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‘Stone Soup’ served Oct. 24

By Jesse Campbell (

Article Published: Oct. 17, 2013 | Modified: Oct. 25, 2013
‘Stone Soup’ served Oct. 24

To nonprofit organizations, which typically receive less than half of necessary funding through government entities, donor relations is the difference between helping a segment of the community in need and floundering within only weeks of existence.

Hospitality House of Boone, a nonprofit crisis agency that addresses the issues of poverty and homelessness in a seven-county region of the High Country, knows how crucial funding is to day-to-day operations.

“Without building donor relations, you are not going to have a nonprofit very long,” said Todd Carter, director of development at Hospitality House. “Donor funding and gifts are what drive nonprofits.”
Carter added that donations are paramount to the success of Hospitality House, which receives 20 percent of its funding from the government and is responsible for securing $40,000 in donations per month.

To help local nonprofits expand their network of donors, Appalachian State University’s community service clearinghouse, Appalachian and the Community Together (ACT), and other community members are hosting a mini seminar on how to build upon these vital partnerships.

Known as “Stone Soup,” the seminar will focus on building relationships with donors and will take place Thursday, Oct. 24, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., in the Parkway Ballroom of the Plemmons Student Union on the ASU campus.

Professional fundraising coach and consultant Sandy Rees will be the event’s featured speaker.
Registration costs $40 per person and $25 per each additional registrant coming from the same organization. The cost includes breakfast, lunch and all-day coffee, courtesy of Stick Boy Kitchen, and a free follow-up webinar hosted by Rees Nov. 14 for extra support and implementation tips.

For an additional $30, Rees will offer an afternoon workshop limited to 12 people for more in-depth coaching and a plan tailored to their organization’s specific needs.

“The thing that is so important about (this) is we don’t get this type of training anywhere in the High Country,” Carter said. “Usually with nonprofit stuff, we have to drive at least two hours to any type of training, and that’s why this was started. We have to provide our own education.”

Kelsie Nuessmeir, community engagement graduate assistant for ACT, said the nonprofits that attend the seminar would also receive information on how to retain donors year to year.

“This is very important for this community because of the numbers of nonprofits that serve the community in various ways,” Nuessmeir said. “A lot of these nonprofits (focus) on poverty and housing issues. These are a lot of causes that could definitely use our support.”

The October seminar is a more specialized and organization-intensive session than the larger and broader May workshop.

“I’m very proud of what we have put together,” Carter said. “I feel like I’m learning something new every time.”

Knowing how to interact with donors on an individual level can also pay huge dividends when the time comes for them to take out the checkbook.

While advancements in technology and the Internet have changed some relationships, others have remained the same.

In today’s tech-first society, nonprofits can communicate with donors electronically and, therefore, save money on thank-you notes and receipts. Others, however, still prefer the old-fashioned handwritten letter.

“The key is finding out how donors want to be contacted,” Carter said. “Some, like our long-time members, still want that piece of paper. It’s the same as customer service and being sensitive to their needs.”

To register or find out more information about the seminar, visit or contact Kelsie Nuessmeier at (828) 262-2545.

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