Boys Town to Host Bowl-A-Palooza Fundraiser on Sunday
NEW ORLEANS – Raising money for a nonprofit is not much different than running a business, says Julia Turkevich, the donor specialist for Boys Town Louisiana – the regional chapter of a national organization that supports troubled children and families, regardless of their race, religion, or background.
“We have a product and we want to sell it,” she explained. “Our product is helping children and families.”
Fundraising is one of the many ways they showcase that product.
On Sunday, Boys Town Louisiana will host the 5th annual Bowl-A-Palooza at Mid-City Lanes Rock 'N' Bowl. The event takes place from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and features bowling, live music, food from local restaurants, and a silent auction. Tickets are $30 and can be purchased online.
The proceeds benefit Boys Town Louisiana’s programs and services, which impact more than 7,000 children and families. The organization is hoping to raise $30,000.
“We see this as an investment in the community,” said Turkevich. “Businesses often talk about return on investment, and so to flip that, when you talk about return on investment, and why you should donate to Boys Town, you have to measure it in ways that benefit our community. ‘How many kids are now graduating high school? How many kids are no longer homeless? How many single-parent households are no longer on food stamps?’ Those are the types of things we measure to tell donors and supporters that our organization is truly benefiting the community.”
In addition to hosting fundraisers, Turkevich says the organization relies on grants, partnerships with corporations, government contracts, and individual donors.
“There's been a lot of research recently about how fundraising is changing, and basically, it won't be sustainable unless you have multiple sources of funding,” said Turkevich. “It's really important that we engage as many community members as possible. Basically, with more people there's more power.”
Boys Town Louisiana, which is based in New Orleans, comprises about 50 staff members. Most of them are social workers who provide case management, coaching, and consulting services to children and families.
Turkevich said that she, and the Boys Town Louisiana’s director of development, are responsible for making sure the organization has the resources it needs to fulfill its mission.
“We commit 90 cents to every dollar that we fundraise to go directly to program support,” she added. “If you look at any nonprofit professional's salary, you'll see fundraising dollars certainly don't go there.”
By using positive reinforcement, Boys Town Louisiana helps at-risk youth develop coping mechanisms, healthy relationships with their peers, and life skills that will enable them to thrive.
Current foster care policies in Louisiana dictate that once a person turns 18, the state can no longer provide him or her with foster care services. But Boys Town allows adolescents to remain in the organization’s care until they graduate from high school.
“While they're living in the family homes and working with staff members, they are also learning budgeting skills,” said Turkevich. “They're learning that rewards come with good behavior.”
Suzanne Pfefferle Tafur is the associate news editor of BizNewOrleans.com.