This weekend's trip took me to Washington State to visit two very different organizations -- PATH in Seattle and GRuB in Olympia. Operating budget for PATH: $200million. Operating budget for GRuB: less than a million. PATH: heaquartered in Seattle, 20-something field offices around the world, and an office in DC. GRuB: an organically growing effort operating within the local community. Two very different non-profits -- two very different approaches to fundraising.
The key for PATH is a partnership with the Gates Foundation. PATH's technology department has over 15 staff members including managers, engineers, and technicians. Their technology development is derived internally. Thier focus: high-volume health technologies that will reach millions of people in the developing world. While there, I saw the recently launched female condom, the vaccine vial monitors (indicates when vaccine is spoiled), transdermal drug delivery device, and a device that prevents contamination between injections when using a multiple-use injector. These are a far cry from the "appropriate technology" true bloods who tout locally available materials, income generation, community-maintained, etc. etc. Nonetheless, these are the tools needed to help prevent disease in poverty-stricken communities. In general, I rarely come across groups that are focused on health technologies. This is only the second group that I've found, although I don't doubt there's more.
GRuB, on the other hand, is all about donor diversification. They're careful not to put all their eggs in one basket and intentionally do not seek grants that are too large. This makes them less reliant on big donors and helps ensure their efforts are focused on their mission and not catering someone else's needs. GRuB operates a local, organic garden that feeds local food banks. Their employees, at-risk youth, are responsible for planting, harvesting, and helping make operational decisions.
I walked away from both organizations having learned a few things about organizational structure and fundraising. Also may have picked up a donor or two and a collaboration project. But most importantly, it opens up the mind to the various possibilities. Wonder which way Catapult Design will go...