Best Practices Case Study

Organization: Asian Pacific Islander Pride

Capacity Building Area: Fund Development

 

Organizational profile

Asian Pacific Islander Pride (APIP) is a community and membership based organization led by and for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer people of Asian and Pacific Islander descent in Portland, OR. APIP is governed by a set of bylaws which is administered by a Board of Directors who operate on the consensus model. The Board assumes the responsibility for the month-to-month administration of the organization, including making executive decisions affecting the direction and running of APIP; but all Board decisions are directed by input from the queer Asian and Pacific Islander communities and are subject to membership review, revision, and revocation.

The stated mission of APIP is to:

  1. Promote the visibility and the just treatment of its constituency. This includes providing education and advocacy in the larger community, creating and supporting policies, and serving as a bridge between the LGBTQ API community and others.
  2. Provide education and mutual support for individuals who are members of its constituent groups. This is primarily done by creating a welcoming, inclusive and safe place for mutual connection through a range of social events, which include an Lunar New Year banquet, participation in Portland’s Pride Festival, and Autumn Moon Viewing and Winter Solstice parties. There are also regularly hosted hikes, potlucks and movie nights, just to name a few opportunities.

Organizational situation

The annual Lunar New Year Banquet has been a signature event for API Pride for a number of years. It has traditionally been a smaller event, with 40-50 people in attendance, and primarily socially focused. In 2010 a decision was made to scale the event in order to serve two primary goals:

  • Increase attendance in order to reach and serve more of the API LGBTQ community; and
  • Increase the amount of money brought in by the event in order to support the costs of the event as well as over time provide greater resources and services to the community.

Two issues have made the goal of creating a sustainable fundraising program for the organization a bit more challenging.

First, because the primary goal of the organization for many years has been to build and support community building among the API LGBTQ community – which is not very visible – there was, and continues to be tension between the goals of creating accessibility and fundraising. Some on the Board of Directors have felt that the role of the organization is simply to give to others with no expectation of anything in return. Doing this, they say, is fully meeting everyone where they are, and everyone is included. Others on the Board say that community members should be given the chance to give back to the organization, and giving money is one way to do it. They say that it’s important to balance accessibility and covering the organization’s costs – and think both can happen.

Secondly, the Board of Directors has been – and continues to be – a working Board that has participated in a range of activities in the community. The organization is beginning to consider what other program areas, beyond social support, they would like to move into more strongly, including advocacy and education. While some of these activities are currently done, fundraising capacity will be important if the organization is to move more strongly in these areas.

Solution

The primary activity to address these challenges has been to adapt the Lunar New Year Banquet to serve a greater fundraising function for the organization. This adaptation is still in process, and the fundraising portion of the program is still growing. Here’s what was done:

1)      Increased the number of attendees from 40-50 people to around 100 people.

2)      Raised ticket cost for the event from $5-$10 to $10-$15. While the amount of the ticket was raised minimally, it:

  • Honored the tension between accessibility and fundraising. For some Board members $15 felt really high;
  • Brought in additional funds that would not have been there otherwise; and
  • A work exchange opportunity was built in for those who may not be able to pay the ticket price.

3)      Increased the number of things donated for the event, including: alcohol, food, and items for the raffle.

4)      Instituted a raffle held during the event.

5)      Did a direct ask at the event.

The Board begins planning the event six months in advance, and has a Board committee that is fully committed to the Banquet. Specific sub-committees are created which include: Advertising and Marketing, Donations, Outreach, Registrations, Venue, Program, and Food/Drink.

Beyond the Lunar New Year Banquet, the Board is considering how to strengthen the overall fundraising program of the organization. This first includes many Board conversations about fundraising: the purpose for it, what kinds of options there are, and how to maintain accessibility while bringing in more funds for the organization’s work. Additional activities the organization is considering include:

1)      Doing a targeted fundraising dinner, with the ticket price being $50 per plate.

2)      Looking for focused ways to develop new relationships with donors.

Results

As a result of this work, the organization now has the foundation for an annual fundraising event, as well as the beginning pieces for a larger individual donor cultivation program. The organization is also creating its own fundraising structure that is culturally specific and accessible.

Next is for the organization to develop specific fundraising goals, and continue to grow the number of events the organization hosts each year.

Resources you used and/or recommend

  • Participation in WILD (Western Institute for Leadership Development) and AMP (Activists Mobilizing for Power) through the Western States Center.
  • Participation in conferences and events such as Creating Change.
  • Technical Assistance resources like Pride Foundation and Nonprofit Association of Oregon.
  • Experiences from volunteer work with other Boards/organizations.
  • Google docs is used for coordination and archiving of information.

Best advice and recommendations

  • It is important to recognize that the work you do is actually valuable. Yes, it is valuable socially and culturally, but it’s okay to put a monetary value on it too, while also making sure to meet people where they are.
  • Fundraising allows people to show how much they value you. It allows them to actively support something they care about. You are connecting with others on their values.
  • Asking for money is scary, but you won’t get it if you don’t ask.