Building a Support Community for Your Nonprofit

by Daniel L. Smith, Director of Development
Josiah White’s Quakerdale Foundation

Since our birth in 2018, Josiah White’s Quakerdale Foundation has had the privilege of working with two nonprofits headquartered in the greater Des Moines area. Both of these ministries are working with youth and families in Africa. What they have in common with us is that we all have the need to fundraise without increasing our paid staff.  

But How?

As we looked at our existing structure we noticed three important things: 1) Relationships revolved around accomplishing tasks, 2) Our tasks were centered around, “Here’s what we need from you.”, and finally 3) Responsibilities for fulfilling these tasks were assigned to hired staff with the appropriate skill sets. It became very apparent that if we were to maintain (What was once accomplished by four full-time employees of Quakerdale is now being done by one and three-quarters at The Foundation.) and grow our ministry we would need to hire more staff. 

Hiring more staff, however, was not an option! That reality forced us to look for another way of doing things. We posed these three questions about our current structure:

  • Instead of having relationships revolve around tasks, what if they were affirmed and grown through a shared journey?
  • Instead of tasks being centered around what we need, what if we first asked “What can I do for you?”
  • Instead of responsibilities for fulfilling tasks being assigned to staff with the appropriate skill sets, what if they were seen as an opportunity for service and were accomplished collaboratively with volunteers.

In January of this year we launched “Building Your Tribe.” It addresses all three of these questions. It is the new structure that reinforces the timeless mission of Josiah White’s Quakerdale Foundation. Building Your Tribe is investing in a network of relationships of like-minded people who are passionate about who we are, what we do, and want to join us in making a difference in the lives of youth and families by Serving as Christ Serves!

In short, the Building Your Tribe fundraising strategy is designed to create a support community that provides us with the emotional, spiritual, and financial support that will sustain us as we maintain and grow our ministry. It can do the same for you.

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