Opinion

EDITORIAL: Hoping to extend Harvest season

For non-profits like the Harvest Project, donation patterns typically follow a hockey stick graph. That is, a straight line with a sharp upward curve at one end that indicates the month or two each holiday season when charitable dollars and donations typically roll in. Of course the need for programs, food and clothing at the Harvest doesn’t change much throughout the year. Ditto for the non-profit’s fixed costs.

In order to bridge that donor dip in the spring and summer months, the Harvest is coming up with innovative fundraising initiatives and actively seeking to expand its donor segment.

For two decades, the Harvest has received strong support from North Shore households, businesses and organizations, but in order to best serve its clients and plan for the future it wants greater financial security. Plus, it needs to pay off the construction costs for its new digs at 1073 Roosevelt Crest, a spot that will offer more space for clients and costs less rent than the old location at Bewicke in the long run.

The Harvest’s spring/summer fundraising goal is $65,000.

North Shore residents and businesses can help by “attending” the Harvest’s inaugural Spring into Summer Un-Gala.

Un-Gala? Here’s how it works: You buy a $25 ‘ticket’ from harvestproject.org or by dropping by the charity, but you don’t have to get your tux dry-cleaned because there’s no actual gala event.

The $25 is a tax-deductible donation to the Harvest.

The un-gala idea was hatched after Kevin Lee, the non-profit’s development officer, was discussing potential fundraising initiatives with a pair of charity supporters from West Vancouver. One said the last thing he and his wife would want to do is attend another gala fundraiser. So, the idea of the “un-gala” was born. Along with saving donors time, it also saves the cost of throwing a gala. No venue, no catering, no band. Along with the individual tickets, organizations and groups can purchase a table for $200.

Still not sure about not attending the Un-Gala? Here’s something to think about. In a recent news release, Gary Ansell, executive director of the Harvest Project, noted that single parents with young children are now the most frequent clients using the non-profit’s services.

“Our Spring into Summer appeal recognizes that these children and families are especially at risk during the summer months when many of our donors are away on vacation and our funds diminish.”

And better financial footing going into summer, he noted, “will enable a continued delivery of life-changing help to North Shore residents who need assistance during that time.”

Lee says a virtual event is a new concept for most donors, but the hope is this initiative will help the Harvest get through its annual summer shortfall. “Nobody has to go anywhere. You can stay at home and think about the Harvest,” he says.

Virtual tickets to the Harvest’s Spring into Summer Un-Gala are available until May 31. For more information or to purchase a ticket or table, go to harvestproject.org.

—The Outlook

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