Getting to Know Heidi Miller
Shelters’ Edge: Tell us about your role at the ASPCA.
Heidi Miller: For the last four years, I’ve had the pleasure of working with our ASPCA Partnership agencies on their fundraising and communications programs. I spent seven great years in the ASPCA’s Development department and then jumped on board with Community Initiatives, where I’ve had the exciting opportunity to share what I know about fundraising with our partners. The work is very rewarding and this is truly my dream job.
Shelters’ Edge: Do shelters need a lot of money to begin a fundraising program?
HM: Not necessarily, especially in the online age. Set up a Facebook page and use Facebook Causes to collect donations. Create an online newsletter – and make it easy to sign up for this on your website. Be sure to clearly mark the donate area of your website. Put “Donate” on your menu and include all of the different ways people can give in a drop-down. Send out email fundraising appeals and ask people to help you recruit new supporters by forwarding the email on. And there may be email lists that you haven’t considered using, such as staff, clients, adopters and volunteers.
Shelters’ Edge: What are the top three fundraising resources you share with shelters?
HM: The Foundation Center has a ton of free educational resources, such as online training, training videos and webinars. You’ll find information on these trainings in the “Get Started” section. You can also sign up here for a free 24-hour trial of Foundation Directory Online.
Fundraising Success is a free magazine with great articles covering a wide variety of fundraising areas. It is available in print and online. You can sign up as many people in your organization as you wish here. Oh, and be sure to sign up for their free daily e-newsletter, “Today in Fundraising.”
I would also recommend signing up for a free Linkedin account. There are a great many fundraising discussion groups that you can join. Invite people from other nonprofits to join your network. You can even start your own discussion group.
Shelters’ Edge: What’s one important thing that a shelter interested in ramping up their fundraising efforts can do?
HM: I recommend taking a look at the donate area of the ASPCA’s website. We offer a variety of ways for people to give, so you might get some ideas for new programs. Take into consideration what will be required in terms of human resources, and only take on what you can handle. One simple thing to do is start a vehicle donation program. We work with V-DAC (Vehicle Donations to Any Charity). Visit their website to find out more.
Shelters’ Edge: Thanks so much, Heidi. Is there anything you want to ask our readers?
HM: Do any of you know of any great free or low-cost fundraising or communications products or resources? If so, please share them with us in the comment box, and let us know why you like them. Let’s all work together to make this world a better place for the animals we work so hard to help every single day!
What are YOUR questions for Heidi? Please type them in the comment box.