LIMA — Children don’t dream of growing up to be volunteers. Ask a roomful of fundraisers if they love raising funds and they’ll tell you no.
That is what makes those who do the hard work of keeping nonprofits going so precious.
The Lima Region Development Professionals Roundtable and Lima Community Foundation hosted the first Lima Philanthropy Day luncheon Thursday to honor the men and women who give their time and money and those who talk them into doing it.
“It’s a tough job and not everybody likes to do it. That’s what makes it so special,” said John Pruehs, fundraising consultant and founder of the Illinois-based Pruehs and Associates.
While large donors such as Warren Buffet and Bill Gates help bring national giving numbers up, the local fundraiser and nonprofit director faces new challenges. Time restraints limit the hours volunteers are willing to give. It is the organization’s responsibility to make sure that time is well-used.
“There is more pressure on the organization to see that volunteers are used in a way that meets their skills and abilities,” Pruehs said.
At the same time, the people who are most likely to give money are just as wounded by the down economy as the organizations they serve. Few donors are willing to make large gifts without knowing specifically where and how the money will be spent.
“They want to know much more detail then they did in years past,” Pruehs said.
Despite the challenges, it is still possible for organizations to find support, both in contributions and volunteer time. The challenge is knowing why people give, Pruehs said. In most cases, the key reasons for helping an organization begin with the simple fact that they are asked to help. From there, it boils down to believing in the mission and purpose of the organization; having an interest and real involvement in the group; and being asked to serve in a way that matches the giver’s skills and interests.
“One thing you will not see on that list is being motivated by tax credits,” Pruehs said. “That is something that comes up way down the list.”