Page 1

MARCH 2017

A STUDY OF DONOR ATTITUDES TOWARDS MAINTENANCE FUNDRAISING IN URBAN PARK NONPROFITS A PROFESSIONAL PAPER BY LINDSEY CAREY TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY


A Study of Donor Attitudes towards Maintenance Fundraising in Urban Park Nonprofits

A Professional Paper by Lindsey Carey

Submitted to the Office of Graduate Studies of Texas A&M University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of

MASTER OF SCIENCE

December, 2016

Department of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Sciences 1


A STUDY OF DONOR ATTITUDES TOWARDS MAINTENANCE FUNDRAISING IN URBAN PARK NONPROFITS

A Professional Paper by Lindsey Carey

2


ABSTRACT While social science literature consistently states that urban parks lack a sustainable stream of funding for maintenance, it is unclear whether maintenance is actively fundraised for or the status quo that “people don’t want to fund maintenance” is just accepted. The purpose of this study is to gain insight, from the perspective of different U.S. urban park conservancies, on donor attitudes towards charitable gifts being used for maintenance purposes. Additionally, this study seeks to gain knowledge about the experiences that have led conservancies to their respective conclusions and to evaluate if all U.S. urban park conservancies are having similar experiences. Twenty-one entities were interviewed via conference call in the span of two months in fall 2016, and common themes and subthemes were extracted from the transcribed data. The main themes concluded that 1.) Maintenance isn’t attractive to fund 2.) Maintenance can be capitalized on, 3.) Maintenance is necessary. Subthemes included 1.)Maintenance fees are built into projects, 2.)Terminology and framing matter 3.)Other relevant attitudes. Based on these results funding and operational implications are suggested, as well as future research.

3


ACKNOWLEDGEMENT This paper was successfully completed due to the guidance and support of several influential people. First, I would like to thank my advisor, Dr. Jamie Rae Walker, for her unwavering care and attention throughout this entire process. I say this because not only was she a phenomenal advisor academically, but professionally and emotionally. She sent me encouragement when I was discouraged and fatigued, was always open and available to talk, and provided constructive criticism that was extremely helpful in my development as a graduate student. Dr. Walker inspires me to do my best and never overlook what I have accomplished. I would also like to express my thanks to my committee member, Dr. David Scott, for his reinforcement, insightful advice, and guidance in both the process of this paper, and throughout my time as his graduate teaching assistant. He was not only my professor and boss, but a colleague and a friend during my time here. A sincere thank you goes to my second committee member, Dr. Laurie Paarlberg. She gave me wonderful insight into the nonprofit world and I enormously enjoyed both of the nonprofit courses she taught over at the Bush School. Dr. Paarlberg stimulated my admiration and curiosities about the nonprofit sector, where my post-graduation employment was found. A special thanks goes to Mrs. Cara Rudelson, C.O.O. of Memorial Park Conservancy. I cannot express enough thanks to this amazing woman for sharing her knowledge and collaborating with me with this topic, my paper, and my professional aspirations. I am also expressly grateful for her assistance in funding my research, and sending out a resounding recommendation to her contacts. Also, I would like to shout out to the entire staff at Memorial Park Conservancy for their kindness and support during my time interning there. To Dr. Schuett, thank you very much for getting me started on my professional paper and oriented as a graduate student. It has made a difference in my education and I really appreciate your assistance.

4


TABLE OF CONTENTS Page Abstract…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………i Acknowledgement ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….1 Table of Contents………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….2 Introduction………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………....3 Review of Literature………………………………………………………………………………………………………………3 Methods…………………………………………………………………………………….............................................9 Data Collection………………………………………………………………………………………………………….9 Instrument………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..11 Results………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….11 Discussion………………………..……………………………………………………………………………………………........19 Implications..…………………………………………………………………………………………………………….19 Limitations………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..21 Future Research………………………………………………………………………………………………………..21 References…………………………………………………………………………………............................................23 Appendix……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………...25

5


INTRODUCTION THE PURPOSE OF THIS STUDY WAS TO GAIN INSIGHT, FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF DIFFERENT U.S. URBAN PARK CONSERVANCIES, ON DONOR ATTITUDES TOWARDS CHARITABLE GIFTS BEING USED FOR MAINTENANCE PURPOSES. ADDITIONALLY, THIS STUDY SOUGHT TO EXPLORE THE EXPERIENCES THAT HAVE LED CONSERVANCIES TO THEIR RESPECTIVE CONCLUSIONS AND TO EVALUATE IF ALL U.S. URBAN PARK CONSERVANCIES HAD SIMILAR EXPERIENCES.LITERATURE REVIEW BENEFITS OF URBAN PARKS Urban parks and open green spaces are of great strategic importance when it comes to the quality of life in an increasingly urbanized nation (Chiesura, 2003). When operating at highest capability and well cared for, parks return value in more ways than largely acknowledged (Byers & Bonds, 2012). Urban parks purify air and water, reduce urban noise, and act as wildlife refuges for many species, which are all important environmental services. Park experiences also produce mental health benefits to visitors by reducing stress, rejuvenating the visitor, and providing a sense of peacefulness and tranquility (Chiesura, 2003). This ability of natural elements to function as “natural tranquillizers” may be particularly beneficial in urban areas where stress is an all too common aspect of daily living (van den Berg et al., 1998). Physical health benefits also result from parks, as they are great places to engage in exercises such as running, hiking, biking, yoga, etc. (Chiesura, 2003). Social benefits are another positive aspect of urban parks, as they can help foster neighborly relations and increase social 6


interaction among city dwellers (Byers & Bounds, 2012). Lastly, urban parks provide economic benefits for both municipalities and citizens by generating tax revenue, increasing property values, bringing in tourism dollars, and reducing pollution costs (Chiesura, 2003; Crompton, 1999). Overall, urban parks enhance the quality of life, making cities an attractive place to live and create families (Byers & Bounds, 2012). GENERAL FUNDING ISSUES In general, a top priority for park and recreation departments across the nation is sufficient funding (Mowen, Kyle, Borrie, & Graefe, 2006). Surveys administered by park and recreational officials consistently identify the availability and accessibility of adequate funding streams for continued sustainability as one of the largest challenges within the profession (Cromption, 1999). Historically, tax-based general funds have supported municipal park and recreation services, while only a small portion of general operations were supported by park user fees and alternative revenue streams (Pitas, Mowen, Liechty, & Trauntvein, 2015). In the 1970s, this trend changed due to the political conservatism movement that favored smaller government, resulting in diminished funding from tax-based revenue streams (Crompton & Kaczynski, 2003; Walls, 2009; Pitas et. al., 2015). This fiscal conservatism in regards to support and operation of public services remains, and in response, park and recreation administration has become financially entrepreneurial when it comes to fundraising (Pitas et. al., 2015; Mowen et. al., 2006; Walls, 2009).

7


IMPORTANCE OF PRIVATE FUNDING: Strategies that save costs and increase funding include service privatization and publicprivate partnerships (Pitas et. al., 2015) . The argument for and importance of privatization is apparent. The four main forces behind this argument are explained by Crompton (1998): 1) there is a shortage of funds that are tax-based, 2) the bureaucratic red-tape and high cost of direct service delivery makes privatization quicker and more affordable 3) it is more efficient than existing service monopolies 4) services purchased based on demand can be superior than providing identical services in house. Included in privatization is philanthropy. To provide the most effective, efficient, and positive management practices and public experiences, many parks created associated nonprofit “Friends of the Parks” groups or conservancies to help with park management (Gazley, 2015). These groups have proliferated over the past several decades in response to budget cuts and citizens taking initiative over their own local public spaces (Murray, 2008). IMPORTANCE OF FUNDRAISING Between the years of 1982 and 1997, private contributions to all 501(c)(3) nonprofits increased by 72% in real terms, while the number of nonprofits increased 128% (Thornton, 2006). Different fundraising strategies help pull scarce donor resources towards one’s own nonprofit for those that rely on private donations (Thornton, 2006). Fundraising has an overall 8


positive effect for donors and nonprofits alike (Thornton, 2006). For nonprofits, fundraising messages spread awareness and attract charitable gifts for particular programs. As a benefit to donors, these messages share valuable information that identify the nonprofits’ characteristics so donors can find their ideal charity quicker (Thornton, 2006). Data collected by the Trust for Public Land demonstrate how prevalent nonprofit funding is for public parks: 39 conservancies are listed, with spending ranging from $165,537 at Mount Vernon Place Conservancy to over $40 million at Central Park Conservancy (how to cite-from chart Jamie Rae emailed). CONSEQUENCES OF UNSUSTAINABLE MAINTENANCE FUNDING STREAMS These private partnerships are an important tool, and although they have many fundraising successes in acquiring land and conducting

“If we don’t solve this capital campaigns, many nonprofits are still seemingly maintenance problem our children won’t have safe places in trouble when it comes to a sustainable source of to play, and their generation will funds to pay for operations, maintenance, be saddled with the costs.” rehabilitation, and repair. Many focus specifically on fundraising for capital, while less effort goes to fundraising for these ongoing costs. This can have real negative consequences. Researchers in the Nonprofit Overhead Cost Study, a five year research project conducted by the Urban Institute’s National Center for Charitable Statistics and the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, examined 220,000 IRS Form 990s and conducted 1,500 in-depth surveys and found that nonfunctioning computers, untrained staff, and decrepit furniture have effects far beyond the office (Gregory & Howard, 2009). Limited overhead investment in maintenance does not allow proper tracking of program outcomes or quality services to the public and beneficiaries. (Gregory & Howard, 2009). 9


According to a September 2010 Trust for Public Land publication, 2010 City Park Facts, the 85 largest U.S. cities suffer from $6.4 billion in deferred maintenance. Peter Harnik, co‐author with Matthew Shaffer, concluded: “If we don’t solve this maintenance problem our children won’t have safe places to play, and their generation will be saddled with the costs” (Byers & Bounds, 2012). THE MAINTENANCE FUNDING MESSAGE A common message in the nonprofit world is that maintenance fundraising is very difficult. Across the nation, numerous urban cities share the experience of winning funding to expand their park systems, but struggle to obtain funding for operations and maintenance of their parks (Byers & Bounds, 2012). Maintenance funding was by far seen as the biggest challenge, according to a 2009 survey of directors of 46 of the nation’s largest local parks agencies (Byers & Bounds, 2012). Another survey asked park directors about the challenges faced and whether each one was “not a challenge,” a “minor challenge,” “significant challenge,” “major challenge,” or “huge issue;” the results of this study concluded that 65% of respondents listed having adequate funding for operations and maintenance as a “major challenge” or “huge issue” (Walls, 2014). Additionally, when asked

10


about their single largest problems, half responded with operations and maintenance, exposing a mismatch between the needs of urban parks and park funding supplied by conservancies (Walls, 2014). This is because conservancies and/or friends of the parks groups largely fundraise for capital improvements or mobilize volunteers, while ongoing needs suffer. THIS STUDIES CONTRIBUTION TOWARDS LITERATURE AND REAL WORLD APPLICATION Clearly, underfunding of maintenance is a serious problem and is worth investigating. The literature consistently demonstrates that urban parks lack a sustainable stream of funding for maintenance, but often fail to look at whether nonprofits actively fundraise for maintenance (or fail to ask for support with funding maintenance), or if they struggle because they simply accept the paradigm that maintenance fundraising is too difficult and therefore do not attempt to truly pursue it, focusing efforts on capital improvements instead. If it is indeed true that this paradigm is consistently accepted and not challenged, then is the philanthropic community receiving a disservice by assuming what their donors will not tolerate? This study investigated if some park nonprofits are indeed fundraising for maintenance successfully. If true, this myth could be debunked and successful methods brought to light. This study sought to contribute to the literature by determining if park nonprofits are specifically seeking out 11


funding for maintenance from donors, and if so, how successful they have been. In answering this research question, a practical implication and future research direction may be the identification of successful maintenance fundraising techniques. If other conservancies then replicate effective methods, some underfunding could be reduced or eliminated.

METHODS The method for collecting data to gain insight into donor attitudes towards maintenance fundraising consisted of voluntary participation in an in-depth interview via conference call.

DATA COLLECTION The participants of this study were U.S. nonprofits, specifically urban park conservancies and friends of the park groups listed in Table 1. Entities were chosen as a convenience sample, based on Cara Rudelson’s, C.O.O. of Memorial Park, contact with geographical distribution being taken into account. Twenty-four entities were emailed requesting participation in the study, with an 88% response rate; 12% did not respond to email. A total of 21 interviews (see Figure 1) were conducted via conference call, after consent was obtained, beginning on July 8, 2016, and ending on November 4, 2016. Interview questions were created after a careful review of literature and multiple discussions and collaboration with the Chief Operating Officer from Memorial Park Conservancy and two professionals from my academic institution. The 12


questions pertained specifically to the conservancy’s practice of, donor attitudes toward, and experiences gained from using charitable gifts for maintenance purposes. A transcript of the interview is included in the appendix. Responses to the interview questions were transcribed by laptop by an additional intern. No identifiers were recorded with the data, with the exception of the organizations’ names, for credibility purposes. Participants could opt out of answering any question at any time within the interview. All participants gave express permission to contact again for further information regarding responses. Post-interview emails thanked participants for their involvement. FIGURE 1.

.

13


INSTRUMENT DATA ANALYSIS Data analysis for this study followed the steps outlined by Taylor-Powell and Renner (2003) in Analyzing Qualitative Data. Data were read multiple times, some key questions were focused on, themes and subthemes were identified and organized into coherent categories, patterns and connections between categories were recognized, and then all was interpreted. From the accumulation of these key questions, three main themes emerged, along with three subthemes.

RESULTS After evaluating this first round of interview data, comments from the following three questions were classified into three main themes and three subthemes: “From [organization]’s experience, what are donor attitudes regarding charitable gifts being used for maintenance purposes?”, “How has this conclusion about donors attitudes been reached?”, and “Can you provide any examples?”. Main themes were the following: “Maintenance isn’t attractive to fund,” “Maintenance can be capitalized on,” and “Maintenance is necessary.” Subthemes included: “Maintenance fees are built into projects,” “Terminology and framing matter,” and “Other relevant attitudes.” 14


MAINTENANCE ISN’T ATTRACTIVE TO FUND At least eight of 21 conservancies made comments about donors being particularity unexcited in one way or another about maintenance, supporting the main theme that maintenance isn’t attractive to fund. Some conservancies stated that there was a lack of donors that expressed interest in maintenance funding. The following are comments made in this capacity are demonstrated in Graphic 1. Clearly, these conservancies’ experiences have led to hard-drawn conclusions that getting money for maintenance is a “hard sell,” and that rarely do donors state that they want their money to go to maintenance. Other comments, displayed in Graphic 1, indicated that donors would rather their gifts go towards tangible commodities such as capital campaigns or projects in the park. GRAPHIC 1.

In these conservancies’ experiences, donors wanted to give towards capital campaigns or projects, rather than maintenance. One stated that the donors, “want to give more to capital projects,” while another conservancy said they, “create a level of excellence,” while a third said 15


that donors, “will give their gifts to what they care about….the projects,” and a fourth commented that donors, “would rather it [their gift] go to capital campaigns.” One conservancy explained this in terms of a “dumpsters versus roses” argument: donors would rather donate to a beautiful rose garden than to pay for extra garbage cans or for a cleaning crew. Additionally, some conservancies mentioned that donors are interested in tangibles. One alleged that they, “want to see specific results and tangible improvements,” and “are concerned with selfgratifying tangibles that they can see,” while another said that they, “want their name on something.” Overall, this theme emerged as a result of the portion of conservancies that stated that donors did not view their gifts going to maintenance positively. MAINTENANCE CAN BE CAPITALIZED UPON On the other hand, a handful of conservancies experienced positivity and understanding from donors regarding maintenance, some indicating that for them, maintenance was capitalized upon. This is the second main theme that emerged. These comments are available in Graphic 2 GRAPHIC 2.

16


Fundraising for maintenance was clearly capitalized upon by at least one conservancy. This conservancy stated that, “almost all fundraising is for maintenance, it’s part of our general fundraising, it’s a major part of our message, the reason we need to raise money is to maintain the park.” Others issued comments showcasing their success, saying that fundraising for maintenance was, “easy for the development team,” that, “people responded well to this message ... [and] almost all donors are giving to maintenance,” and that when are campaigns motivated by maintenance, there were, “a few interested people who really wanted to contribute knowing that it was maintenance focused.” Lastly, for a few conservancies, donor feedback was positive. One stated that, “donors have been very receptive to our narrative about maintenance needs, there has been zero push back,” while another said that the donors who, “give us money specifically for that think it’s great.” A third conservancy talked about how donors, “that truly understand the mission ...understand there must be additional maintenance to be best in class.” Openly, these conservancies were receiving positive feedback from donors regarding maintenance. Also, these first two themes discussed were in all but one case mutually exclusive, and logically so. Those conservancies that thought maintenance fundraising to be unattractive to donors, did not receive positive feedback concerning maintenance, nor did they capitalize on it. The one exception to this said, “We have pitched for maintenance, but it was not successful, but there are a few exceptions for people that have a special connection to a certain area.” This was found to be a significant and considerable statement, with implications for evaluation.

17


MAINTENANCE IS NECESSARY The third theme was that maintenance was necessary. Although no questions addressed this specifically, a handful of conservancies supported this theme. Conservancies indicated that without basic maintenance, “nothing else matters,” and that “ongoing maintenance is critical,” and “very important.” Additionally, other conservancies said that in regards to a new project, “it is always a question of how it can be maintained,” and that projects are expected to, “have a certain amount of dedicated funds for maintenance.” Lastly, one conservancy mentioned that the parks are expected to be, “clean and taken care of.” Although not seemingly so, the theme that maintenance is necessary is significant. This study, and all of the research questions investigated, would not have implications if maintenance was not necessary and important. The importance of maintenance was not connected with any specific view of maintenance, and across the board it was recognized as imminent. MAINTENANCE FEES ARE BUILT INTO PROJECTS An additional way that maintenance funding was secured was by setting aside portions of money intended for projects, for the long-term sustainability of the asset. This was a subtheme that emerged from the interview responses. Comments about this can be found in Table 1. 18


TABLE 1. “When we have a donor come in….we think about additional operations fees that we want to include with the gift to make sure we have funds coming from somewhere to maintain [the project]. First we understand the hard cost, and then tack an additional 50% on hard costs to cover soft costs of the maintenance and operations.” “Whenever we fundraise for a park, like the landscape of an area, built into the restoration is funding for maintenance up to 3 years after the fact. As we do these kind of larger restorations, we work very closely with development team, it’s not just about giving the money for immediate restoration of seeing something but also for the after care.” “They[conservancy staff] tell them that they are going to be setting aside a percentage of their gift to maintenance and they[donors] are okay with that.” “Maintenance is very important, we assess the strengths for the plan of carrying out maintenance and we expect those types of projects to have a certain amount of dedicated funds for maintenance.” “They[donors] want to feel like their gifts are protected, so the endowments are attractive. Made the decision to start including a maintenance endowment for capital fundraising. Projects will have their own individual maintenance needs and budget. Draw only off of the interests that the money improves, idea that it will go on in perpetuity. Set aside by the conservancy, not the donors.” “In the past it[maintenance fundraising] hasn’t been great so we’ve required that there has to be an endowment that goes along with any type of new improvement or renovation.”

Both conservancies that experienced positive donor attitudes towards maintenance and negative attitudes towards maintenance commented that portions of money are set aside for projects. Although amounts vary, fees are definitely set aside. One conservancy said that they “think about additional operations fees … to make sure we have funds coming from somewhere to maintain,” while another stated that “built into the restoration is funding from maintenance up to 3 years after the fact.” A third conservancy said staff tells donors that, “that they are going to be setting aside a percentage of their gift to maintenance,” while a fourth, “required that there be an endowment that goes along with any type of new improvement or renovation.” This potentially means that this practice is successful for the park and project sustainability regardless of if the conservancy actively and successfully fundraises for maintenance.

19


TERMINOLOGY AND FRAMING MATTER The subtheme that terminology and framing matter is the most strongly supported of any theme that emerged. Although this subtheme most strongly aligns with the main theme that maintenance can be capitalized on, it was not limited to that connection. Terminology and framing proved to be the key to broadening donors’ understanding of park operations and communicating maintenance needs, clear from the comments above. The specific word “maintenance” was rebuked by multiple conservancies, while more positive terms such as “support,” “procurement,” “health,” “improvement,” and “upkeep” were given as suitable alternatives. Additionally, one conservancy mentions a “narrative,” another mentions, “positioning it,” while a third suggests that it matters, “how you frame it” so that a compelling message is constructed, and a fourth states that, “It’s all about framing a responsible organization.” A common thread seen through these comments is that the words used and the story given help donors understand the maintenance needs of the conservancy, to the point where donors can sympathize with these needs and are more willing to contribute. 20


OTHER RELEVANT ATTITUDES The last subtheme is a conglomerate of other relevant but connected attitudes, not expressed in the themes and subthemes already discussed. One such attitude that a few conservancies mentioned is that they hadn’t really done any general maintenance campaigns before. Another is that they conservancies didn’t need to fundraise for maintenance. These two attitudes were connected. Statements can be seen in Table 2. TABLE 2. “But as far as our fundraising events, we hide the maintenance parts. We haven’t done a general maintenance campaign to put a public call out for maintenance. Generally it’s a hidden thing within events and other fundraising. But we have never participated in a full-blown campaign for maintenance and operations. We are not main operations of the park, we are enhancements and above and beyond. There is definitely an expectation that the state takes care of that.” “Currently we do not fundraise for maintenance, we fundraise for programs ... The city owns the park and parks and rec maintain park.” “We don’t like to use gifts for maintenance, we only use our charitable gifts for enhancements. Maintenance is left to the city. The city owns the park. The foundation owns nothing in the park, the only thing even considered maintenance is the garden. 4% of endowment per year goes to enhancements- upgrading sound system, anything improving the facility as opposed to maintenance.” “We never solicited specifically for maintenance, except for one grant. If you find the right grant (environment, beautification) you can have success in gaining money for maintenance. We did general fundraising for park revival, and programming and maintenance was just one of several components, in that context, as a larger strategy for maintenance. I don’t know if donors would accept maintenance fundraising, because we haven’t really tried.” “Unless asking a donor to donate to something specific, like reforestation, I do not know what they would say if we just asked them to donate to maintenance. We have never asked donors to specifically donate to maintenance, so we don’t know.” “[We are a] Public private partnership, a lot of funding comes from the state, maintenance is not the biggest fundraising priority. Not necessarily prioritizing for maintenance because needs being met by the state. Most fundraising for public art, education, etc. A lot of unrestricted support goes to maintenance.” “We already have a steady source of funding for maintenance though through TIRZ.”

All of these statements are similar and connected in suggesting that maintenance fundraising is minimal or nonexistent because maintenance needs are already being met, or the

21


conservancy is not expected to meet these needs because it is not their responsibility to maintain the park.

DISCUSSION FUNDING IMPLICATIONS This body of research discovered evidence of success. This success, defined as a willingness to pay for maintenance, was evident in three distinct ways. First, some nonprofits stated donors have a specific “niche” in which they willingly give funds for maintenance to support a specific area, building, or maintenance project in the park because of a specific attachment to it. Other nonprofits stated that donors had a sophisticated understanding of conservancy needs due a compelling message or message, and willingly gave to maintenance because they supported maintenance in itself. Lastly, some nonprofits said that donors were okay with a portion of their funds going towards maintenance when in an endowment or in support of specific project of capital campaign. Success in securing funding for maintenance has the implication of supporting sustainable operations. Research indicates that success in fundraising allows for more sustainable operations and increased maintenance, not just scraping or creating deferred maintenance issues. Lastly, literature indicates that if parks are properly maintained, users will have better park experiences and support park values. Maintenance is a “catalyst” that can either make or break a user’s park experience, and impacts the positive environmental, mental, physical, social, and economical benefits they reap from the park.

22


As discussed in the literature review, available and accessible funding streams are needed. This research indicates some groups have had success. As a fundraiser, if you can identify these stipulations, then it will help you perform better on the job. Additionally, if a board of directors is questioning an organization’s methods, organization leaders can use this study to prove that other conservancies are following the same practices. Knowing the potential of an organization’s maintenance fundraising can empower and help those responsible for development of the organization.

23


LIMITATIONS The data collected in this study should be carefully interpreted because they were gathered from 21 entities, from the perspective of conservancies only. Additionally, the interviews ran only about 15-30 minutes each, potentially limiting the scope of information gathered. FUTURE RESEARCH Fundraising for maintenance was found to be successful by at least seven conservancies within the scope of this study. It is recommended that seeing and learning from these successful conservancies that had positive experiences can be tried or adopted. Therefore, it is recommended that individual conservancies explore these tactics and find what works best for their specific situation. To further comprehend this topic, it is recommended that donor and park manager perspectives be investigated, in addition to the conservancy perspective researched here. This could aid in a fuller understanding of the maintenance fundraising paradigm and prove useful to park nonprofit development personnel. Lastly, equity and agenda issues must be addressed. As parks move from public to private funding, one occurrence that is beginning to happen more frequently is that parks in affluent areas are receiving extra funding. This creates a dynamic in which those who live in wealthy areas are getting increased access to parks, choice of a wider variety of activities,

24


and benefitting from a higher level of park care and upkeep. As these parks are still spaces designed for the general public, this causes a variety of equity and agenda issues. Research should be done on this aspect of urban parks maintained by nonprofits, and how maintenance fundraising can still be equitable for all.

25


REFERENCES Bowman, W. (2006). Should donors care about overhead costs? Do they care?. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 35(2), 288-310. Byers, T., & Bounds, K. (2012). Sustaining Seattle’s Parks: A Study of Alternative Strategies to Support Operations and Maintenance of a Great Urban Parks System (pp. 1-70, Rep.) Crompton, J. L. (1999). Financing and Acquiring Park and Recreation Resources, Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics Crompton, J. L., & Kaczynski, A. T. (2003). Trends in local park and recreation department Finances and staffing from 1964-65 to 1999-2000. Journal of Park and Recreation Administration, 21(4), 124–144 Fraenkel, J. R., Wallen, N. E., & Hyun, H. H. (1993). How to design and evaluate research in education. New York: McGraw-Hill. Gazley, B. (2015). How Philanthropy Props Up Public Services and Why We Should Care. Nonprofit Quarterly. Gneezy, U., Keenan, E. A., & Gneezy, A. (2014). Avoiding overhead aversion in charity. Science, 346(6209), 632-635 Gregory, A. G., & Howard, D. (2009, November). The Nonprofit Starvation Cycle. Stanford Social Innovation Review, pp. 49-53 Lecy, J. D., & Searing, E. A. (2014). Anatomy of the Nonprofit Starvation Cycle: An Analysis of Falling Overhead Ratios in the Nonprofit Sector. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 44(3), 539-563. doi:10.1177/0899764014527175

26


Murray, Michael F., Private Management of Public Spaces: Nonprofit Organizations and Urban Parks (May 1, 2008). Harvard Environmental Law Review, Vol. 34, p. 179, 2010. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1338583 Thornton, Jeremy. "Nonprofit fund-raising in competitive donor markets."Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly 35, no. 2 (2006): 204-224. Walls, M. (2009). Parks and recreation in the United States: Local park systems. Washington, D.C.: Resources for the Future. Walls, M. (2014, January). Private Funding of Public Parks: Assessing the Role of Philanthropy. Resources for the Future. Retrieved September 20, 2016

27


APPENDIX 1. Consent Email. June 21, 2016 Dear _______, My name is Lindsey Carey and I am currently working as an intern at the Memorial Park Conservancy in Houston, Texas. As part of my internship I am learning about donor willingness to provide charitable gifts to support maintenance purposes. As a parks nonprofit organization, [enter nonprofit name here] is in an ideal position to share valuable, firsthand information from an organizational perspective. Thus, I would appreciate it if you would consider participating in a brief phone conversation before November 4th at a time that would be most convenient for you. The discussion should only take 30 minutes of your time and the questions will focus on [enter nonprofit name here] and not you personally. All participants will receive a copy of my project brief in the spring. Your participation would be a valuable addition to my internship and learning experience and would be greatly appreciated. Please let me know if you are able to participate and when it would be best to schedule a conference call. Sincerely, Lindsey Carey Intern, Memorial Park Conservancy 7575 N. Picnic Loop lindseyecarey@gmail.com, (512) 639.8359

2. Interview Transcript

28


Goodmorning/Goodafternoon, This is Lindsey Carey, I am an intern for Memorial Park Conservancy. First, I

would like to thank you for your interest and for participating in my internship project. This should only take at most 30 minutes of your time and again the questions will focus on [enter nonprofit name here] and not you personally. I will have a fellow intern in the room during the call taking notes so I can converse with you better. So, if you are ready, we can get started now.How many working staff members does _________ (organization name) have? 1.

What is the annual operating budget of _________ (organization name)?

2.

What percentage of your operating budget is made up of charitable gifts?

3.

What percentage of charitable gifts are restricted (for certain purposes)?

4.

Does _________ (organization name) receive any type of charitable gifts that can be used or is used for maintenance? * For the purposes of this interview we will define maintenance as: any activities that keep park and recreation areas and facilities in their intended state including routine, recurring work; major and minor repair work; and minor construction work. Warren, R., Rea, P., & Payne, S. (2007). Park and recreation maintenance management. Champaign, IL: Sagamore Pub

IF YES… Are the funds for maintenance restricted specifically for maintenance or combined?

IF NO… Has __ attempted to pursue donor-based funding to use towards maintenance?

IF COMBINED…

IF RESTRICTED?

If NO…

If YES…

With what other category is it combined? Why is it combined into these categories? From __’s experience what are donor’s attitudes regarding charitable gifts being used for maintenance purposes? Can you provide any examples? How has this conclusion about donor’s attitudes been reached?

Why was funding for maintenance restricted to a category of its own? Has this worked out for y’all? From __’s experiences what are donors’ attitudes regarding charitable gifts being used for maintenance purposes? Can you provide any examples? How has this conclusion about donor’s attitudes been reached?

Are there any specific reasons why ___ has not attempted to pursue donor-based funding to use towards maintenance? Can you provide any examples?

What were the outcomes? What types of limitations or barriers did ___ experience? What types, if any, of reaction or feedback did ___ receive? Can you provide any examples? Would you proceed differently in the future?

5.

Do you have any other additional comments? If you think of anything post this interview, please do not hesitate to email me.

29


30

Donor Attitudes Toward Maintenance Fundraising in Urban Parks  

Prepared by Lindsey Carey, 2016 Intern

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you