NPO 034: Growing your Funding Base (Stacy Horst, Erin's Hope for Friends)


Today's Guest: Stacy Horst
Mrs. Horst is a licensed Real Estate Consultant with Keller Williams. In addition to owning her own Real Estate Firm she has many professional certifications. Most importantly Mrs. Horst has served in multiple roles for non-profit organizations (Civic and Faith Based); most notably she was Director for CAP (Child Assault Prevention) in Medina Ohio. 

Nonprofit Spotlight: Erin's Hope for Friends
Erin’s Hope for Friends is a non-profit organization on a mission to create lasting relationships through joyful interactions for High Functioning Autism Spectrum (HFAS) teens & young adults. Erin’s Hope for Friends believes that extending kids with HFAS and Asperger’s the opportunity to form friendships can do just that—change their lives.

Lessons Learned:
In our conversation, Stacy shares her experience of founding Erin's Hope for Friends and how she's helped build it in these first four years. Some of the key lessons she has learned through her work are outlined below: 

  1. First steps in setting up their nonprofit:

    1. Spoke with the medical professionals to review their concept and get feedback. Their areas of focus were:

      1. Type of space, colors, noise level, etc.

      2. Kinds of games to playon what was necessary to create the right kind of space.

    2. Initial fundraiser was connected to Erin's birthday.

    3. Then began planning for the larger dream-- having E's Clubs around the country.

  2. Recognizing new needs:

    1. They're starting a young adult program for high school graduates. Erin's Hope for Friends recognized this through their own program participants AND through inquiries/feedback on their website.

    2. Other inquiries come through their website that they can't meet right now, but it gives them ideas for future opportunities or at least recognizing additional needs that exist in the community.

  3. Fundraising-- it's important to come out of your comfort zone.

    1. Find the people who have the same passion. They don't need to be the ones to give you the money, but it's important to have those people to support you and talk through your pitch with you.

    2. How to find new opportunities:

      1. Listen to other people's advice about who else to reach out to or how to reach new donors.

      2. Keep your ears and eyes open! On social media, the radio, or tv-- you'll find new opportunities that you can seek out.

      3. Be diligent! Do the research, talk to everyone at your networking events, share your passion. It might not lead to a direct donations, but can lead to a new opportunity.

    3. Stacy's tips for asking for money--

      1. Believe in what you're asking for.

      2. Face to face is the best way to do it. People can see your passion that way.

      3. Email and mailers work best with people who are already in relationship with you, but that doesn't work to engage new people.

      4. Have a set pitch.

        1. Stacy's is: "I'm not trying to sell you anything, but can I tell you about my nonprofit?"

        2. Approach from a relational standpoint... wanting to tell people about what you do. Are there ways that this individual is connected to the mission.

        3. After time, then identify opportunities for financial support.

    4. Businesses

      1. Not a particular type of business or a specific person within the business, but it's all about relationships.

      2. Who is connected to your mission? Can they serve as the advocate for your organization with the financial decision makers at the company?

      3. In-kind donations, such as attorney time, are also a great way for businesses to be supportive to the organization.

  4. National Charity League: They are a group of mothers and daughters who have a goal of volunteering with different nonprofits.

    1. You can find out more about this opportunity here:

Find Erin's Hope for Friends online:

Consultation Offer!

Could you benefit from a 30 minute phone conversation with another nonprofit professional to brainstorm or work through an idea? Or have you ever thought about having a podcast for your nonprofit? If you answered yes to either of these questions, click the link below to learn more!