March 28, 2017
 
Interfaith Social Services Gets Record $100K from Gala Event

December 24, 2012 — Interfaith Social Services, a nonreligious multi-service center that serves families and individuals on the South Shore, announced that it raised more than $100,000 at its recent gala celebrating its sixty-fifth anniversary, surpassing all previous similar efforts.

“If you want a good gala, you need a good committee,” said Rick Doane, executive director of Quincy-based Interfaith Social Services (ISS). “And this year we had two great co-chairs who worked very hard, harder than anyone else.”

Serving as co-chairs were Ally Donnelly, reporter for NECN, and Greg Wallingford, a financial consultant with New England Schooner, Inc.

“Ally and Greg took us to the next level. They brought people to the event who wanted to be involved,” Doane said. “Many of them have already said they want to do more with us next year.”

Last year, the gala raised $63,000 from just under 300 attendees. This year’s event, held at the Granite Links Golf Club in Quincy, drew more than 550 people.

In addition, Doane said, the planning committee worked closely with corporate sponsors, making them part of the planning process, which enabled ISS to develop a closer relationship with sponsors.

Since 2007, demand on the organization, which operates the largest food pantry on the South Shore, has nearly doubled – from 10,000 people served in 2007 to 18,000 this year.

While his budget has increased during that time, that increase has been modest, he said, due to greater reliance on volunteers, who do everything from answering phones to writing grants. ISS employs two full-time and four part-time staff.

In addition, Doane has reduced the number of fundraisers, which has had the effect of increasing the amount of funds ISS raises.

“When I came into the organization four years ago, we were very event heavy,” said Doane. “We had nine fundraisers during the year and I said it was way too much on our staff, and we were seeing diminishing returns.”

He eliminated a golfing event and a number of other fundraisers and now focuses on the December gala and a walk-a-thon in the spring.

Apparently the strategy works. According to Doane, the 2012 walk-a-thon raised twice as much as in previous years when ISS held more fundraising events.

“It took some convincing to bring some people on our board to this approach, but it has let us focus more on our mission,” said Doane. “Individual giving has triple since I took over.”

Fundraising accounts generates about one-fifth of the ISS’s annual revenues, and the gala generates about 25% of the organization’s annual fundraising total.

Founded in 1947, ISS last year helped more than 25,000 local residents with emergency food assistance, homelessness prevention, and mental health counseling, and distributed more than 500,000 pounds of food last year to families and individuals in Braintree, Cohasset, Hingham, Holbrook, Hull, Milton, Quincy, Randolph, Scituate, and Weymouth.

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