Non-profits look to streamline fundraising efforts 

Need to avoid donor burnout, organizer says

Whistler non-profit groups are banding together to organize fundraising efforts in the Sea to Sky corridor.

"We’re trying to coordinate so we’re not tapping out all our local businesses," said Mei McCurdy, executive director of the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation. The foundation distributes $500,000 a year to more than 40 local groups with funds raised from two annual events and the sale of 50 Whistler-Blackcomb "founders" passes.

McCurdy will host a July 17 meeting of several non-profit groups such as the library, arts council, health care foundation and others, to discuss streamlining local fundraising efforts. Topics likely to be discussed include: whether to combine annual fundraising events, how to avoid back-to-back golf tournaments, and how to produce a local product that several groups could market.

"We’ll get down to the nuts and bolts and see what we can do to make sure we’re all on the same page," McCurdy said.

It’s a much-needed change in direction, said Alex Kleinman, president of Whistler Museum and Archives.

"We need to coordinate efforts so there aren’t two groups going after the same demographic at the same time," he said.

Kleinman pointed out that most fundraising takes place in the fall, one of the toughest financial times of the year for retailers. With ordering stock and hiring and training new staff facing repeated requests for donations exhausts donors.

"So timing and bunching up of all the groups hitting up the same people over and over again quickly turns those very generous donors off," Kleinman said. "They go ‘you guys were here last week or at least I think you were, someone was here last week.’"

Kleinman said one major event hosted by the arts and heritage sector could be one solution to avoiding donor burnout. "And developing a group product that would sell universally and involve the whole community, that’s a thought," he said.


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