Chief Development Officer Brings New Strategies for Donor Development

“We need to build!”

So says Susan Bean, CFRE, Sound’s Chief Development Officer. Sue’s experience gives her a clear focus on the donor experience.  She brings to Sound 25 years of fundraising work — decades raising money for foundations, spearheading capital campaigns for organizations large and small in the nonprofit sector.

“We have a small cadre of dedicated donors, but we need to reach out. We need to share our story, to show the impact that we have in the community, and to underscore the enormous need that still exists.”

The need to grow Sound’s donor base inspired Sue and her small team to create strategies based on three new fundraising initiatives: supporting behavioral health outreach in the schools, helping to resolve homelessness, and the Sound Safety Net for clients who do not have resources to cover Sound’s services.

To achieve these aims, a focused effort around meeting donors and sharing the impact of Sound’s work, “Meet Sound” events and Sound “House Parties” will take place.

“Meet Sound” will be a series of events that will provide an opportunity for members of the community to learn more about Sound’s programs and the people it serves. Members of Sound’s board of directors and leadership will reach out to friends who may not be familiar with the organization and invite them to meet at a Sound location. During the “Meet Sound” event, in a casual group setting, guests will take facility tours, hear presentations from program experts and have the opportunity to meet with Sound clients.  These meetings will form the basis of longer-term relationship building for the organization.

The second initiative, “House Parties,” is based on the concept of “Jeffersonian Dinners,” small gatherings designed to share ideas about challenging social issues. The objective is to convene a group of interested individuals, some of whom may already know one another, in a home or private dining room for an evening of food, learning and shared conversation with a purpose.

Bringing in experts in the focus subject, the group will learn about and discuss the issue at hand. At the current time, there are two such events lined up: one that was already held on March 29 at the Broadmoor home of Anne and Joe Baldwin (Anne is program director for Sound’s Deaf Services), which focused on behavioral health and homelessness. The next event will be held in September at the Mercer Island home of Sound Chief Medical Officer, Mary Bartels, MD.  These “House Parties” will educate and inspire potential donors, and encourage them to help support Sound programs.

Bean noted that we have created a printed case for support document, which will frame the work of Sound and emphasize key areas where the organization can make a significant impact with community support.

“Sound is a comprehensive and far-reaching organization,” notes Bean. “We have a breadth of programs, and this document will help us provide an overview of the current organization and focus on our three key areas of need.”

Our goal is to “make the case” for Sound, elevating conversations about the role the organization plays in addressing tough behavioral health issues and ways our partners can help Sound tackle these issues. The centerpiece will be several inspiring stories from Sound clients, humanizing their struggles and successes. We plan to also deliver clear, concise information about the organization and three of its key programs: Sound Safety Net, a program designed to support people who are unable to qualify for Medicaid or private insurance; programs that support resolving homelessness; and Sound’s school-based programs. Bean hopes that it will be a strong takeaway for anyone seeking to help the underserved in our region, providing a roadmap of pathways to support particular programs or our work in general.

“The most important thing we need to do is provide opportunities for new donors to support our work,” concludes Bean. She plans to make strides towards this goal in 2018.