Why Are We Hounding You?

2012-09-14 17:17:02.000 – Cara Rudio,  Marketing and Communications Manager

We need your help!

As you know from our website, emails, and Facebook posts, the Observatory is currently competing in the 2012 Chase Community Giving contest.

What you might not know is why an institution like ours has decided to participate in a national contest of this scale. Indeed, the reaction I’ve heard from many acquaintances is “why the heck are you even bothering with this? Isn’t it a shot in the dark?”

In a word, no.

Let me explain. As a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit institution, our funding is derived from a variety of sources: membership dues, donations, fundraising events, corporate sponsorships, grants, educational programs, retail sales, and research contracts. As you can imagine, in a fiscal environment like the one we are currently experiencing, sponsorships, grants, and charitable gifts especially have become increasingly difficult to come by – particularly for a scientific institution. (During times of economic difficulty, statistics show an increase in giving to charities that provide social and medical services, and a decrease in giving to charities such as ours that solve less visceral, immediate social problems.) True, providing food and shelter is a dire need in our society, and we support the charities who provide those important services, but that does not lessen the need for education, research, and increasing our awareness of the weather and climate that dictates our lives and livelihoods, impacting everything from agriculture to foreign policy.

For those not familiar with nonprofit management, a typical grant application process involves significant staff time, involving many steps in several operating areas. Sometimes these efforts pay off, resulting in a grant of some amount. Other times, they do not, and we are back to square one, seeking out and embarking upon another grant application.

When we were contacted to participate in the Chase Community Giving Contest, we were rightly incredulous. At first blush, it seemed as though the odds were against us. But after researching the statistics from past contests, it became increasingly clear that we were good contenders – that we stood an excellent shot at winning a higher-level grant.

At press time, we are in 52nd place, firmly in the $20,000 grant category, but just below the $50,000 category. For a point of reference, $50,000 represents enough funding to support our classroom outreach efforts for a year; enough funding to buy food for the weather station for an entire year, with money left over to put fuel in the snow cat; enough funding to cover free admission to our Weather Discovery Center museum for a year, so we may continue providing this educational experience to the community barrier-free.

$50,000 represents more income than our spring fundraising event, more income than our fall fundraising event, and more income than an average fundraising or membership drive.

$50,000 is a game-changing amount of funding for a small institution like ours, and it is funding that can be derived simply through a few clicks of a mouse by our members and fans. Just a few clicks of a mouse.

I apologize for the length of this post, but I hope it helps explain why we have been asking you all so relentlessly for your help. This is one rare chance when you really and truly can have a lasting impact on a legendary New Hampshire institution. This contest will be won or lost by a matter of just a few votes so… Your vote counts. We hope we can count on you!

Please, cast your vote, then ask your friends and family to do the same. But don’t delay – the contest ends on Wednesday.

With your support, we can secure a significant grant for our work on Mount Washington.

Thank you!


Cara Rudio,  Marketing and Communications Manager

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