Thursday, May 13, 2010

Guest Opinion: The Funding Challenge for YNPN San Diego

From Emily Davis' Next Gen Consulting Cafe. Emily is the Co-Founder and Board Chair for YNPN San Diego...

As many of you know, I am the co-founder and board chair for YNPN San Diego. It has been an enormously successful nonprofit association here in San Diego and clearly serves a great need and gaps in our community as we now have nearly 600 members! The organization is 100% volunteer run which is great, but we also need funds to keep up our programs, support and encourage our volunteers, find a permanent office, and potentially hire at least a part-time staff member.

We've moved through all the best practices to date - setting up a fiscal sponsorship with Volunteer San Diego rather than creating our own 501c3 (avoiding duplication and increasing collaboration); creating a fundraising committee to implement our fundraising strategies; and developing a fundraising plan before even implementing those strategies. It's been an awesome experience for all of our committee members and now the key is putting it to work.

There have been a couple extremely generous funders who have been willing to help this organization get up and running including the Leichtag Family Foundation by way of the Jewish Community Foundation of San Diego and Sempra Energy who provided YNPN San Diego with its FIRST grant. Both have been enormously helpful in so many ways - we have been able to develop and provide new programs to our nearly 600 members and communicate the importance of a network to the San Diego community.

What I have been surprised at as a new-comer to San Diego is the lack of support from foundations in the area for an organization like ours which could be seen as a capacity-building or infrastructure organization. I've been told that there isn't enough funding for an organization like ours and yet I see stories for emergency funding for fire pits. Who is going to be the future of making sure those fire pits are operational? Who will run the programs? YNPN San Diego is the future of ensuring there is leadership to make sure the beautification of San Diego is intact, that human services organizations have staff and volunteers in the future, and that the sector as a whole continues with mindful and powerful leadership.

I am not one to complain without providing a solution...I think would be a GREAT solution is to have all the community foundations pool together a small amount of dollars to make a large impact on the San Diego nonprofit community and sustainability. If every community and/or private foundation contributed $2000 of unrestricted funds annually, it would allow YNPN San Diego to serve a greater part of the San Diego nonprofit community and provide support and resources to those individuals who run the programs that these foundations fund in their program areas.

YNPN San Diego finds itself at the point where enough individual donations and grant dollars aren't coming in enough to sustain the organization. The organization is looking to implement membership dues and while they are affordable dues for many members, it may limit who can participate in YNPNSD fully. To even implement membership dues, we need funding for a database, staff, support to make sure that we can implement and manage membership effectively. Who will rise to that occasion?

I'm eager to help design a sustainable and equitable way to support the current and future generation of leaders as well as the entire YNPN San Diego sector, but we can't do it alone. Every dollar counts and every funder (individual, corporate, or foundation) has a responsibility to maintain the strength of YNPN San Diego. YNPN San Diego has become a critical piece of the local nonprofit by developing staff, volunteers, and board members here in San Diego.

We know that YNPN San Diego makes an impact and has an important presence in the community - what will you do to help make sure that continues?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for your comment. It will be reviewed and posted based on approval. We encourage comments of all kinds including constructive criticism and debate. Please contact for any questions.