Board Papers, Meeting Materials and Minutes

Development Committee Minutes June 22, 2021

22 June 2021

Present: Peter W, Jane B., Sara Q, Jeff R., Cheryl H, Jackie K, Barbara W., Rachel E., Natalie Y., Kitty S. and Gary R., Mac M., Edna B., Jane C. Debbie W., Jane C.


Two topics:    Review June Development Report

Holiday Market plans and discussion


Development Report (Exhibit 1)

Overall, Development budget report reflects a positive year – strong in all fundraising areas.  Especially note the success of the annual appeal with the highest returns in recent years.  Spring appeal raised $100,000, when traditionally this would raise $50K to $60K.  Strong appeal message and social media postings helped contributed to this total. Sara thanks the anonymous donor for the match that helped set up the challenge. Have to think of a new structure for next spring’s appeal as we can’t repeat the challenge. Another positive aspect of the fall and spring appeal were the postcards that mailed 3-4 weeks after initial mailing.  This helped to produce a “second wave” of giving.

Peter thinks this is the perfect time for this committee and department to develop an overall fundraising marketing plan for the year and need to incorporate social media in this planning.

The question was asked if High Hopes could tell if social media brought us new donors or increased the giving of existing donors. Sara and Kerrie will look into whether we can capture this data out of Bloomerang (database). Sara thinks some of the lift in donations was the result of people realizing the pandemic has hurt non-profits and responding to that need.

It was discussed that our primary social media outlets are Facebook and Instagram. The committee would like to know if Facebook outweigh Insta? Sara thinks we get more from Instagram, it is more visible and clearer than FB. Rachel thinks Insta has grown drastically for us. In our analytics we can see where people are coming from to the giving landing page.

One thing to add to the agenda for next year is that social media analytical work. Perhaps Rachel could guide us. Rachel would need to touch base with Kerrie as Rachel doesn’t have access to the website. It was suggested that a meeting be set up with the High Hopes, Julia Balfour and Dreamscapes to review this.

It was also suggested that next year’s appeal include a series of mini-challenges where there is a match for donations made is a short time frame – x number of minutes or hours?

Restricted operating Fund: most are grants. Last year a lot of grant making organizations indicated that they were changing their focus, so we worried that we would not raise as much as we normally would. But that turned out to not be the case, and with Kitty bringing in a $50,000 donation from an anonymous donor we exceeded our goal.

Unrestricted Funds: This is where all the undesignated gifts go, includes gifts in memory and bequests.  Hard to budget, but also exceed projections

Donated Operating Goods/Services:

This is down a little but will jump once we get the invoices from folks at year end.

Big Barn Tailgate

Corp Sponsorship: this number doesn’t include in kind corporate donations, but reflects cash donations only at this time.  Once Lesley (Finance) receives the paper work back-up for the in-kind donations, the number will be adjusted upward.  Observation about corporate sponsorship, there were a couple of sponsors who would not allow employees to attend the event. They still supported us even though they couldn’t participate. There were some big sponsors from year’s past that decreased their support (Northstar/Principal) but others sponsors stepped up.

Auction: we had some great results. Barbara did some comparisons of past three years (chart attached to end of the minutes as Exhibit 2) of how we did in the last three years to see if people were more engaged in an online event vs. an in person event. Auction 2019 was our best year of the three, but there were more trips and more dinner parties at people’s homes. Not having items on a physical display also may have hurt auction prices. Items selling at 100% of FMV was flat, but 50% dropped a bit. Looked at when the winning bids were placed, 26% of winning bids were posted after 10:30 pm. 47% were placed during the event. Barbara is willing to do auction again next year and Maris Wacs is going to assist.

Ticket Purchases:  Question was asked if we should return to tiered pricing for the gala, especially since the VIP level sold so fast at $200. The other idea is to send the previous year’s purchasers a chance to pre-buy the tickets before the general invitation goes out.

Scholarship Drive: the scholarship drive was especially challenging and almost didn’t work as it was hard to see individuals pledging in the dark.  This made tracking and invoicing after the event more difficult.  Despite these challenges the scholarship drive exceeded its goal and will bring in over $100K.

Event Chairs will have an after actions with the Gala Committee and the staff next week to get more feedback. Please feel free to share your thoughts on the event with Sara via email.

Final observation by the committee to the staff and event volunteers: High Hopes gives a great party inside or outside. Every year is better than the last. Give yourselves a good pat on the back. It was really a great night. Sara noted we are lucky to have awesome volunteers.

Holiday Market – scheduled for November 14

The event will be both in person and virtual and we will also have the tasting tent. Most critical issue right now is leadership. Jeff chaired it many years. Barbara and Natalie have co-chaired and both have agreed to Co-Chair this event again with Jeff Ridgway.  Barbara would like to have her focus be on the Tasting Tent

There was also discussion about the need to develop stronger corporate support for the Market.  Gary Rogers and Nancy Bulkeley will meet with Sara and Trudy in the next week to strategize.  High Hopes is also in discussion with Reynolds’ Subaru about a car. This may be challenging as there is a car (new and used) shortage due to the pandemic.  Raffle will kick-up in late summer/early fall.

Someone asked if we have a wish list of vendors we wished we’d have? Sara said Trudy and the committee look at the mix of vendors each year. We try to have a balance of vendors, what has sold well in the past, what are popular items and the need to have good inventory at different price points.

The online market we had last year was not successful. The vendors did not make a lot of money online, but it did provide them with valuable marketing exposure.

Might want to be careful to not have too many vendors it dilutes the amount each vendor makes. The online would be a mix of the vendors that are there in person and online only vendors. In person is limited by the size of the arena. The online needs to be limited to make sure we can provide the marketing we are promising. It was a challenge to meet that goal last year.

Last, there was a brief discussion regarding the Children’s Activity area of the Market. The last two years, even though we have had kids’ activities, that family atmosphere hasn’t been as prominent with the Tasting Tent taking over much of the event’s focus. The original mission statement for the event was that it was to get the community on the property and be a “friend raiser”. The downside of the tasting tent is that it pulls us away from the family friendly atmosphere.  It was agreed that more attention needs to be given to developing a fun and more prominent Children’s Activity area.

Additional business

Sara is resigning from High Hopes effective September 21, 2021. She is giving long notice to allow HH time to find a replacement. Sara pointed out that her leaving is good for HH as well as herself.  Change allows for new energy and ideas.  Sara is proud that she is leaving the fundraising program at HH in good shape and the Development Committee is integral in that foundation.

Peter expressed how sorry he was to hear this news, but is happy for Sara and for the strong position she is leaving the organization in.

Meeting adjourned at 5:04.

Exhibits 1 and 2

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