Mercy Center, a community center deeply rooted in the Mott Haven section of the Bronx, offers programs and services that empower women and their families to reach their full potential and become agents of change for healthy family living and economic independence.
When Mercy Center’s new executive director Steve Stritch took over from the founders, he realized that he had inherited a board that included members for whom fundraising had not been a priority. “A few board members told me flat out,” he remembered, “that when they were asked to join the board they were told that their time was their gift to Mercy Center.” He knew that perspective needed to change: “I had to thank them but tell them we needed not only their time but also their resources!”
Stritch asked Cause Effective to present a training to the board on best practices in the field, and explain how those standards might apply to Mercy Center’s board. “People heard our Cause Effective expert better than if I had said the same thing,” reflected Stritch.
Cause Effective then helped Mercy Center strengthen its nominations and governance committee to recognize the importance of bringing on new board members who understood and accepted fundraising as part of their service. The organization recruited four new board members who are financially supportive, with the capacity to substantially raise the organization’s donor profile. The group then prepared a board member commitment form to outline board fundraising priorities: “Now our board members understand they have to support all our fundraising activities – not just the gala,” remarked Stritch.
The result? “After living with a deficit budget for several years, it’s great to move to a balanced budget. The support of the board has been critical in bringing us to this point.”