Special Event Fund-Raising Cookbook for Faith in Action Programs:
Neighbors Swapping Recipes for Success
Faith in Action program directors, staff, volunteers and board members are always
thinking of creative and innovative fund-raising strategies to achieve sustainability. The
Special Event Fund-Raising Cookbook for Faith in Action Programs: Neighbors
Swapping Recipes for Success is a resource of 45 proven and successful special events
ranging from the sale of food and beverage items, luncheons, dinners and nights on the
town to seasonal and holiday events, performances and dances, walks, rides and garden
shows, auctions and one-of-a-kind events: all ideas from the Faith in Action network of
programs. Let’s take a look at strategies this book highlights in planning a special event.
Cost of Planning a Special Event
The leadership of the Faith in Action program needs to determine how much money
needs to be raised and how much it will cost to do so. The general rule of thumb among
fund-raising experts is that your cost/fund-raising ratio should never be higher than
50/50. To calculate this ratio, you must determine how much you are willing to spend to
raise the money. For example, a local Faith in Action program agrees to spend 40 cents
per dollar to raise the targeted gross amount. Use this equation:
Formula to Determine Gross Revenue Goal
Net Goal=Amount you want to raise
To further this example, suppose your local program wants to raise $15,000 and will
spend 40 cents on every dollar to raise the money.
$15,000 = $15,000
1.0 - .40 .60
Total revenue: $25,000
Even though the total revenue is $25,000, consider the expenses that you may incur
during the planning and execution of an event. With this equation, you have allotted
$10,000 for expenses.
Features of Each Special Event Recipe
Each special event lists the key ingredients that are needed to plan and execute the fund-
raiser such as the initial dollar investment of the program, the range of amounts that can
be raised, time frame needed for planning the event, necessary “chefs” and people to
make the event successful and finally cooking “instructions” on how to conduct the
Fiscal Management Guide for Faith in Action Programs:
Recommended Practices for Effective Internal Controls
The Fiscal Management Guide for Faith in Action Programs was designed to assist
program directors, board members, advisory board members and other staff in
establishing and maintaining effective internal controls for the financial management of
Faith in Action programs. This resource is a step-by-step guide for setting up sound
internal controls. Let’s review a few highlights of this resource.
Board of Directors’ Responsibility for Fiscal Management
The roles of the board are to support, govern and monitor the financial health of the
organization. Below are a few responsibilities of board members:
Examine the cash balance to ensure that balances maintained in checking
accounts are adequate but not excessive.
Note the investment balance and identify any significant changes from month to
Examine the payroll liability accounts for unusual increases.
Examine all expenses for costs that exceed the budget and obtain explanations
for any variances.
Segregation of Duties
Responsibilities should be assigned so that no one individual, including
managers and directors, controls all aspects of processing a transaction.
Budgets and Financial Reporting
Every organization needs a budget, no matter how small or uncomplicated its
operations may be. For example:
Financial reports should be prepared and presented to the board monthly.
Financial reports should highlight transactions and spending trends of the
Policies and Procedures
Faith in Action programs need to have written policies and procedures for handling
Document all financial transactions (i.e., depositing cash, paying bills and
transferring funds between accounts).
Reconciliation of banking statements should be done monthly and sent directly
to the treasurer of the board for review.
Having internal controls for financial management is important for the credibility of the
organization, protects board members and staff and is reassuring to donors and funders.
What I Wish I Knew Then… Keys for Building and
Sustaining a Faith in Action Program
Elizabeth Liska, a founding program director of two Faith in Action programs and a
mentor, shares and reflects on better practices and lessons learned during the last twenty
years for building a sustainable Faith in Action program. Following are a few highlights
of this video and how they can be shared with key staff.
Keys to Success:
Hire a program director to ensure sustainability.
Maintain the mission of the program as a ministry.
Develop and follow a strategic plan.
Let’s take a closer look at each key element and review some suggested techniques:
Role of the program director is critical
Focuses on the mission of the program and guides the program in the right
Sends a monthly or bi-monthly newsletter and keeps board and/or advisory
committee, coalition and community partners involved with the program
Develops and continues to nurture the relationship with faith leaders
Develops a public relations strategy such as public television show to increase
Gains an understanding of different faiths
Mission of the program as a ministry should be maintained
Involve the people served in the planning and development of the program
through interviews, surveys or asking someone to serve on the board or
Invest time in training and development of the board.
Recruit volunteers and conduct volunteer trainings.
Strategic plan for the Faith in Action program developed
Create public relations initiative to keep the public informed of services.
Evaluate program and services, and implement feedback for improvement.
Create a diversified fund-raising plan and implement as soon the initial Faith in
Action grant is received.
Videos are available for purchase from the Storehouse.
Faith in Action Program Directors Share
Successful Strategies for Program Management
This video is a wonderful resource tool for both new and experienced Faith in Action
program directors. It contains proven strategies for success from experienced Faith in
Action program directors covering such topics as board development, strategic planning
and coalition building.
This resource can be used to help you and your staff organize and strengthen your
program leadership components. The study conducted by Private/Public Ventures on
the characteristics of a sustainable Faith in Action program states that having a strong
board, coalition and program director are essential elements to an enduring program.
Review the video with key leadership and staff to receive additional support and
guidance. Here are a few highlights of this resource.
Board Development Strategies
To have an effective governing or advisory board, you should meet monthly to discuss:
Funding and volunteer resources. Your board should help you secure speaking
engagements to local congregations, community organizations and corporations
to help with volunteer recruitment and fund raising efforts
Strategic Planning Strategies
Begin strategic planning by spending time preparing and getting input.
For example, two to three weeks prior to the retreat, mail out a pre-retreat
questionnaire to participants and ask each to return the questionnaire to the
outside facilitator. See the Strategic Planning Pre-retreat Survey located in the
Program Management resource section on the Extranet.
Coalition Building Strategies
Identify what your program is asking of the congregation, such as:
Memorandum of Understanding
Member(s) to serve on board or advisory committee
Appoint group leaders (or congregational coordinator)
Funding and volunteer resources. Your coalition should help you secure
volunteers through posting announcements in bulletins and sharing with
congregation members. Coalition members are also expected to help with fund
raising and financial support of the program.
Videos are available for purchase from the Storehouse.
The Story of Faith in Action:
The Inspiration and Vision of Interfaith Volunteer Caregiving
This 27-minute video features Paul S. Jellinek, a former vice president of the Robert
Wood Johnson Foundation, who shares the twenty-year history of Faith in Action. This
video can be used to orient new board and coalition members and volunteers to Faith in
Action. It is an excellent tool to help individuals involved in your program understand
the national impact of Faith in Action. Excerpts of the video can be shown during
presentations to congregations or at volunteer recruitment fairs or health fairs.
For example, the sections of the video explaining the role of congregations and the
interfaith coalition can be used during a coalition meeting or congregational
coordinators’ training workshop. In these sections, Paul Jellinek explains that Faith in
Action uses interfaith coalitions, which consists of religious congregations from various
faiths reflecting the diversity of the community, to:
1) Provide support and guidance to the full-time program director
2) Make individuals feel more comfortable with volunteer caregivers from the
3) Safeguard against proselytizing by any congregation
4) Make it easier to get additional funding
Videos are available for purchase from the Storehouse.
Tool Kit for Success – A Resource for Creating Effective Program Materials,
The Tool Kit for Success resource contains more than 75 templates and ideas that are
proven, successful tools for Faith in Action program directors in core areas of program
development. You will find templates and resources on coalition building, public
relations and community awareness, fund raising, volunteer recruitment and
management, board and advisory development and program and fiscal management.
Whether you are a new or seasoned program director, this manual will provide simple
but creative ways for you to jump-start and sustain your Faith in Action program. You
are encouraged to modify these documents to fit your program’s needs. Several tools,
which have been clearly identified with an asterisk (*) and labeled as “Extranet Sample,”
can be downloaded from the Faith in Action Extranet.
Let’s take a look at one example. The Memorandum of Understanding and Agreement
for congregations can be tailored to fit your program needs.
1. After logging on to the Extranet (http://extranet.faithinaction.org), click on the
Resources tab and then the Coalition Building category to locate the document.
2. Once you have located the document on the Extranet, simply download the
document and save the file on your computer hard drive.
3. After saving the document as a template, you can easily modify it by inserting your
program and congregation information where applicable. Be sure to save the
modified document with your specific program information as a separate file.
4. The Memorandum of Understanding is now a tailored resource, ready to be
distributed to your congregations!
Some resources not identified by an asterisk in the Tool Kit for Success may have been
added to the Extranet. Templates not located on the Extranet can be easily recreated in
either Word or Excel.
This resource is not available in electronic format,
but may be purchased from the Storehouse.
Trends, Tips and Tools for Volunteer Management:
A Complete Guide to Building and Enhancing Your Faith in Action Program
This comprehensive resource, created with the collaboration of several Faith in Action
program directors and the Points of Light Foundation, contains valuable volunteer
management strategies tailored to address the needs of Faith in Action program
directors. This resource provides sample forms to be used during the start-up phase of
your program and as you reassess your existing program mission and goals. This
manual applies to all areas of volunteer management and is a wonderful reference tool
for use during any stage of your program.
Throughout the manual are quick tips, simple time savers and samples to help
you, along with your board, coalition and staff, to brainstorm new ideas.
At the end of each appendix section, you will find worksheets, document
samples and tip sheets to assist you and your leadership team.
The Recruitment Planning worksheet located on page 109 of the manual can be useful in
volunteer recruitment efforts. This worksheet is designed to assist you in creating a
recruitment message and identifying potential volunteer groups for each volunteer
position. As mentioned in the Volunteer Management manual, if you are just starting
out, you may want to focus your recruitment efforts on one or two key volunteer
positions. Simply complete the worksheet for each volunteer position and begin your
well-planned recruitment campaign!
Worksheet: Recruitment Planning (located on page 109 of the Volunteer Training Manual)
Complete this worksheet for each volunteer position.
1. Volunteer position title: _________________________________________________
2. List key skills and criteria needed in this position:
3. List benefits to volunteers and features (where, when, what, with whom, etc.):
4. Select groups that are good potential sources of volunteers for this position:
5. Develop recruitment message(s) using benefits and features that will appeal to the volunteer groups
listed under #4:
6. Select where and how you will connect with each group of volunteers listed under #4:
Where to Find Ways to Inform
Marketing & Publicity: Creating a Communications Plan
Sharing the caregiving stories that bring Faith in Action programs to life is an important
step to building awareness about the issues facing neighbors you serve with long-term
health needs. The key to successful communications is having confidence in your
message, and this resource, Marketing & Publicity: Creating a Communications Plan
offers details about building relationships with the media and ways to conduct media
outreach. In addition to offering suggestions about writing a plan, it also contains a
sample media tracking form and a glossary of media terms.
Let’s review a key strategy for conducting media outreach for Faith in Action programs:
Pitching a Story
You may “pitch” a story to media outlets by either sending a pitch letter with a follow-
up phone call or if you’re pressed for time or have a last minute story, you can make a
“cold call” to a reporter. A pitch should follow three main talking points.
Present the problem. Use data and statistics to show the extent of the problem
in your community.
Present the solution. Explain the role of the Faith in Action program in
addressing the problem the community faces.
Make an “ask.” Ask the reporter to cover an event or take photos of an
upcoming event. The reporter could interview a volunteer and care receiver
about the value of and need for the program or promote an upcoming volunteer
recruitment or recognition event.
Throughout this resource you will see a megaphone with “Speaking of Which…” in a
box that has tips on specific issues addressed in the text. For example, there are tips on
writing a good news release or how to turn media rejection into an opportunity.
Media Outreach Guide for Faith in Action Programs
The Media Outreach Guide for Faith in Action Programs provides key messages for use
in media outreach by local programs. The guide offers steps to develop a story and
questions to ask when calling a media outlet. This guide was originally designed to
introduce the national spokeswoman and release 2003 survey results, but the media tips
included are timeless. This guide features messages relevant to Faith in Action programs
such as independence issues and the needs of family caregivers, details about
developing a media story for your program, steps for media outreach, and Web site to
gain research statistics. Let’s review the steps for media outreach.
Create a media list with contacts from local newspapers, radio, and television
stations. Research which contacts feature stories on faith-based activities, health
related issues and community nonprofits.
Make calls to those outlets that seem most in line with these topics and ask for
the reporter who handles these stories. Learn their preferences for receiving
news releases by fax or e-mail.
Tailor your message as instructed on pages 1 and 2 of this resource and create a
one-page media bullet list which can include statistics about your services or a
volunteer and care receiver story.
Rehearse your key messages and role play with a board member or staff member
the questions a reporter may ask.
Many Different Faiths – One Common Goal: An Introduction to Faith in Action
Many Different Faiths – One Common Goal: An Introduction to Faith in Action shares stories
from programs across the country and includes an introduction by Della Reese, Faith in
Action national spokeswoman. This video features Della Reese, Dr. Burton Reifler,
mentors, program directors, volunteers and care receivers sharing their parts in the Faith
in Action story. It includes the toll free number to call for volunteer opportunities or to
receive caregiving services.
Example of how to use this video
A program director has been asked to speak to a local community group similar
to the Civitans. He or she decides to strengthen the program story by showing
this short video, so that the meeting attendees can hear first-hand accounts of
stories about lives that have been changed by Faith in Action. Because of the
combined emotional appeal of the program director’s story and the video, the
community group commits to providing volunteers and a small donation to the
Faith-Based Outreach Tool Kit
The Faith in Action Faith-Based Outreach Tool Kit includes materials that may help
Faith in Action program directors reach out to faith congregations, recruit new
volunteers and raise awareness about the need to provide informal caregiving for
those with long-term health needs. These tool kit materials have been developed to
help program directors conduct a coordinated outreach program to faith
congregations. The template materials include: prayers and reflections, bulletin
inserts, posters, announcement and faith leader discussion guide. Let’s take a look at
some of the tools.
Prayers and Reflections
Prayers and reflections have been written by faith leaders of Christian, Jewish and
Muslim communities and may be used in a variety of ways. For example, you may
provide them for use in weekly study meetings or worship services. Each prayer
incorporates the teachings of a particular faith and conveys the importance of
serving, volunteering and helping others. Below is an example of an Islamic
The Qur’an encourages generosity in volunteerism, kindness and charity. The
following verse indicates the attention and priority that the Qur’an has given to help
and to support those who are in need regardless of their ethnic or religious
In Chapter 4 named “Women,” the Qur’an states:
Serve Allah, and join not any partners with Him; and do good - to parents, kinsfolk,
orphans, those in need, neighbors who are near, neighbors who are strangers, the
companion by your side, the wayfarer (ye meet). (Surah 4/36)
Program Management Guide for Faith in Action Programs Embedded
in an Umbrella Organization
Many Faith in Action programs are part of larger umbrella agencies such as hospitals,
hospices, community service organizations and universities. This resource was
designed to provide Faith in Action program directors with strategies and techniques
related to program management in a larger organization. Many of the strategies
shared in this resource are from Faith in Action program directors which have
experienced success in an umbrella organization.
A Faith in Action program in an umbrella agency may have difficulty with
developing and maintaining a separate program identity. Let’s take a look at the
“preferred practices” suggested by program directors to achieve individual program
Presentations. Presentations are a great opportunity to provide information to
community organizations and agencies, auxiliaries, congregations and businesses about
your Faith in Action program and its relationship with the parent agency. Presentations
are helpful in attracting new coalition members and volunteers.
Community education. Community education provides congregations, caregivers and
organizations with information about specific content areas. Program directors should
make presentations on the services and resources available through the local Faith in
Action program and its relationship with the parent agency as a way to educate and
bring awareness to congregations and community agencies.
Recognize the power of media. Having a tailored media outreach plan is essential in
creating program identity. Exposure in radio, television and print (newspaper and
magazine) can effectively tell the story of your program. Consider creating a Faith in
Action one-page newsletter that may be inserted into the parent organization’s monthly
or quarterly publication.
Follow up on news releases. Once you have sent news release information to media
outlets, follow up with section editors or writers. This may help you develop
relationships with key individuals who can promote your program in the community.
Communicate internally. Newsletters provide opportunities for regular
communication between the Faith in Action program and the parent organization. While
communicating with the public is important to program sustainability, it also is
important to communicate with staff of the larger parent organization. Keep the parent
organization abreast of your programming efforts. Consider an internal newsletter in
which you highlight volunteer and care receiver stories.
Engaging Your Faith in Action Coalition for Program Sustainability:
A Guide for Mapping Your Success
According to the study conducted by Public /Private Ventures on Faith in Action
programs funded in the 1990s, a program with 16 or more coalition members is more
likely to receive help with fund raising, which increases the program’s chances for
sustainability. To assist our programs with coalition development and management,
several Faith in Action mentors and program directors have collaborated to create this
comprehensive resource manual. It contains valuable strategies to assist Faith in Action
program directors in developing strong, effective coalitions. This resource provides a
wealth of information covering a broad range of topics, such as deepening the
commitment of coalition members, enlisting members’ support in recruiting volunteers
and fund raising, resolving conflict and meeting common challenges.
This guide will be helpful in all areas of coalition development and is a wonderful
resource for use at all stages of your program.
Throughout the manual are successful tips and proven strategies for practical
At the end of each chapter, you will find tools and other resources to assist you
and your leadership team.
Let’s look at two of the resources included in this coalition development guide.
An example of a strategy for enlisting the support of faith congregations that are
members of your coalition is to send a short monthly e-newsletter designed
specifically for congregations as an effective means of educating, promoting
events and enlisting the support of the faith groups with which you work. Always
make sure to include an anecdote about how a congregation has provided support
to your Faith in Action program and your care receivers.
One of the tools referenced at the end of Chapter 4 is a sample Coalition
Brochure available on the Extranet for effective recruitment of new coalition
members. This template can be easily tailored for use by your program as an
attractive and informative brochure.
This guide includes useful information and suggestions for programs that are large or
small, rural or urban, stand-alone or part of larger organizations, whether newly funded
or have been in existence for many years. So check it out, put some ideas into practice
and see what great results follow!