RAISING funds for nonprofit programs has grown increasingly complex in a community that is blessed with a large number of generous individuals and organizations.
Part of the complexity stems from a lengthening list of causes or entities that depend on donations.
The situation has also been affected by the recent economic downturn, which in most cases would have reduced donations while at the same time increasing needs.
Fortunately, Bartholomew County has been an exception to those factors. That was most clearly demonstrated by the record-shattering fund drive of $3.75 million by the local United Way chapter.
But while local donors have continued to open their pockets, many have pressed not-for-profit groups to become more creative in their fundraising and develop programs that demonstrate the specific needs of the institutions and how any donations might be used to meet those needs.
One of the most effective responses to that approach — the Make A Wish program launched by the Heritage Fund: the Community Foundation of Bartholomew County — posted results from its second annual campaign recently. The results were astounding, even to the program’s most ardent supporters.
The Make A Wish concept was based on perceptions that donors wanted to know how their gifts might be used.
Heritage Fund officials contacted area agencies asking that they prepare specific wish lists, enumerating items or services that the agency makes available to its clients and the approximate cost.
The items ranged from additional reading material for the Book Buddies program or free lunches for Hope preschool students. The list was then published in The Republic and online.
This is the second year for the Make A Wish program. In 2010, it generated $5,400 in donations.
This year — with more preparation, greater participation from area agencies and expanded wish lists — the program received $33,000 in gifts.
The amount received included $5,000 in a matching gift from Elwood Staffing and another $6,000 match from the Heritage Fund, but even taking those generous donations out, the agencies received more than $22,000 from 62 donors.
That’s a number that the donors, the agencies and the Heritage Fund can point to with pride.
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