Allow me to inform you about what I do believe is one of the very most successful charities of most time. It is an organization that has a household name, a trademark event and has over the years re-invented itself many times…helping an incredible number of children, including my youngest daughter. It is the March of Dimes.
Polio was one of the very most dreaded illnesses of the 20th century, and killed or paralyzed tens of thousands of Americans during the first half of the 20th century. President Franklin D. Roosevelt founded the March of Dimes whilst the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis on January 3, 1938. Roosevelt himself was paralyzed with what was considered to be polio. The initial intent behind the Foundation was to raise money for polio research and to take care of those suffering from the disease. It began with a radio appeal, asking everyone in the nation to contribute a cent (10 cents) to fight polio.
“March of Dimes” was originally the name of the annual fundraising event held in January by the Foundation and was coined by entertainer Eddie Cantor as a play on the favorite newsreel feature of the day, The March of Time. Over time, the name “March of Dimes” became synonymous with that of the charity and was officially adopted in 1979.
For nearly 2 full decades, the March of Dimes provided support for the work of many innovative and practical polio researchers and virologists. Then, on April 12, 1955 the Poliomyelitis Vaccine Evaluation Center at the University of Michigan announced to the entire world that the polio vaccine manufactured by Dr. Jonas Salk was safe and effective.
The organization, as opposed to going out of business, decided in 1958 to make use of its charitable infrastructure to serve mothers and babies with a brand new mission: to prevent premature birth, birth defects and infant mortality. And it has served them well. Its decade long campaign to educate women of child-bearing years about folic acid has reduced spinal tube defects by seventy-five percent teach to one. Now it has considered the matter of pre-maturity; that my very own youngest child suffered. I am sure they will be just like successful as they’ve been with polio and birth defects.
Their success has a whole lot to show small charities concerning the significance of brand/reputation and mission. They’ve re-invented themselves; just like small charities must often do. A broader mission lets you successfully do that.
With over a quarter of a century of leadership and fundraising experience, Terri is passionate about helping small charities (those with significantly less than 250K income) achieve big results. She happens to be completing an e-course on leadership, management and fundraising for charities. By completing the course, charities will acquire all the basic tools and skills to boost their fundraising capacities, including trusts, major donors and corporate partnerships. To discover more about this e-course or for monthly newsletters, visit her blog BLISS-Charities.