Friday, May 08, 2009

Parkway Fundraising

If Sacramento County, and the cities of Folsom, Rancho Cordova and Sacramento form a Joint Powers Authority to govern the Parkway—as we suggest in our strategy, Section V—and then create a nonprofit conservancy to provide daily management and fundraising; over time, much of the funding instability that has been plaguing the Parkway would dissipate.

Here is an excellent excerpt from a book Public Parks, Private Partners, how a nonprofit can help a park with fundraising.

“1. Fundraising

“Fundraising is one of the most common activities that nonprofit organizations get involved in, not only because their tax-exempt status makes them eligible for funds from foundations and more attractive to individual donors, but also because it allows them to articulate concrete, visible park needs and goals. A nonprofit's ability to dedicate funds directly to a park project is particularly attractive to a city with a big vision but lack of funds to implement it. Fundraising also can serve as a park advocacy tool and raise awareness of the work of the nonprofit organization. It generally centers around three types of park needs: to supplement annual operating budgets, to implement capital projects, and to establish an endowment to ensure ongoing park maintenance, restoration, and management.

“Fundraising for annual operating funds to supplement existing public operating budgets often involves membership drives and frequent low cost events, which have the added benefit of exposing infrequent or non-park users to the park and stimulating and encouraging longer-term involvement. Though donations are typically small, park outreach is great. Concession sales and educational programming fees are other sources for raising money that are often channeled into annual operating funds. Because they do not translate into visible projects in the park, and because some philanthropies will not give for this purpose, many nonprofits consider operating funds to be the most difficult kind of funds to raise.

“Fundraising for capital campaigns tends to rely more on personal solicitations to individual and corporate donors than on events. Once the capital money is raised, design and construction is often carried out by the parks department or contracted out to private firms. Fundraising for endowment campaigns, like capital campaigns, tends to focus on larger donations from private individuals and corporations as well as matching grants from foundations. Of course, public partners can provide fundraising help as well, acting as agents to receive federal, state, and local grants and opportunities, and pursuing grants from government sources.”