The Hudson Valley Gateway Chamber's December 2021 Nonprofit Newsletter
The Nonprofit Committee brings you a newsletter once a month that focuses specifically on the issues confronting nonprofit organizations including an educational article and an article highlighting a Hudson Valley Gateway Chamber member nonprofit.
The Fund Development Plan in the New Normal

by Lucille Geraci Miranda, MPA

Since the onset of the pandemic, we learned how to pivot with purpose and transition through a learning curve to the virtual world. As we slowly return to a new normal, we also learned that the only constant is change.

Many nonprofits adapted to the change and fine-tuned their fundraising and development efforts. They understood that a strategic fundraising and development program would generate significant revenues, increase organizational visibility, and enhance broad-based community support. They adjusted to change.
With two years of living in an ever-changing world, we know we must have a plan. As we get ready for 2022, it’s the ideal time to review your 2021 program and strategically prepare your plan for the year ahead. It’s crucial that your plan consists of a mixture of strategies, such as special events, direct mail campaigns, foundation, corporate and government grants, major gifts and planned giving.
 
Your plan should also include ways to increase your organization’s visibility. Join a variety of community networks! This is how you begin to enhance broad-based community awareness and develop relationships and strategic alliances. Without long-term relationships with a range of people involved in your organization, you will never be able to achieve your goals.
 
Tell your story through whichever vehicle makes sense to your organization! Cultivate your community whether it’s through social media, public relations, newsletters, a note, or a phone call. Be sure you are consistent in your messaging what makes your organization unique? How are you responding to a great need? Tell anecdotal stories as a way to show the impact of what your nonprofit is doing!
 
Be sure that you have a process to identify and assess your donors over the last three to five years, especially those donors that made gifts through the pandemic. Who are they?
 
How are you touching your donors? How are you thanking them? How are you staying connected? How are you engaging them? This is part of determining your fundraising goals.
 
Structure and refine your data input program to easily identify donors, prospects, and gift recordings so you can set goals and consider how to attract, renew, and upgrade your donors.
 
Data mine and develop a prospect list starting with your Board. Ask your Board if they know of anyone else who may support your cause such as those in their personal network, their alma mater, family members or those in their respective professional organizations.
 
Do not forget about your volunteers and those who have attended your events. These individuals already know of your mission.
 
Remember, the cornerstone of fundraising and development is developing and building relationships. Together with your Board, get to know and cultivate your donors. Now you can create your plan for success, an integrated fund development plan that can raise significant funds and increase your organizations visibility – but only if approached in a planned, strategic manner.
 
Questions? E mail me at Lucille@gerandaprojects.com.
Geranda Projects is ready to offer its vast, integrated experience to help nonprofits create a strong foundation and inspire them to reach their greatest potential, straight from the heart of their mission.
 
Expert services include strategic planning, board development and enrichment, building organizational capacity, annual budget analysis and assessments, fund development planning, one-on-one coaching and educational workshops tailored to meet the organization’s needs. 
Lucille Geraci-Miranda, M.P.A. serves on the Board of the Hudson Valley Gateway Chamber Foundation, chairs the Chamber’s Nonprofit Committee and is President and Founder of Geranda Projects – Management Consulting for Nonprofits. Read more about her services at: www.gerandaprojects.com
To request an article about a
specific topic, please contact
Lucille Geraci-Miranda at lucille@gerandaprojects.com.
To request that your nonprofit be featured in this newsletter, please contact Lynn Amos at lynn@fynelyne.com.
Featured Organization: RideConnect of Westchester

by Lynn Amos
RideConnect, a program of Family Services of Westchester, is dedicated to finding the fastest and most cost-effective transportation options to meet the needs of older adults 60+ in Westchester and Southern Putnam Counties.
RideConnect was born in 2010 through a grant from the Department of Transportation, Westchester County Department of Senior Programs and Services and Family Services of Westchester. Karen Ganis was the Program Director and the sole employee. Eleven years later she is still the Program Director, overseeing a staff of eleven, and has grown the program from 993 rides / referrals in its first year, to 27,808 in 2020, serving thousands of clients each year and managing hundreds of volunteers.
RideConnect is a free ride and referral service that serves adults age 60+ who live in Westchester or Southern Putnam Counties and who are no longer driving. Although they are best known for our amazing volunteers who drive older adults to various appointments (including medical, shopping, entertainment and many others) at no cost to them, RideConnect’s call center staff has access to a robust database of other providers in the event that a volunteer is not available. Additionally, RideConnect offers a free weekly shopper bus to shopping hubs from communities throughout Westchester, as well as a designated “dialysis bus” to serve clients that are in need of this treatment multiple times a week.

Deb Casill, RideConnect’s Outreach Coordinator / Livable Communities Coordinator says, “Our biggest challenge is recruiting enough volunteers to offer rides to the increasing numbers of seniors who are requesting a ride, and to find ongoing funding sources to help us grow and sustain the program.”

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic older adults were encouraged to stay home and to particularly stay out of supermarkets. To help meet this need, RideConnect developed an ad hoc program affectionately called “Shop and Drop”. During its 18-month tenure the program provided almost 20,000 shops and food pantry deliveries, with an astounding 900 volunteers! Now that restrictions have lifted and RideConnect’s program is back to pre-pandemic driving, the Shop and Drop services were discontinued. The organization is working hard to connect their dedicated volunteers to clients who need/want to get out of the house to do their own errands etc.

RideConnect believes in the power of communication, and good project/process management. To that end, the staff meets daily to discuss issues/concerns and monitors their progress for continuous quality improvement. Their advice to other nonprofits: develop a good business plan, advocate, advocate, advocate and be passionate about what you do.

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters to what lies within us.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson

Lynn Amos is Principal of Fyne Lyne Ventures, a Westchester-based website and graphic design studio and Top of Mynd Cards, e-Cards to stay in touch with your donors and volunteers.
Photos from the Chamber Holiday After Hours
Follow the Chamber's Nonprofit Committee on Facebook:
The Chamber’s Nonprofit Committee provides meaningful opportunities for nonprofit staff, managers and board members to come together to collaborate, and embrace the importance of growth and sustainability. The Committee serves as a resource for ongoing professional development and as a forum for sharing best practices.

Committee Chairperson
Lucille Geraci-Miranda
Geranda Projects

Committee Members
Lynn Amos, Fyne Lyne Ventures
Ivy Fairchild, Landmark Consultants
Mary F. Foster, HVH2O and The Field Library
Chereese Jervis-Hill, Events To Remember
Tim Warn, Civic Member
Justin Wingenroth, The Dance Conservatory