Directors take lead in fundraising effort


By Karen T. Braeckle
HSPA Foundation

Perhaps his mild manner persuaded them. Or maybe his years in the pulpit made him a natural.

Whatever the reason, we recently learned one man’s suggestion can make a huge impact on donations – particularly when action follows words.

And so it went when Pat Lanman, general manager of Vevay Newspapers, challenged the HSPA and HSPA Foundation board members to donate to what he called the Directors Fund at the Joint Board Retreat this fall in Brown County.

Then he made the first pledge.

At time of publication, this newly created reserve totaled more than $3,301 – from current and a few past board members’ personal checkbooks.

Now the Foundation can access funds for special projects that come up after approval of our limited annual budget. We receive requests every year – both large and small – from outside groups.

Once we enabled a collegiate SPJ chapter to hold a workshop for inner city students trying to keep their high school newspaper afloat. They just needed funds to purchase lunch.

Often the ask covers statewide events.

For several years the Foundation Board talked about building what nonprofit managers call an individual donor base.

The fundraising concept simply says an organization needs a large number of small donors who get to know and support it. As interest in the mission grows, so do donations.

Colleges and universities set the benchmark in this type fundraising as do certain community groups.

Look around Indiana’s highways.

Each university license plate represents a small donation to a particular school.

That list in hand, students or fundraisers call to thank donors for their support and ask them to repeat the gift the following year.

Before they realize it, alums or friends of the school find themselves giving at a specifically named level with a membership card to boot. Painless transition.

I just returned from a noontime fundraiser for the Boy Scouts’ Crossroads of America Council that represents central Indiana. Some 2,200 men and women witnessed Gov. Mitch Daniels present special awards to a few outstanding scouts.

After an impressive program, table sponsors distributed personalized pledge cards with suggested donations (reminding us all of the myth of the free lunch).

Most of us cannot donate as Dean White did. At least I cannot give 2,200 lunches at the J.W. Marriott so every cent goes to the council for programming – including those for underserved and at-risk youth in our inner city.

But my little bit combined with the others at the table adds up.

In 2013 you may hear chatter about donating personally for various Foundation programs.

You might want to help as we launch an exciting new project on the First Amendment with Indiana University’s Center for International Media Law and Policy Studies.

Or you may consider a memorial contribution to honor a longtime journalist or friend.

HSPA Foundation Board President John Rumbach and I will meet this week to do some strategic planning on fundraising.

But our directors understood if they want others to give, they needed to lead by example.

They did so in a most generous fashion.

We appreciate the foresightedness of Foundation Vice President Lanman in leading the charge for individual contributions.

On behalf of the HSPA Foundation Board of Directors, we thank you for your corporate voluntary donations given annually with your dues.

These funds go directly toward the operating expenses of the year. Our work depends heavily on these contributions.

(And if you would like to support the Foundation’s internships, scholarships, training programs, educational activities, contests, job fair, golf outing or other programming on an individual basis, the bookkeeper says we can handle that.)

Enjoy the holidays. We look forward to a great 2013.

Karen T. Braeckel is director of the HSPA Foundation.