EMAN to boost fundraising efforts

(This is a correct version. An earlier story misstated the reason for the fine against EMAN)

The board of East Mount Airy Neighbors (EMAN) has begun formulating a fundraising strategy it hopes will keep the civic organization viable.

At the moment, the group’s financial footing is somewhat shaky. It’s running at an $18,000 deficit in 2010 and is facing a $1900 fine for late filing of its 2009 Federal 990 form, even though EMAN had applied for an extension of the deadline for filing this form, said Treasurer Dutch Klugman at EMAN’s November board meeting. The penalty, he said, is partially the result of some errors made by both board members and a previous accountant.

To stay afloat, the organization has had to take money from an endowment fund, which Klugman warned would be empty in two to three years at the group’s current rate of withdrawal.

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Executive Director Elayne Bender said she is developing a “multi-pronged” fundraising plan, which looks to increase membership, development dollars and the number of EMAN events.

Bender’s plan begins with thanking new EMAN members.  “When you do that then they feel better about the organization,” she said. “So when you hit them up again for an annual giving event, they’re more inclined to respond.”

Bender said she will also use two newly awarded grants from the state’s Department of Community and Economic Development to expand the group’s print outreach and improve its website.

For example Bender plans on sending out post cards that invite  East Mt. Airy residents to join EMAN, but will also look to make it easier for people to join and donate to EMAN online.

Other strategies EMAN may try to boost memberships include member benefits and hosting additional fundraisers.

Bender has been talking with the Bike Collective of Mt. Airy to see if they would rent bikes to EMAN members for $25, but charge non-members $40. 

The complete strategy will be presented at EMAN’s next board meeting Dec. 7.

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