They did it. The United Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Barbara County fundraising campaign surpassed their goal and raised $323,000 as of Monday morning — deadline day — according to CEO Michael Rattray.
He thanked the donors, the Board of Directors, staff, advocates and families for getting the message out rising up to meet — and beat — the 60-day fundraising goal of $300,000.
The clubs will use the money to pay back short-term loans and build up a rainy-day fund to get through leaner months, which has been a problem in the past few years. But it won’t be enough to grow the organization quite yet, Rattray said.
There used to be an endowment fund and reserves, but the clubs are struggling, as are many other nonprofit organizations, with diminished donations.
The campaign was a stopgap measure to help with cash-flow problems and to keep the many programs open, including the four clubhouses: Carpinteria at 4849 Foothill Road, Goleta at 5701 Hollister Ave., Lompoc at 1025 W. Ocean Ave. and Santa Barbara West at 602 W. Anapamu St.
It’s unprecedented success for the Boys & Girls Clubs for an annual fundraising campaign. Before Rattray came on board, they pulled in about $50,000, and he said his first attempt in 2010 was a dud. They were using PowerPoint slides and only beginning to focus on the achievement gap and empowering staff members.
“I spent $5,000 on mailings, and in 60 days we got $7,000,” Rattray said. “I mean, it was a disaster.”
Now, the clubs have measurable successes and the data to prove it, which is a game-changer for fundraising. He said they’re more successful because parents, teachers and donors recognize the importance of the programs and the positive results.
“We’re making a difference in kids’ lives. We have the data; it’s not just us in a secret vacuum that know this either,” Rattray said. “I had only done that one flop, so this is just over the top. We’re overwhelmed with the generosity that’s bestowed upon us.”
“I always dreamed to have an angel, and our angel fell in our lap with just a phone call,” Rattray said of the anonymous donor, a man who hadn’t supported Boys & Girls Clubs in the past.
Many individuals and foundations in Santa Barbara County contributed as well, with a lot of new faces.
“I think we had at least 75 donors, and about 90 percent of the donors who wrote checks in this campaign are new to us — that’s exciting,” Rattray said.
He added that donations from foundations and businesses make up more than 50 percent of the clubs’ revenues, so they rely heavily on that consistency.
The United Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Barbara County serve about 5,000 young people per year and have seen a 10 percent growth in demand over the last year, Rattray had told Noozhawk. Of the families served, 70 percent are at or below the federal poverty level of $22,350 for a family of four. Many of the clubs’ after-school programs focus on education and closing the achievement gap, but the goal is to help children become successful and well-rounded.
Membership fees are subsidized by funders and individual donations, which keeps the annual fee for children ages 5 to 18 at just $20. It costs the organization $700 per child each year.