FM Area Foundation launches new online fundraising tool to 'connect people and purpose'

Homeward Animal Shelter is one of 78 nonprofits featured on the FM Area Foundation's Caring Catalog, a site created to assist area nonprofits with their year-end fundraising. Pictured is Pi, a bulldog/lab mix, photographed at Homeward Animal Shelter in 2017. Forum file photo

FARGO — The FM Area Foundation is giving area nonprofits a little extra help with their end-of-year fundraising efforts.

Last month, the foundation launched an online fundraising tool called the FM Area Caring Catalog that acts similar to a GoFundMe page where supporters can make a donation to a worthy cause. The difference is the FM Area Foundation site is collecting donations for 78 different nonprofits that support the arts, education, the environment and many other causes. The foundation covers all credit card and associated fees, so 100 percent of all donations go directly to the nonprofits.

Program Coordinator Lexi Oestreich said the site, https://fargo.fcsuite.com/erp/donate/list/grant, was launched in response to the number of year-end giving questions the foundation receives each year, such as “Where can I make a difference?” and “What are a nonprofit’s specific needs?”

The site includes a brief description of each nonprofit as well as a statement about how donations would be used. For example, River Keepers, a nonprofit focused on appreciation and stewardship of the Red River, is asking for funds to buy kayaks and a trailer in an effort to increase recreational use of the river.

Homeward Animal Shelter is asking for money to support its Barn Buddies program that accepts feral cats, vaccinates and sterilizes them, and finds them suitable farm homes.

Haley’s Hope, a nonprofit founded to assist individuals living with dyslexia, is seeking funds to expand its educational programs to math, writing and other subjects. According to the site, “The NoticeAbility curriculum enables middle and high school students to access realistic experiences in professional subject matters that highlight the neurological strengths of students with dyslexia: entrepreneurship, engineering, architecture and the arts.”

Kari Bucholz, founder and executive director, said the goal is to “not only build their literacy ability, but also their creative, confident selves.”

Since launching in 2011, Haley’s Hope has helped nearly 600 families. Their students have come from 38 different towns and 72 different schools, Bucholz said.

Haley’s Hope has thrived thanks, in part, to assistance from the FM Area Foundation.

“I just find their whole staff and their whole outlook on nonprofits and what they’re doing to be refreshing and innovative,” Bucholz said. “I think this is just one more of their ways of helping our community,” Bucholz said.

All of the featured nonprofits have been thoroughly vetted, Oestreich said.

“We can — in good faith — know any dollars raised through the catalog are going to be put to good use by organizations that are thinking about mission and thinking about others and their clients and their customers and how they can better serve those folks,” she said.

In its inaugural year, Oestreich said they kept things relatively simple. Each nonprofit was assigned a $5,000 fundraising goal. While there is no plan to match funds this year, Oestreich said it’s something they may consider in the future.

Oestreich said building awareness is almost as important as fundraising this year. The site is meant to be a place where people can go to learn about area nonprofits, which fulfills the organization’s mission of connecting people and purpose.

"It really gives the donor an opportunity to say, 'Wow, I’m interested in this and I’m interested in this and this, and in one fell swoop I can support a wide variety of different things,'" she said.