Fundraising committee/2006/Welcome letter
Background on the committee
From mid 2004 to mid 2006 I was the foundation’s volunteer Chief Financial Officer. During that time, fundraising was primarily under my coordination; the Wikimedia community itself did most of the actual work. This was sufficient while I had the time to devote to CFO work but the job soon took more time then I had to give.
In mid 2006, primary responsibility for fundraising was transitioned to our interim Executive Director and my other finance responsibilities were transitioned to a paid bookkeeper and the treasurer of the board. The fundraising committee was formed to act in a support and advisory capacity to office staff. The committee helped plan and set-up the late 2006 fundraiser. We also helped answer donor emails and updated our merchandise shop. Here is a link to the basic run-down on how our fundraisers are run: http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Fundraising_committee/Fundraising_procedure
However, since then, our ED, grants coordinator (and committee member) and the chair of the committee have left (Hint: We need a new chair and another member :).
High level summary of fundraising process
Ideally, a proposed budget or at least a projection of expenses is presented to the board by the board treasurer. This gives us a basic idea of the amount we would like to raise.
The committee creates a drive letter (finalized and signed by the board chair) and the communications committee creates a press release roughly based on that letter. Translations are made by the translation committee.
A review of all fundraising pages is conducted and any updates/improvements are made and then translated. At the same time, office staff and board members are soliciting for potential donation matching partners.
The drive itself consists of a message on the top of each page in every wiki that has a progress thermometer and links to; the drive letter, the donation page, a daily progress report, and a live tracking system (complete with displayed donor comments).
The drive ends with a thank you message and link to our merchandise shop. The committee later submits a report and analysis to the board. A summary of that report is later approved by the board and then published.
How you can help
The above process has been refined to its current level for 2 and a half years and is already fairly efficient from a technical standpoint. In fact, each drive has brought in more money than all previous drives combined. However, the amount we generate is still less than many other charities and is a very small fraction of what I think we could generate (many NPR stations take in more money than we do even though their listenership is far, far less than our readership).
So, I would like to take this opportunity to review the current system to see if it can be improved. If you have any ideas on how to improve the current process, then please do so. I am especially interested in the possibility of using the advisory committee to help the board and office staff establish connections with potential donation matching partners. I would also like the foundation to start off-line fundraising (example: a VIP lunch with a silent auction). Any ideas or names of contacts along those lines will also be very beneficial.
Please also state if you would like to be added to the fundcom mailing list. List volume is normally light.
-- Daniel Mayer Secretary Pro Tempore Wikimedia Fundraising Committee