BUILDING AN EFFECTIVE ASSOCIATION
Getting Down to Work
Always remember to do what you can with what you have. The work that your association will do, the hope that it will give to patients and the support it will lend to medical professionals, will be great because of your passion and commitment. Many associations began doing great work with very little money by being creative and resourceful. Don’t become discouraged because of expenses or a lack of money. While it is much easier to get things done when you have the resources, there are many ways to do things with a limited budget!
Being thrifty is a great way to help grow the income your association does bring in. But if the money isn’t coming in, how can you improve your association’s fundraising efforts? In many cases, diversifying your fundraising efforts can help immensely by drawing income through a variety of means and sources.
- Produce the first few issues of your newsletter on a home printer, or at the public library, duplicate them inexpensively on a copier. One day you may be able to create the beautiful, full-color, twenty page magazine you’d love to offer, but for now you can be confident that you are getting information out – and supporting your members – as cost-effectively as possible (for example, by email).
- Hold patient meetings at a member’s home or at a conference room at your PH clinic or hospital. Ask participants to bring refreshments to share. You might not meet in a light-filled conference center with sparkling water at every seat, but you are bringing patients, families, and medical professionals together and out of isolation.
- Sell merchandise branded with your organization’s logo and address, including t-shirts, pens, bracelets and magnets. This is a great way to raise funds and increase awareness about your organization and pulmonary hypertension. Your members will be proud to show off their purchases and have the opportunity to tell others about the illness and your association!
- Some associations ask for membership fees as a way to raise a little bit of money and engage members by giving them a sense of belonging. Other associations ask for donations, rather than membership fees, to give members who can afford to the opportunity to contribute funds. Assess your association’s expenses and sources of income and determine whether your group should collect membership fees and how often. If membership fees will not be a fundraising tool, set the fee very low, making it primarily symbolic. There are other ways to reach out to your members as well, by including a request for donations in your newsletter or brochures, for example, and by including donation information on your website.
Hold seasonal special events, such as fun walks, golf tournaments or benefit concerts. Events draw fresh audiences to your group, energize your members, and create opportunities to fundraise and educate the general public about pulmonary hypertension. They’re also a great venue to sell your association’s merchandise and hand out informational materials.
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