Since 1992, Community Health Free Clinic (CHFC) has served uninsured or underinsured working people of east central Iowa with medical services, dental care and medications. Growth in patient numbers has put a strain on the $1 million operating budget. CHFC, to meet service demands, sought a development plan and structure to grow annual contributions to $1.5 million.
CHFC hired Amperage Fundraising Advisers to conduct an audit of its development and communication practices. The audit, or “toolbox assessment,” consisted of four main objectives:
- With an additional $500,000, what gift levels should it target and what is an appropriate mix of types of gifts?
- How large is the current donor base and how are donor information and records tracked? Are resources adequately allocated so goals and objectives can be achieved?
- How effective are current development and public relations programs? Who are the audiences and what are the best messages and tools to reach them?
- What should development office staffing look like for an organization this size and what skills are important to maximize fundraising efforts?
Amperage compared national averages for resource allocation with CHFC’s revenues over recent years, recommending efforts be readjusted to maximize opportunities. To supplement the part-time development efforts of both the CEO and community relations person, Amperage recommended hiring a development officer and setting clearly defined fundraising goals. These included guidance on harnessing the strengths of board members and volunteers to benefit fundraising for the clinic. Amperage suggested new ways to appeal to donors to provide help filling the $500,000 funding gap.
Consultants, designers and copywriters from Amperage reviewed materials and media used for donor cultivation, recognition and stewardship and recommended ways to maximize return on investments. Further, Amperage advised boosting CHFC’s minimal presence in social media, even prompting the clinic to promote a new Cash Mob event to drive awareness and donations.
As competition for charitable dollars increases, organizations cannot afford for development duties to slip in effectiveness or efficiency. Amperage’s audit gave CHFC insights and tools for future success. Results have already surfaced, including a $25,000 gift from a new major donor.
“ Amperage approached our needs from a strategic standpoint, looking at the big picture and setting goals. We developed a great relationship with them that made the process smooth and enjoyable. They made realistic recommendations on how to achieve the goals after a thorough analysis of our development programs and materials. With a full-service team, they have the knowledge and background to help development and marketing efforts of all sizes. At the clinic, we’ve seen results from the audit and look forward to seeing more.”
— Darlene Schmidt, CEO,
Community Health Free Clinic