CHICO >> Suffering through the city's budget cuts, the Chico Creek Nature Center is working on developing its own source of funding, via the Internet.
At 1968 E. Eighth St., the Nature Center has established a crowdfunding account through after finding it had lost the city money it depends upon during the last budget chops.
Through crowdfunding, it hopes to raise $10,000 to remain open through September, and $60,000 more to keep going for much of next year.crowdfunding marketing
At a website search can be done for Chico Creek Nature Center, or Cover the Cuts.
While city financial support has steadily decreased, the center's board didn't expect to lose its $35,000 allocation, which covers salaries.
Executive Director Caitlin Reilly said that amount covers about half her salary and all of the front desk person, who has since left the center for other reasons. Reilly answers the phone now and greets those who come in. The rest of her staff is involved in camp programs and animal care.
In a telephone interview, she said the center is working to become independent of city funding. While it lost city money, the center is also being required to start repaying a city loan, but only the interest amount.crowdfunding advertising
"It's been a double whammy," Reilly said. Interest-only payments "still mean a bill of about $6,000 a year to us."
Strategies to expand funding includes increasing program fees, and the center has already started charging a small admission fee. Donations are always welcome, Reilly stresses, and a check written directly to the center comes across fully. The center pays a fee for the crowdfunding site.
Reilly said the center started looking at crowdfunding after seeing Chico businesses like The Bookstore and The Pageant Theater bringing in cash that way.
It also felt that spreading the word over the Internet might reach out to past supporters, such as former employees or residents who moved. The campaign also might touch philanthropists or those who might want to help a nature-related cause.indiegogo marketing
"We talked about how to reach out to the community at large in a way that was low-cost but wide-reaching."
the center is able to withdraw funds only days after the donations are made, allowing it to pay off immediate needs. Other crowdfunding sites make projects wait until a closing date to collect funds.
A glance on Saturday evening showed that just a little more than $4,000 had been donated.
Reilly would rather get a check directly, and not have to pay a service fee for crowdfunding, but she is happy to get money in any manner.
Supporters can also buy a yearly or monthly membership to the center, which can be done on its website for $10 to $250, depending on the level.
As far as raising program fees, Reilly said the hikes are small, amounting to $10 to $25.kickstarter marketing
A birthday event will cost $125, rather than $100, for example.
Rather than a donation of $5, admission to the center is $4 for adults and $2 for children under 15.
Two bright spots exist in the center's scope. Revenue from programs has increased dramatically. Reilly said two years ago, programs like camps and classroom sessions brought in about $37,000. This year, that revenue is expected to be at $97,000.
Second, the center plans to start offering professional development classes for teachers that help meet new standards in science education.
"The Chico Creek Nature Center is asking you, the community, to help make the leap to independence and fill its funding gap," Reilly writes.
"While the Nature Center's academic and camp programs are healthy and self-sustaining, the recent loss of all city funding presents a major hurdle in meeting overhead costs."
The center is also participating in the Annie Bs funding program with the North Valley Community Foundation.kickstarter project
Posted from: http://www.chicoer.com/news/ci_26308073/chico-nature-center-looking-financial-help-through-crowdfunding