We are facing changes – changes in living with HIV, changes in the treatment of HIV, changes in how HIV services are funded – and because of this, we too need to change.
Dear PWA Clients, Community Partners, Donors, Staff and Volunteers,
For 30 years, we’ve been a place for practical and therapeutic support, a place to connect to community services and a place to give back and be a part of a community. We’ve emerged from a passionate call by a small group of people living with HIV/AIDS sitting around a kitchen table 30 years ago to become a leader in HIV programs and services in Canada.
What has made all of this possible is the enormous contribution by people – our clients, volunteers, staff, community partners, and our individual and corporate donors. Every year, our donors generously give $2 million– two/thirds of our $3 million budget (the remaining $1 million coming from the government). Without their support, we could not offer our practical and therapeutic support or be a place of connection and community.
This year, due to changes in government funding priorities and lower participation in our signature fundraising event, we have had to make some program cuts, specifically in Financial Assistance, and in our Holistic Engagement and cooking workshops. We have also had to lay-off staff, Nick Papadogiannis, our Holistic Engagement Coordinator; Roy Schuurhuis, our Food Programs Liaison; and Stafford Henry, our Executive Assistant.
To safeguard our core services and prevent future cuts, we’ve created a strategic response to address our fundraising needs: investing in our fundraising resources in order to diversify and maximize our fundraising efforts. Backed by our Board of Directors, a Fund Development Review was conducted by an external Fundraising expert to evaluate and offer concrete recommendations on how we can be more effective in our fundraising initiatives and activities. Of the key recommendations, we identified four top priorities to diversify and maximize our fundraising efforts:
- Create a Corporate Sponsorship Program for the entire agency – We have amazing programs that match the giving values and priorities of many corporations in Canada. A sponsorship program will enable us to find the corporations that match our values and who want to invest in our services.
- Create a Planned Giving Program – This program would assist people who want to leave money to PWA in their wills. Over the years, we have received many generous gifts from individuals who have included PWA in their wills. These donations have made a tremendous impact on our agency.
- Purchase a smart donor database – A smart, effective donor database would enable us to deeply understand who donates to PWA so we can better match our fundraising efforts with how our donors want to contribute.
- Create a new Bike Rally and sponsorship manager position – Currently our three fundraising staff is responsible for raising $2 million annually. This is an incredible achievement, but we need to raise even more money each year. In order to raise more money, we need more staff. This new manager will help us implement our fundraising priorities.
In my humble opinion, PWA is a beautiful place that does incredible work providing critical services people living with HIV/AIDS need and value. After 30 years, PWA remains as relevant and vital as when our founders created it. We will see that it stays that way.
Yes, we face many changes, and we will meet the changes the way we have always done, by offering relevant services that people need and by engaging with our community. But we will do this in new ways with a determined focus to invest in PWA so that we will remain a place of connection, support and engagement for people living with HIV/AIDS.
If you have any questions and would like more information, please join me in the upcoming weeks for an information session on the investments in fundraising and the changes to services. Or, you are welcome to call or email me at (416) 506-1400 ext. 204 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Together we make a positive difference.
Interim Executive Director