Future Reflections        Special Issue on Advocacy

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Calling In the Cars

by Joanne Wilson

From the Editor: The many innovative programs of the National Federation of the Blind cost money, and fundraising is one of our ongoing concerns. Late in March Joanne Wilson, director of President Maurer's Office of Affiliate Development, sent the following letter to the presidents of our fifty-two NFB affiliates, introducing an exciting new fundraising initiative. We take this opportunity to share her letter with the readers of Future Reflections in the hope that you will help us spread the word.

Dear NFB Affiliate Presidents,

The National Federation of the Blind always steps up to get the job done. Many affiliates are actively working to assist in finding new financial support for our national movement, and we have just launched a new program that should allow each of our affiliates to make a difference. The National Federation of the Blind has launched a vehicle donation program.

The vehicle donation program allows us to accept car donations anywhere in the United States. Our national office and our affiliates have been turning car donations away because we have not had an effective program for managing them and turning them into cash for the organization. We have now solved this problem, and we need your help to take advantage of this opportunity.

After extensive research, the Federation has made an agreement with Vehicles for Charity to process our car donations. Besides cars, we also accept vans, RVs, motorcycles, dirt bikes, boats, trucks, and tractors. However, it is up to us to capture the donors by promoting the fact that we can accept vehicle donations and finding creative ways to get the word out.

To begin, I am asking you to take some immediate steps to help with this effort:

As we move into spring, we will be building this program out in more detail and providing more supporting materials. If you assign a member of your affiliate to help promote this program, please send their name and contact information to me so we can send them communications. We will be planning a conference call soon to answer questions that people might have about the program and share ideas for spreading the word.

We are starting with the tried and true Federation local outreach to get the word out. As we build success with this venture, we will have the capacity to consider other forms of promotion such as advertising. Consider this notion. If fifty-one of our affiliates (unfortunately we cannot operate the program in Puerto Rico) generate ten referrals each, with an average donation value of $500, we are talking about better than $250,000. That is easily within our capacity in 2013. Maryland has already generated one referral this week and all we did was answer the phone and have the ability to say, "Yes, we can take your donation," rather than turning it away. Imagine what we can do with some Federation creativity and enthusiasm! If each of our affiliates generates one hundred car donations per year, we will have a tremendous base to build on.

Let's start calling in the cars!

Yours in the Federation,

Joanne Wilson
Director, Affiliate Development Office of the President
National Federation of the Blind
200 E. Wells Street at Jernigan Place
Baltimore, MD 21230
Phone: (410) 659-9314, Ext. 2335
[email protected]

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