Welcome back to our Spotlight series on fundraising for non-profit organizations! Our next featured organization is Community Resource Center (CRC): a nonprofit organization based in the Denver Metro area that helps nonprofits, both in Denver and rural areas, to develop successful strategies.
For 36 years, Community Resource Center has provided Colorado nonprofits with leadership development, education training, and resources. Every year, CRC puts on over 100 events, with the goal of helping both well-established and new nonprofit organizations with their business models. Three of the major events they host are a state-wide training program, a 9-month leadership program, and Rural Philanthropy Days.
The state-wide training program is education focused, where nonprofits can learn about board governance and strategic planning. At Rural Philanthropy Days, CRC pulls together local community members to design a professional three-day conference. This year, Rural Philanthropy Days took place in Montrose (San Juan Region) in June, and the second event is scheduled to take place in September in Craig, CO. On the last day of Rural Philanthropy Days, CRC brings out Front Range foundation staff, giving nonprofits the opportunity to meet with them, and make a pitch for funding. Meanwhile, the 9-month leadership development program is cohort based, and targets emerging leadership directors.
Similar to most nonprofits, CRC utilizes social media to build attendance at these events, alongside sending out monthly newsletters to those in the network. In rural areas, however, they try to tap into different types of media such as local newspapers, and partners in the area to market events. Another tool CRC uses is “Flow”, a calendar sharing platform through which they can create and share events with other organizations and individuals. To get board members engaged and excited about the events, they hold monthly and bimonthly meetings that include both staff and board members to discuss what the events do for the organization as a whole. Furthermore, the board has different subcommittees that create targeted tasks for efficient use of time.
While CRC helps other nonprofits, they are still a nonprofit themselves, and thus face some of the same challenges when putting on large events. At Rural Philanthropy Days, they usually have local groups helping, in which case the CRC team is more of a guiding hand. Meanwhile, at the C3 Forum, they find the best way to accomplish everything is to divvy up roles. Emily, the Development Program Coordinator at CRC, said, “we always have someone who has ownership of the event, but really it’s all-hands-on-deck”. For CRC, they love that their board members are often ready and willing to support and attend events, even in rural areas.
When putting on a fundraising event, some advice for other Development Program Coordinators is to realistically think about a budget. While it seems simple, it is important for nonprofits to make sure that they are not spending more money than they are bringing in at a fundraising event. Emily suggests thinking about how much money the event is likely to raise, and then working backwards from there on the details and extras that make an event special!
Community Resource Center will be bringing together the Colorado Nonprofit Association and the Colorado Association of Funders at their upcoming C3 Forum: a collaborative, one-day conference for nonprofits and funders. This year’s event will focus on “equity”, and what that means in the realm of nonprofits. The C3 Forum will take place on August 22nd at the University of Denver from 8:30am - 5:30pm.