Association Forum Teams Up with Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation

The campaign has raised thousands of dollars to provide meals for healthcare workers.

By Kim Kelly, CAE

FRM MayJun Online Cares Campaign

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed so much in our daily lives. Living rooms have turned into offices, kitchen tables are now homeschooling centers, and even buying groceries has become an online hunt for delivery windows. Yet while many of us stay home to ride out the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare workers are still leaving their homes every day to battle the pandemic and provide care where it’s needed most.

These workers were top-of-mind for the staff of Association Forum when they launched a campaign to provide meals to healthcare workers at Chicago-area hospitals. “Chicago is the largest market for healthcare and medical associations,” noted Michelle Mason, FASAE, CAE, president & CEO of Association Forum. “This means our members’ members are on the frontline of the COVID-19 crisis.”

Association Forum put out a call to members for fundraising ideas. Naturally, the need for proper protective equipment (PPE) was a top priority. But after some research, the staff decided that this was not the best way to leverage Association Forum’s resources. “We wanted to make the most impact with the resources we had,” said Sarah Murphy, CAE, director of marketing & membership. Securing PPE would take time and resources that weren’t available to the team at Association Forum, so they decided to use their network to fill an immediate need.

The GoFundMe campaign will remain open through the pandemic. Click here to view the campaign and donate.

“We did some research and decided to partner with the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation to provide meals to healthcare workers,” said Murphy. Founded by the Chicago Cubs first baseman, the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation provides support to patients and the families of those battling pediatric cancer. In light of the pandemic, the foundation was already providing individually wrapped meals to healthcare workers at local hospitals.

The meals are purchased from local restaurants, which creates another avenue for supporting the community. Each meal costs between $15-20, and an entire shift can be fed for approximately $1,500. Association Forum’s staff set a goal to feed two shifts and created a GoFundMe page with an initial goal of $3,000.

“We launched the campaign with a call to our Board of Directors and volunteers,” said Murphy. From there, they began to market the GoFundMe page to the association community at large. Knowing how life-changing the pandemic has been and the strain it has put on businesses, the team wasn’t sure how well a fundraising effort would be at this time. But within hours of launching the campaign, they’d hit their goal of $3,000. “The association community never ceases to amaze me,” said Murphy.

At the time of publication, the campaign has raised more than $8,600. “This is a clear demonstration of the altruistic values of the Chicagoland association community,” says Mason. Association Forum’s efforts have already fed more than 600 healthcare workers and the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation thanked them on Twitter:

It’s been more than 100 years since the world has seen a pandemic of this magnitude, so most of us can’t remember such a time. But Association Forum, as a community and as a vital network of organizations, was there. For more than 100 years, Association Forum, and associations like it, have stood the test of time. This too shall pass, but not without struggle and not without the good work of associations. #WEareForum

How to Swiftly Launch a Successful Fundraiser
Most associations are skilled at leveraging their members and donors for financial contributions. While your foundation team probably has strategies years in the making, the response to a pandemic must happen swiftly. Below are several tips, provided by Sarah Murphy, CAE, Association Forum’s director of marketing & membership, for quickly launching a fundraiser.
1. Be mindful of timeliness. The pandemic quickly changed the face of the world, meaning Association Forum had to respond fast to make the most difference. Find a need that can be met, but also be careful that your work will still be relevant by the time the funds are delivered.
2. Strive to make the largest impact. You can do this by assessing your own resources and resources found within your community. This was a critical component to Association Forum’s decision to not chase down masks for healthcare workers and instead provide meals.
3. Consider efficiency in operations. Partnering with the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation was a key win for this campaign. Association Forum was able to leverage its community and market the campaign, but without the heavy lifting of processing donations, securing and delivering meals.

About the Author

Kim Kelly, CAE, is the owner of Kim Kelly Consulting.

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