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Ten Ideas to Elevate Your Small Shop Fundraising Plan

Resource Center - Foundation

Ligia PenaWe don’t need to tell you this, but the struggle of the small shop is real!  We recently got to chat with Ligia Peña about the challenges and rewards of working in a small shop and her upcoming webinar, “Ten Ideas to Elevate Your Small Shop Fundraising Plan.”

1. What do you see as being the biggest challenge facing a small shop development office is?

The biggest challenge I’ve observed in small shop development offices is the gap between expectations and the resources available. Often, the resources available to the small shop fundraiser are not in proportion with the job expectations (fundraising goal, support, budget, etc.).  

2. What is your favorite “go-to” small shop resource?

AFP has a lot of wonderful, inspiring and helpful resources for small shops. The AFP Resource Centre as well as SOFII are great places to find samples, articles and tools. There are also a lot of great blogs out there that offer fantastic tips and tricks for small shop fundraisers.

3. Why choose a career in a small shop vs. a larger nonprofit?

I started my career in a large shop and then went on to work for a consulting firm whose clients were all very large organizations, but I felt like I wasn’t really making an impact. I have always been the type of person who advocates for the “underdog" and have been involved in small nonprofits as a volunteer. After working at the consulting firm, I decided to start my own small shop consulting business because I felt I could offer a perspective that the bigger firms couldn't because their services weren't adapted to the small shop reality.

4. What do you think is the biggest difference between Canadian and U.S. fundraising?

The tools and approaches are the same, however Canada is bilingual, and English Canadian donors give differently than Francophone Canadian donors. Regional and cultural differences mean you have to be sensitive to diversity—not only linguistically, but also culturally.

For instance, I live in Montreal, Quebec, which is a bilingual province. Every communication must be done in English and French. It puts more pressure on the fundraiser to be able to work in both official languages and obviously, it impacts your budget because you need to have a translation budget (or at least a very generous volunteer translator!).

5. You’ve been in development for the past 13 years. In that time, what do you think the coolest advance in fundraising and philanthropy has been? 

The science and data behind donor behaviour. Everything we know about fundraising and donor behaviour has, in the past, been based on experience. We finally have experts studying and producing science-based data on what we’ve always known. It helps the sector by bringing (1) credibility to the knowledge base, (2) proof of what we’ve known for decades and (3) information on how to improve our methods. It’s really very exciting!

To find out more about maximizing resources and other tips for small shop success join us for Ligia’s webinar on November 18, 2015 at 1:00 PM Eastern, “Ten Ideas to Elevate Your Small Shop Fundraising Program.” For more info or to register, click here


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