Fundraising Requires People and Laughter – Join Us!
Contributed by Natalia Fior and Lindy Laurence
A few years ago, a group of legal aid fundraising staff started meeting quarterly at their offices in King County. Our goals were simple: support each other in our nonprofit fundraising efforts and align our messages to raise more money for civil legal aid. We called ourselves LAF (Legal Aid Fundraisers) and thought we were fun and clever. (Okay, we still think that!)
Last fall, our circle expanded when the ATJ Communications Committee and LAF joined forces. This was an easy decision because good fundraising requires good communications. We also expanded our group members to include our state’s network of pro bono programs and any fundraising or communications staff who are in the civil justice space.
We changed our name to “LAFCo Roundtable” and we started meeting every other month to provide greater support and resource-sharing to a growing number of organizations. LAFCo, as you might have surmised, is Legal Aid Fundraising and Communications. (And doesn’t the addition of “Roundtable” make us sound so very classy, organized, and uber-professional?)
In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, this group has been active on our listserv sharing resources and new strategies for how to fundraise in a crisis and how to transition from an in-person to a virtual event. It’s a tough time for nonprofits that rely on events for a solid portion of their annual budget and it’s been helpful to have this group of professionals to lean on and learn from.
If you fundraise or provide communications for a civil legal aid program in Washington or are a board member of a legal aid organization, please join us! WSBA hosts us in their conference room and virtually through video and audio conferencing, and the Legal Foundation of Washington will buy you lunch if you show up in person. We typically have 10 – 15 people join in-person and about 10 really smart people on Zoom or the phone. We set up presentations in advance so each meeting has a theme and we try to leave time for some open discussion at each meeting as well.
To join us, email Bonnie Sterken at BonnieS@wsba.org and she will add you to our listserv so you will receive meeting details.
We hope you’ll join us and help raise funds and awareness for legal aid!
Lindy is a member of the Access to Justice Board and is a Gates Scholar in her final year at the University of Washington School of Law.
Natalia is Annual Campaign Director at the Legal Foundation of Washington and has been fundraising in Washington State since 2008.