Community Voices Heard
THE ORGANIZATION: Community Voices Heard (CVH) organizes low-income New Yorkers (predominantly women), many of whom have been on welfare, to build their political power and improve the lives of their families and communities.
CVH came to Cause Effective for help diversifying its fundraising base and increasing its support from individual donors. “We were starting to get frustrated with the fact that our programming was being dictated by external funding sources,” explains CVH director Sondra Youdelman. “We wanted to expand our individual donor pool to give our organization more autonomy.”
OUR WORK: Cause Effective worked closely with CVH’s staff and board members to develop a plan that involved everyone in fundraising. Staff began to reach out to their personal and professional networks, while board members grew more confident in making direct asks and took more responsibility for collecting membership dues from their peers. We also coached CVH to form a solidarity board to extend its fundraising reach.
The group tried out its new fundraising techniques in a successful drive to raise funds to enable community members to attend a key social action conference out of town. “We learned how to look differently at resource development” Sondra reflects, “not to just think about it as trying to get a check from someone but really trying to think about the network of people who could support us in so many different ways.”
THE RESULTS: As a result of help from Cause Effective in expanding CVH’s base of supporters, CVH raised over $110,000 from its 15th anniversary celebration from 225 individuals (more than 4 times its original $25,000 goal). According to Sondra, “We transformed the way that the staff, board and members see the potential of fundraising and relationship-building for the benefit of the organization. Our board has stepped up its asking, and we formed a solidarity board that is now asking for us. Cause Effective inspired people to realize the potential of what we can do together – and to keep fundraising on their radar screen.”
Cause Effective’s work enabled CVH to focus on what they do best; as Sondra notes, “By raising resources from – and with – the community we're fighting for, it frees us to fight the battles and win the causes most critical to low income families.”