances. This is done through three main programs – supportive services to help with a financial gap or emergency; a furniture program; and a team-building, youth development model involving volunteers and parents.
The Ministry’s ultimate goal is to reduce community members’ dependency on public welfare and short-term emergency services. With a limited number of staff and board resources, this small but mighty organization was looking for support to raise the profile of the organization with donors and reconnect with historical donors across Western NY.
Before launching a fundraising communications plan, we spent time learning about the challenges and community resources in Orleans County. In partnership with the Executive Director, Causewave developed short- and long-term goals to: develop a fundraising plan to raise private funds, develop institutional capacity among board and staff to successfully implement fundraising activities, and answer the question: what is the Ministry of Concern uniquely qualified to do?
As part of the plan, we prioritized the target audiences for this effort (current donors, prospect donors who have a connection to the cause, and local foundations) and came up with three key messages to leverage the Ministry of Concern’s story of resiliency and determination, endurance, and evolution.
Today, the Ministry of Concern is moving forward with fundraising strategies and tactics that help tell their story to new and current donors. Last year they hosted a 50th anniversary celebration – a successful event which raised awareness in the community about the legacy of their founders and the work that continues today. This spring, they planned their first-ever gala, “Legends and Laughter,” which included live entertainment, dinner, an auction, door prizes and raffle— plus 220 people in attendance!
By learning from and working alongside rural county organizations like the Ministry of Concern, Causewave has seen firsthand the critical nature of collaboration and partnership. We look forward to continuing our community coalition and capacity-building work in this region in order to help meet organizational needs, ultimately have a greater impact in the communities we live and work in.