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Report from the Board:
Fundraising for LLLI

Nan Jolly, Lynne Coates, and Susan Deo
LLLI Board of Directors
From: LEAVEN, Vol. 39 No. 6, December 2003 - January 2004, pp. 122, 141.

The word "nonprofit" can be misleading. It doesn't mean that a nonprofit organization can't-or shouldn't be-make a profit. It means that the profit made must be funneled into the purpose and mission of the organization; returned to the "public" so to speak. As with many nonprofit organizations around the world today, LLLI is struggling financially. In this article, we will take a closer look at LLLI income.

More than 75 percent of our income is earned primarily through memberships and sales of publications. The remaining 25 percent comes from contributions. Many of our donors are LLL members, Leaders, Groups, and other friends of LLL, which is not surprising because people give to organizations that they care about.

Currently, individual donors give about 95 percent of the funds donated to LLLI. (Corporations and foundations give the remaining five percent.) Our donors are people with a passion for helping LLLI support mothers and babies! Many individual contributions come in response to regular appeal letters. Updating our mailing lists is essential. The Board received a helpful suggestion from a Leader that Groups and Areas share names of potential donors with LLLI so we can add them to the LLLI database for future appeal letters.

While the major part of our donations will always come from friends of LLL, we are striving to increase grant funding from foundations and other agencies (e.g. government, international). The LLLI Funding Development Department is searching for potential grant opportunities and welcomes volunteers to help seek more funds this way. We deeply appreciate the efforts of Leaders who have applied for grants on behalf of LLLI.

Another place to look for funds for LLLI is from companies whose objectives are compatible with ours by forming relationships that benefit both LLLI and the company.

The support to LLLI can come from donations, sponsorships (such as prizes for the World Walk), advertising in LLL publications, royalties from the use of the LLLI name/logo, and other possibilities. Several Leaders have suggested to the Board that LLLI focus on health and/or life insurance companies-an obvious tie-in with the increased health benefits of breastfeeding.

What helps the LLLI budget also helps other parts of the organization, and vice versa. We can all learn from each other! Some examples of how parts of LLL help the LLLI budget:

  • Groups ordering products from LLLI and paying their bills to LLLI promptly.
  • LLL Areas, Affiliates, Divisions, Chapters, and Groups finding creative ways to assist Leaders in their work and continuing education, and at the same time, helping support LLLI; for example, LLL of Northern California/Hawaii offered one-day registration scholarships to the 2003 LLLI Conference in San Francisco to 24 Area Leaders.
  • The Mathieu Chazelle fund, established by the International Division, collected donations to help pay the expenses of 30 Leaders from around the world to attend the 2003 LLLI Conference.
  • The Breastfeeding Resource Marketplace is creating a way for people who wish to do projects that will make La Leche League philosophy real in the world to communicate with potential donors. The Marketplace accepts donations and business plans for potential projects. For more information, visit the new Breastfeeding Resource Marketplace Web site at
  • Lucy Shares, a project of the Breastfeeding Resource Marketplace, had its debut at the LLLI Conference. Leaders were thrilled to create wish lists of publications for their local Groups and/or make donations of funds or books to Groups in need around the world. For more information about this project, see the Breastfeeding Resource Marketplace Web site (above).

Following the March 2003 LLLI Board of Directors meeting, the Board reported to the LLLI community about the current financial status of LLLI, and asked for suggestions for increasing our income. Many Leaders wrote to us with creative ideas-thank you! The suggestions included ideas for increasing financial effectiveness of current revenue-generating activities as well as ideas for new enterprises and ways of increasing contributions. Some of the ideas may be implemented by the office in Schaumburg, and some may be implemented by other parts of LLLI-Areas, Groups, and special projects.

Here are some of the fundraising ideas we received:

  • Donate through Internet purchases (see sidebar on the shopping mall on page 133)
  • Provide more information about and encourage the opportunity for donors to make bequests to LLL
  • More active pursuit of matching grants through employers or other companies
  • Royalty income from bank checks and mailing labels printed with the LLLI logo
  • Provide (for a fee) online education services through which Leaders (and perhaps lactation consultants and other health professionals) can earn continuing education credits
  • A car donation program where funds from the sale of donated automobiles are donated to LLLI (for more information see
  • LLLI link to the Breastfeeding Awareness Campaign in the US (see article on page 51 of June-July 2003 Leaven), perhaps with a symbol that could become synonymous with breastfeeding, such as selling a pin of a golden double bow
  • Increase awareness of the Combined Federal Campaign in the US, which enables federal employees to ask that a donation to the charity of their choice be deducted from their paycheck
  • Provide (for a fee) diaper services at Conferences and other events

What is the role of the LLLI Board in fundraising? It is our responsibility to see that LLLI has the resources it needs to pursue our mission. All members of the Board make at least yearly donations to LLLI. The Board ensures that our resources are used most efficiently and effectively in the office in Schaumburg, Illinois, USA. A Board committee, Resource Development, advises the Board on matters pertaining to the generation of funds from earned and donated income. Nan Jolly chairs this committee. Please share your ideas for fundraising opportunities with her at NJolly at (email). The Board keeps in touch with our donors and supporters-all of you! We brainstorm ideas for fundraisers. At the 2003 LLLI Conference, we launched a special "Gift for the Founders" fundraiser (see page 140).

All of us in LLL have an impact on the income of LLLI. We are members; we buy books; we encourage people in our communities to participate by becoming members, purchasing books, or making donations; we pass on names of potential donors to the LLLI Funding Development Department; and we spread the word about the great work that La Leche League does. Thank you for your work in supporting La Leche League!

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