Published June 9th, 2010
"The Jay and Charley Show" Fundraising in a tough economy
By Sophie Braccini

On May 13th Jay Lifson, Executive Director of the Lafayette Chamber of Commerce, and Charley Daly, his counterpart from Pleasant Hill, presented "The Jay and Charley Show," a fun, interactive workshop on how to continue to raise money in spite of dried-up funding sources. From events to bartering, they've tried it all. It's by strengthening their communities, giving as much (or even more) than they ask, that they have found a way to continue to flourish.
"When people say, 'the economy is bad, let's cut programs,' we do the opposite," said Lifson, "we propose new events, new programs, that provide value for our members, and have a positive return for us." Lifson acknowledged that fiscal responsibility is a must, and sometimes old programs must be weeded out. Lifson offered the example of the Lafayette Concourse of Elegance: a well loved program, but one that was not productive for the Chamber.
They also recommended analyzing where the money comes from, listing sponsors in four categories, and allocating time accordingly:
A: Sponsors that are easy to work
with and give a lot of money
B: Easy to work with, but want
discounts, propose bartering
C: Hard to work with, but give a
lot of money
D: Hard to work with and do
not give much
Both agreed that boosting marketing and public relations efforts is paramount. "The elevator speech does not work anymore," said Daly, "it is full of 'I.' Instead, create a message that speaks directly to your auditor's interests." Both believed that the economy will stay low for at least another two years and that fewer people are able to give, so fundraisers need to deliver more impact and talk to their donors' culture.
Lifson noted that sometimes bartering works well. For example, an exterminator provided bee traps for the Art and Wine Festival in exchange for free advertising. "I find it easier to go and ask for stuff than money," agreed Daly.
The two men reviewed fund raising ideas that work. "Most events that work have four things in common," said Daly, "music, food, drinks, and a good cause."
Finally, they recommended keeping an updated Rolodex. "150 is a good number of people to know and establish a real relationship with," said Lifson, "just make sure that they, too, know 150 people well, if possible in a different circle than yours."

Tips from Jay and Charley
- Put your programs under the
microscope and cut dead wood
Know where you money comes from and stay frugal
- Stay visible
- Put marketing people on the board and boost your PR
- Be the king of horse traders - barter
- Give your sponsors benefits tailored to their values
- Successful events have: Music, food, drinks, and a good cause
Know 150 people who know 150 people (who know 150 people, etc...)

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