Fund & Friend Raising
We’re here to help with your nonprofit fundraising solutions.
There are many kinds of fundraising: for organizational sustainability, for events, for projects, for programs, for bricks & mortar, for disaster relief and more. All involve “friend-raising” and community building too.
We suggest starting with some market research: learn from best practices, from new trends or market data. Then lets build a plan and assemble a FlexTeam to craft your unique solution from a growing variety of options.
Tap our experience in fundraising, promotion & audience building
Our FlexTeams have expertise with a variety of nonprofit support: from recruiting sponsors to growing memberships… from grant writing to events… from social media & websites to videos… from direct mail & print collateral to media relations. See a list of our nonprofit and government clients.
18 nonprofit fundraising & marketing mini-case studies
Including: ITALIAN FESTIVAL | Main Streets funding | HAITIAN HOSPITAL | Family Business Awards | FAITH FOUNDATION | Entrepreneurial Fellows Center | PUBLIC PARK | childrens theater | CITY-WIDE ‘Buy Local’ CAMPAIGN | small business technology | PUBLIC MARKET | neighborhoods | DOCUMENTARIES | membership | URBAN GREENING | counseling services
a new botanic garden for the Pittsburgh region
Developed a dynamic fundraising and PR video for Pittsburgh Botanic Garden, the region’s first comprehensive outdoor botanic garden. Goal: $12 million for Phase 1 of this 452 acre project in Settlers Cabin Park. Development partners include Allegheny County, The Fred Rogers Company and local universities. .
2. Enhance 3-day community festival
The 5th annual, 3-day Little Italy Days festival expanded its outreach and promotion efforts with Randy serving as Main Streets manager. Results: new cultural partners, 10,000+ attendance, and two new major sponsors. Sponsorships and earned income exceeded previous years and the festival made it’s first ever profit. Many businesses had their best sales of the year.
3. Produce successful Main Street funding proposals
In Squirrel Hill and Bloomfield
Randy wrote several successful proposals for two Mainstreets Pittsburgh communities: Squirrel Hill and Bloomfield. Total grant fund raising for these two communities amounted to more than $200,000, including from the Pittsburgh Urban Redevelopment Authority, City Council and the PA Department of Community and Economic Development.
Hospital Albert Schweitzer in Haiti
Randy produced and wrote two videos for this hospital founded in 1954 by Pittsburghers Larry and Gwen Mellon. These videos helped to tell their compelling story in the US and Europe to win friends and donors. For a decade they helped to grow the number of donors and medical volunteers from around the world. The average size of donations also increased dramatically.
a university graduate business school
Produced a campaign to increase attendance at this annual fund raising event for the Katz School of Business. Included: marketing plan, press releases, on-site media relations, ads, flyers and future options for the event. Results: attendance increased by 60% to full capacity and the event got regional media coverage.
6. Launch $20 million fundraising campaign
Produced a fund raising strategy and materials for this faith-based nonprofit—the Pittsburgh Leadership Foundation.
The strategy included: a focus group process, 30-page presentation book, a leave behind piece and a CD-ROM presentation.
7. Launch nonprofit center for entrepreneurs
a university Small Business Development Center
Produced a marketing campaign to launch a new “profit” center and to attract the first class of the Entrepreneurial Fellows Center at Pitt’s Katz School of Business. Included: print ads, invitations, brochure and media relations. Results: media coverage, attracted 25 entrepreneurs into the first class, and gave Katz a more updated look.
for revitalization of Pittsburgh’s oldest park
A local foundation challenged the Allegheny Commons Initiative (ACI) to raise significant funds from within the Northside community by May 31, 2011. The Colcom Foundation had promised to match 1:1 every dollar raised by ACI… and the organization met the $100,000 goal!
Produced a fund raising mailing that included letterhead, envelopes, cover letter, pledge card and a Highlights/News update. Total Phase 2 project goal: $2.3 million.
9. Grow audience for childrens theater
a nonprofit arts organization
Improved design and marketing strategies for Prime Stage Theatre, a childrens theater company. Included: posters, mailers, flyers, contest, media relations, corporate ticket sales and sponsorships, community relations and strategic planning. Results: increased attendance and ticket sales by 60%, built new partnerships and improved design elements.
10. Develop 1st “buy local” campaign for Pittsburgh Main Streets program
A City-wide campaign
The first of two city-wide Urban Redevelopment Authority campaigns, it partnered 15 city neighborhoods and 187 businesses in a cooperative “buy local” effort. The RS&A team produced: national “best practices” research; sponsor support (Duquesne Light); a website [PDF]; press releases; transit billboards; enter-to-win contest; flyers with discount cards; in-store and window posters; “Buy Local” education pieces.
Results: on a small budget, ad and media coverage produced 11,000,000 impressions; 5,000 people entered a contest, which produced rich data about consumers; expanded the original budget 60% through sponsorships and fees.
11. Develop 2nd “buy local” campaign for Pittsburgh Main Streets
A City-wide campaign
This second “buy local” campaign was a sequel to the above for Mainstreets Pittsburgh. More advertising-focused, “Discover Pittsburgh Neighborhoods” partnered 10 communities in a revamped co-op effort. The RS&A team produced:
- New “Discover” website [PDF]
- Co-op ad templates [PDF]
- Discount co-op ad rates
- Radio, paper & billboard partners
- neighborhood-customized “Shop” logos [PDF]
- User-friendly district manual & CD [PDF]
Results: again on a small budget, the ad and PR campaign produced >15,000,000 impressions and leveraged 3x the grant money from local districts for advertising. [Other samples PDF]
12. Develop “Technology Seeding Project” for small businesses
In Bloomfield and the Strip District
This innovative, yet simple project enhanced 18 businesses in two Pittsburgh nieghorhoods by growing their use of technology to improve their efficiency and bottom line. It included:
- Concept development
- Project management
- Sponsorship development
- Technology planning and support for businesses
- 1:1 reimbursement grants for tech purchases
- Group technology workshops for businesses
Results: While funded with grants from the McCune Foundation, PNC Bank and PA DCED/Technology Zone, those funds stimulated investment by businesses 60% greater than the grants. This pilot project project was adopted and scaled larger by the URA and the Northside Community Development Fund. [Project description and report PDF]
Thank you for your very interesting and informative grant report on Phase 1 of the Technology Seeding Project. It provided detailed information on each engagement and good assessments of positive and less positive outcomes, and reasons for each. Thank you for taking the time and putting in the effort for the project.— Hank Beukema, ED, McCune Foundation. Raise funds and friends for hospital
13. Conduct market feasibility & market study
In the Strip District
Randy worked with Neighbors in the Strip (NITS) on several projects over nearly a decade, including promotion and fund raising plans. He also performed two market analyses. The first was a feasibility study for a proposed public market hall which has since been funded and opened in 2010. Another consolidated diverse market research for the NITS business plan. Randy also served as the official annual evaluator on the development of the market for a large 5-year grant from the US Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS).
>>> More detail on both studies in Basic Market Research here.
14. Launch community branding efforts
On the Northside
A resident and business owner in Deutschtown, Randy collaborated with other volunteers to stage and promote neigbhorhood house tours and enhance branding. These tours were staged primarily as a promotion of the neighborhood to encourage continued revitalization.
Result: enhanced brand and a $10,000+ “profit” going to the work of the community development corporation (CDC) for ongoing preservation and redevelopment work.
See also our marketing blog for a community fund raising effort for victims of an apartment fire in the neighborhood—with 500% more raised than expected!
15. Fundraising for documentary films
For nearly 15 years Randy produced documentaries, first through the University of Pittsburgh. Each of these productions required extensive grant writing and fund raising efforts, including to Pittsburgh foundations, the National Endowment for the Arts and the PA Humanities Council. “On the Cowboy Trail” was filmed in Montana and won several national awards. Another award winner—”Working River”—was produced for the American Waterways Association.
Randy, as Main Streets manager, and a bank manager-board member developed a “more business like” strategy to recruit membership for the Bloomfield Business Association (BBA). This included: new print collateral [PDF draft], a recruitment team strategy and a system for tracking progress.
17. Green urban communities
Randy has led the charge and fund-raised to plant street trees in 3 urban neighborhoods. In addition, two communities now proudly display colorful district identity banners. Result: more than 100 trees and 30 street banners in these communities.
18. Promote & fund raise for human services
a counseling services nonprofit
Produced numerous written and video promotional and fund raising materials for the nonprofit Persad Center. Included: 4 annual campaign mail packages, 3 campaign videos, 2 annual reports, 1 brochure series and newsletter improvements. Results: campaign goals reached or exceeded, a newer professional look and improved outreach.
We got a tremendous amount of positive feedback on the video! It continues to be the single best and strongest way that we motivate volunteers to work and donors to contribute!… You are a real professional— very creative and easy to work with.—Mark F., Director of Development, Persad Center