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Non-Profit Fundraising Stories | Outrageous Fortune: Episode #1 Miracle Success

Non-Profit Fundraising Stories | Outrageous Fortune: Episode #1 Miracle Success

[intro music]>>GARY: You’re outrageous, Peter. [laughter]>>PETER: Thank you! [laughter] Welcome to
another edition of Outrageous Fortune. I’m Peter Heller and I’m here today with Gary
Friedman – whos already laughing. Good morning, Gary!>>GARY: Good morning.>>PETER: We’re here in Falls Church, Virginia,
and we’re actually working together with one of our clients. Gary, why don’t you
tell us about yourself?>>GARY: Well, I’ve been helping nonprofit
organizations all over the state of Maine for the last 25 years. My focus is helping
community-based organizations realize their goals and build on their strengths. I also
enjoy working with you Peter, in New York City and in the Washington DC area. We’ve
had the pleasure of working on the Reform Jewish congregations; this is the second one,
Temple Rodef Shalom, and it’s been really great doing their feasibility studies, getting
to know them and strategizing on a major campaign for them to expand their facilities.>>PETER: Gary actually gave me my first job
ever in fundraising at College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine, in the 1980s. So, it’s
kind of all your fault.>>GARY: I take great pride in having launched
any careers, but especially yours, Peter.>>PETER: Thank you! And you have an Outrageous
Fortune story for us, I believe.>>GARY: There’s one in particular that I
think is particularly outrageous.>>PETER: I want to hear all about it!>>GARY: I get all kinds of calls from small
community groups all over Maine and the one unifying theme is that they always need more
money – and sometimes they need a great deal of money.>>PETER: Unlike the rest of us [laughter].>>GARY: [laughter] About 15 years ago I got
a call from this small town in northern Maine. It’s a mill town that’s sort of waning
in its fortunes, but pulling itself back together. They’ve got a historic library, like many
towns in Maine, that’s very old and needed some work, but mostly an expansion. They called
me and said that they needed to raise several hundred thousand dollars and they weren’t
sure exactly how to go about doing this. But after talking with them, I said because they
had virtually no budget for fundraising I would come and give them a training. With
this group, I thought it would just be nice to give them a start. So I thought, okay,
I’ll go out there and see what I can do. I said I would do it for $100. I would drive
up to Guilford, which is about 45 minutes North of Bangor.>>PETER: You assessed that these are not the
people that can really afford my services, but let me see if I can help?>>GARY: Yes, basically. I got to this beautiful
old library, that’s kind of up on a rise, and I went in, and they had assembled their
board and other volunteers. It was quite a large group, I’d say there were about a
dozen people there. I knew enough about the project, I knew how much they needed to raise,
what their annual fundraising was, I’d gotten all the basic information. I had prepared
an outline with the step-by-step list of instructions on how to organize a community campaign and
how to raise the money that they need. And I delivered this interactive workshop that
took about an hour, and they asked a lot of questions. I was probably there for about
another hour in questions and answers; they had a lot of detailed questions asking how
do we do this, how do we do that, and they took copious notes. At the end of the night
they were very grateful for what I had done and they gave me a check for $100. And I drove
back home. And I didn’t really think much about them. I mean, every once in a while
I would wonder how they were doing but I have to admit I’ve got a lot of projects going
on and I didn’t give it much thought. About 18 months later I got a call from the library
director and she said I just want you to know that we did everything you said, we followed
all the instructions, and we just reached our goal.>>PETER: Oh my God!>>GARY: I have to say that’s one of the
most satisfying projects I’ve ever worked on. We give a lot of sage advice, and our
clients often pay us a lot more than $100, and they usually don’t do what we tell them
to do. So, here’s a group that took the manual and went with it.>>PETER: Does it make you wonder what’s
going on all the other times?>>GARY: That’s an outrageous fundraising
story!>>PETER: Yes, that is an outrageous fundraising
story! We’ve now come to the part of our interview where we’ve got a little activity.
Let’s show our audience [shows paper on screen]: This is the “Fun-raisers’ Credo”.
It’s a “Fundraisers’ Credo” but I’ve crossed out the “D”, so it’s a “fun-raisers’”…>>GARY: Yeah, that’s what we do! Fundraising
should be fun!>>PETER: Exactly! I’ve got my pen here and
this is a new document. I thought you and I could create article number one. What would
you like to put on there?>>GARY: Believe in yourself. Don’t take
anything too seriously.>>PETER: Okay, I like that.>>GARY: I mean, what’s the point if you’re
not having fun?>>PETER: Alright, that’s great. Any other
fundraiser/fun-raisers credos?>>GARY: The more friends the more fun you’re
going to have. Something like that. Fundraising is a team sport, basically.>>PETER: Okay, that’s a good one! Now we’re
getting there! Thank you, Gary. It’s great to talk with you. This is Peter Heller with
the Outrageous Fortune.>>For more information visit:

  • This video is a perfect example of how fun and rewarding, fundraising can be – more importantly, how fun and rewarding it is to work with Peter and his team!!! Always making an otherwise stressful process easy, manageable, and meaningful!

  • This is terrific! What a great project. Let's us know that we're not alone in the wilderness! Thank you!

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