Department of Recreation And Parks: Implement Comprehensive Fundraising Strategy


Problem Identification:
The limited availability of General Fund resources to support ongoing operations increases the importance and necessity of the Department’s external fundraising efforts.

Recommended Action:
Augment the Department’s grants staff to increase third party revenue streams.

Revenue Enhancement

Functional/Operational Area:
All Departmental Operations

Estimated Annual Impact:

While the immediate financial impact cannot be estimated, given the Department’s minimal past fundraising efforts a goal of an additional $1,000,000 through independent financial support is aggressive, but not unreasonable.

Estimated Implementation Costs:
Cannot be Estimated

Barriers to Implementation:

Professional fundraising capabilities appear to be in short supply within the Department.

Projected Implementation:

90 days

Next Steps:

Pursue opportunities to redeploy existing staffing resources to increase the Department’s fundraising efforts. Additionally, consider retaining a professional fundraising consultant on a contingency fee basis.

The future success of the Department will be closely linked to its ability to generate revenues independent of its annual General Fund budget. Numerous recommendations throughout this report acknowledge this premise and suggest strategies to increase the Department’s success in enhancing existing revenues and creating new revenue streams. The Department has taken initial steps in this area, including the hiring of a full time grant writer, but a more comprehensive and far-reaching plan of action is needed.

An effectively managed Department could have wide appeal to a variety of funding sources. Youth development, crime reduction, after-school programs, and the protection of open spaces are just a sampling of the Department’s programmatic areas that are attractive candidates to potential funders. A comprehensive strategy to augment the Department’s fundraising efforts might also include an annual gala fundraising event similar to the Baltimore Zoo’s successful ZOOMERANG.

As reflected in the ‘Barriers to Implementation’ section of this recommendation template, the Department probably does not possess the in-house expertise and capability to accomplish the implementation of this recommendation. This reality might necessitate the retention of a professional fundraiser for the Department to realize its full fundraising capabilities. If this option is pursued, the professional consultant could be paid a percentage of new revenues generated so the Department could avoid incurring significant contractual costs without assurances of success.