Taking Fried Cod Seriously

A Fundraiser’s Journey Kelly Updike for PCNRC

Kelly picMy first job out of college was working for a nonprofit that relied on countywide volunteer groups to raise funds and awareness about a chronic disease. As the only paid staffer for an 11-county region in the middle of Indiana – and my job was directly tied to fundraising goals, mind you – I quickly learned the importance of resources and time.

So, with chapters of passionate volunteers from Union City to West Lafayette, we tested every fundraiser, new and old, against these questions:

  • How much money did we raise with this event each of the last three to five years?
  • How much money did we spend to raise that money each year?
  • How many people participated in the event? How many were new each year?
  • How much money do we need to raise, with this event and in total, in the city/area?
  • How many volunteers do we have?
  • How many volunteers does it take to do this event?
  • How many hours of work were or will be spent, start to finish, to complete this fundraiser?

Answering these questions gave us data on trends, growth, goals, profit and loss, resources.

First thing we did: We stopped doing fish fries. As fundraisers. That last statement is important. For the amount of time and volunteers required to successfully sponsor a fish fry, the net profit – the amount of money raised minus costs – was not worthwhile. Frankly, it was not worth our time. As a fundraiser. For our organization. At that time.

As a community, mission-minded event, sure, yes, some chapters still did it. But we were very aware, as we planned a year of events, what role the fish fry played in our programming, fundraising and awareness efforts.

Please note that I am not personally a fish-fry hater, although I was often accused of being one during this turbulent time in my fundraising career.

Be careful, special events can drain your time, exhaust your volunteers and not bring in budgeted funds. Some events are friend-raisers; hey, that’s okay. But every event you do can’t be a friend-raiser. And your signature fundraiser better not really be a friend-raiser. You, your board and other core volunteer workers need to take a hard, cold look at the numbers. Give ‘em the fish eye.

The postings on this site are my own and do not necessarily reflect the view of the Embassy or the PCNRC.

Job Opportunity: Fort Wayne Dance Collective Development Officer

Fort Wayne Dance Collective has one available position.


1. Development Officer


Reporting to and in partnership with the Managing Director and Artistic Director, the Development Officer will
spearhead development efforts as the Fort Wayne Dance Collective continues to grow. The Development
Officer will maintain current donor and foundation relationships, while continuing to build all aspects of the
development function.

Duties and Responsibilities

• Develop and execute Fort Wayne Dance Collective’s annual fundraising plan
• Secure financial support from individuals, foundations and corporations
• Write grants and reports for all foundation and corporate fundraising
• Manage and maintain database of current and potential donors and oversee data entry and gift
• Develop and maintain ongoing relationships with major donors
• Create and execute strategy for a large sustained base of annual individual donors
• Plan and produce fundraising events including Signature Event, in collaboration with Artistic and
  Managing directors
• Apply for yearly intern from Arts United
• Publication of Quarterly Newsletter
• Assist Managing Director with Annual Report
• Serve on Fund Development and Special Events Committees
• Submit monthly reports to Managing Director
• Work concerts and special events in coordination with Managing and Artistic Directors on as-needed

Required Qualifications

• BA (required), MA (preferred)
• 5-plus years experience in development
• Demonstrated excellence in organizational, managerial, and communication skills

For more information, click here

Please submit your cover letter and resumé to Jarin Hart, Managing Director at jarin@fwdc.org. Applicant reviews will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. This is a full-time salaried position.


Part I of Thoughts On Millennial Volunteers: We Know We Can Change the World

Recruiting and keeping volunteers is difficult in its own right, but what happens when you throw those pesky millennials into the mix? Katrina Pieri for wordpress

You know, the tech-savvy, photo-obsessed teens and young adults who are often perceived as communicating solely through text, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and a host of other social media sites. How do you persuade one of these elusive millennials (who are prone to walking into things due to their refusal to look up from their phones, by the way) to volunteer their time and efforts for your organization’s cause? How do you convince them that they should actually contribute to society instead of just contributing to online communities?

Well, fear not, because I myself am a millennial, and today I’m here to share Part I of how your nonprofit organization can attract millennials. In Part II I will share some general practical tips on recruiting millennial volunteers, but first we have to cover the basics.

A Lesson on Millennials:

We Do, In Fact, Think Know That We Can Change The World

Many accusations have been thrown at millennials: we’re narcissistic, we all think we’re exceedingly special, we don’t have proper communication skills because we text so much, we’re losing basic skills because we turn to technology to solve all of our problems (hello, spell check, nice to see you again), etc. Now, I call these accusations, but let’s be real, some of them hint at broad trends that do apply to many millennials. I would like to argue, however, that there’s a more important trend that should be emphasized: individuality. As a millennial, the most inspiring trend that I’ve noticed among my peers is a desire to express individuality. For a host of reasons, many millennials have been empowered to believe that they can be anything, wear anything, eat anything, and do anything they want in life. Does this sometimes lead to problems? Well, yes. Some millennials aren’t particularly fond of certain traditional business practices, for example. I just graduated from college in May, and let me tell you, during my college career I encountered many millennials who loathed the concept of the typical 9-5 job experience, believing it would stifle their creativity and ultimately burn their soul to ash. Continue reading

23rd@4 Goals and Objectives

gandoWhen: Friday October 23, 2015 @ 4 pm

What: Goals and Objectives

Goals and objectives are often confused with each other because by some definitions they mean the same thing. For the nonprofit world, especially grant writing they do have differences so, in this 23 @4 you’ll learn to identify which is which. Attendees will leave with tools to make the task of setting these strategic components easier next time around.

Presenter: Marilynn Fauth, GPC

Where: Meeting Room B – Main Library

How: Seating is limited for this informational session.  Reserve your seat today!

23 @ 4 Programs are resource presentations packed into one hour. These are not intended to be workshops or classes, they are intended to provide attendees with an overview of the topic with reviews of as many resources and materials possible within 60 minutes.

All About Volunteers – New Guest Blogger

jeanJean Joley, Executive Director at the Volunteer Center, is the PCNRC’s newest guest blogger! To introduce Jean to you, here is a little bit about her. Look for her posts typically on the 4th Friday of every month.


Elise: What nonprofit do you serve in our community and what do yo do?

Jean: I am the Executive Director at the Volunteer Center. In a small agency the Executive Director will write grants, supervise staff, report to the board, answer the phone (at times) and do dishes (sometimes).volunteer center

Elise: What is your favorite part of nonprofit work?

Jean: Favorite part of my work- I love to see the positive changes that happen in the community because of volunteer support. Our agency volunteers serve in many roles. Some love to do Festivals, Concerts and work as docents in local museums and agencies. Some prefer to work on projects that tug at their heart-strings. They will work in the Coats for Kids Campaign to make sure that all children have warm winter coats in this cold Indiana winter. Others are dedicated to providing free income tax preparation to low and moderate income families. Indiana Navigator volunteers assist families to receive healthcare through HIP 2.0 or enrolling in the Health Marketplace. The Second Chance Expungement Initiative allows trained volunteers to work with Criminal Justice Attorneys in assisting clients gain expungements of criminal records. All these activities have the common connection of helping their low-to-moderate income neighbors gain access to supportive services.

Elise: How did you come by this work?

Jean: How did I come by this work? I was a Director at St. Joseph Hospital and wanted more time to spend with my family (6 children) so I applied for the Director position on a trial basis. I’ve stayed for almost 30 years and went back to nursing on a part-time basis.

Elise: What one word would your friends use to describe you?

Jean: My friends would describe me as always thinking ahead. I’ve always got a “Plan B” in the works. They would say that I truly love my family. I’m a lucky person!

Elise: Do you have any pets?

Jean: No pets- just “ grand-puppies” to go along with my 20 grandchildren (17 years and under- lots of twin boys).

Elise: What would I find in your refrigerator right now?

Jean: My refrigerator-forget it. But my cookie jar always has freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. My family will tell me when it is nearly empty!

Knight Cities Challenge

kccThe Knight Cities Challenge is now accepting applications that address the question: What’s your best idea to make cities more successful? From a pool of $5 million, we’re looking to award funding at the city, neighborhood and block level, and all sizes in between.

Knight Foundation is hoping to attract a wide variety of applications from: activists, architects, artists, block captains, city officials, designers, educators, entrepreneurs, hackers, institutions, nonprofits, organizations, planning professionals, restaurant owners, social workers—everyone is welcome.

The challenge has just two rules:

  1. A submission may come from anywhere, but the project must take place or benefit one or more of the 26 communities where Knight invests
  2. The idea should address one or more of three drivers of city success:
  • Talent: Does your idea help cities attract and retain talented people?
  • Opportunity: Does your idea help improve economic prospects and break down divides between people of different incomes and between workers and today’s economy?
  • Engagement: Does your idea encourage people to connect with their community and inspire them to become more involved in shaping its future?

Applying to the challenge is simple. The initial application asks just three primary questions about your project that should be answered in 100 words or less. If you would like to learn more about the Knight Cities Challenge, please attend an in-person community event in Fort Wayne. It will be held on Wednesday, October 7th at 3 pm at the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne (555 E. Wayne Street); RSVP here RSVP@cfgfw.org .

To enter the challenge or for more information, go to knightcities.org and answer a few questions between October 1st through October 27th. For more information, follow @knightfdn and #knightcities on Twitter for updates and please help us spread the word.

The Knight Foundation wants to hear from you. Carol Coletta Vice President for Community and National Initiatives, will be on reddit’s Ask Me Anything on Oct. 2, answering your questions about city innovation, the Knight Cities Challenge and Knight Foundation — so come by and ask.  To join, go to https://www.reddit.com/r/iama on Friday Oct. 2 at 7 p.m. ET and click on the thread titled “I’m Carol Coletta, VP for Community and National Initiatives at Knight Foundation. AMA about how to make cities more successful, the Knight Cities Challenge, the Foundation and everything else.”

Community Radio Hitting the Air Waves Soon

Erik Möllberg, Assistant Manager of Access Fort Wayne, was our guest speaker for the 23@4 program on September 23, 2015. He spoke about the upcoming non-commercial, listener-sponsored, member-controlled community radio station and even gave a tour of the studio!


WELT 95.7 FM is licensed by the FFC to broadcast in Allen County. The station will have a 7-8 mile reach. Much of the production will come from the studio at the Main branch of the Allen County Public Library. About 18 hours of programming will be through IPFW. The physical radio tower will be at IPFW. Recording will be done at the library, audio files will be sent to IPFW, and then IPFW will transmit.

Nuts and Bolts

The station is currently not on air. Erik anticipates that the station will be on air as early as mid October and as late as April 2016. The station will also be streaming live and have downloadable podcasts for the informational programming.

The Station

The broadcasts will be commercial-free and produced by individuals in our community. Programming for the station will be very diverse and reflect the Allen County community. WELT-LP’s mission in part is to “[provide] a forum for both the discussion of public issues and the expansion of musical and cultural experiences…” As Erik said, “It will be very niche based.”

Programming will range from talk to music. Talk topics cover many areas such as health, cooking, Veterans, legal women issues, archaeology, and the LGBT community. Music will be played from around the world. The radio programming will be presented with a local human perspective with respect for all people and cultures. It will address concerns and interests by those who are under-represented by other media. Erik mentioned, “It is getting those who don’t have a voice out there.”

In addition, the radio will be in English, Burmese, Spanish, and Arabic. There will also be opportunities to call in live for the talk shows or for other programs with the DJs.

Your role

As part of the station, non profits will have an opportunity to have a PSA played. Non profit PSAs will be stored in a database and rotated by the DJs. PSAs can be 30 or 60 second segments. Non profits can record more than one PSA, for example a general one and another one for a specific focus. PSAs cannot include a call to action or no pricing for events. Non profits can mention in their PSAs free events open to the public.

How you can be involved

Step 1 – make an appointment with Erik to record your PSA!

Erik’s contact information: emollberg@acpl.info or 260-421-1248

Other steps – volunteer or send ideas for programs to Erik.