I spent the fall of 2007 in frenetic travel. I flew to the West Coast four times and attended more RFC events than I can recall. My goal was to build up as big a war chest as we could because I saw the storm clouds building on the horizon. In our Spring 2008 newsletter I wrote about a “perfect storm” brewing. That’s the way I described the Obama campaign coupled with the gathering recession, that together were sucking many dollars away from the RFC and other progressive organizations.
And then it got much worse. The financial crisis last fall transformed a recession into the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. And although I applauded Obama’s victory, I knew even a nominally progressive democrat in the White House would cause some of our supporters to think that the need to support the children of targeted progressive activists had abated.
But our incredible RFC supporters did not back down in the face of the storm’s gathering force. In 2008 our donors came through in almost record numbers. By the end of the year we’d raised only a little less than we had in 2007, despite the economic meltdown and all the funds absorbed by myriad electoral campaigns.
Still, to be prudent, we hunkered down. We cut back our projected granting by 20% for this year, dipped into the rainy day fund we’d squirreled away from my extra work in 2007, and asked our community to dig deep in our Spring 2009 newsletter. And you came surging through again; the response this spring was lower than in the last two, but not by nearly as much as we feared.
But months of hard times are becoming years. We have known that many of our supporters have been hurting and that their generosity could not hold out indefinitely against the relentless economic battering.
Unfortunately, this prognostication also has been on target. Our June mailing is down 25% from last year. I won’t badger our most loyal supporters for more when I know you are giving as generously as you can. But there is another way you can solve this problem. If you can help to get more people involved in the RFC project, our granting can bounce back to 2008 levels without our having to grab you by the ankles, turn you upside down and shake every last nickel out of your pockets.
I’m saying this lightly, but I’m also deadly serious. The best solution to our problem is to get more people to support our work. Every one of you can be an ambassador, and if enough of you have enough success we will raise all the funds our beneficiaries so desperately need.
There are several easy ways to inform others about the RFC’s work and enlist them to become supporters. Encourage your friends to join our mailing lists: our website has simple email and surface mail sign-up forms on every page. Each page on the site also has a “Tell a friend about us” link (upper left corner) and an “Email this page” link (bottom, center), so you can forward that specific page’s content to your email contacts, along with a personal note. Finally, if you’re on Facebook, you either can become a Fan of our Page (www.facebook.com/rosenbergfundforchildren) or Join our Cause, (/www.causes.com/rosenbergfundforchildren) and get simple tools to recruit your Facebook friends.
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