Tight economic times especially hard on nonprofits

A message from Tom Payne, King Arthur Flour marketing director:

As we all nervously watch for signs of light at the end of a dark economic tunnel, the news doesn’t look good. Some predict the financial crisis will dampen our economy well into 2009. Particularly hard hit will be organizations that rely on donations and fund-raising, including schools, youth groups and charities.

With many school-funding initiatives around the country at risk, how will our nation’s schools cope with lack of funds for their programs? With Americans wondering how they will hold on to their own savings and make ends meet, how will nonprofits encourage people to give?

King Arthur Flour, which makes giving back to the community part of its mission, has seen a marked increase in the number of requests for donations to worthy causes (and occasionally for “causes” that makes us scratch our heads wondering how on earth they thought King Arthur could help). Nevertheless we’ve been keeping very busy fielding those requests. [In case you were wondering whether we’ll sponsor your next Pet Psychic fair, please check out our guidelines at kingarthurflour.com/about/GoodWorksDonationGuidelines.html. We’re happy to consider all qualifying requests].

One way we’ve found we can help is by offering quality products for fund-raising programs. Product sales outpace any other kind of fund-aising program when it comes to raising money for schools, youth groups, etc. 89% of parents with children in school, and 72% of non-parents, report making at least one fund-raising purchase last year. I’m sure you’ve been there: a neighbor child is selling gift wrap or popcorn or candy bars and wants to know whether you can help out…

High-quality King Arthur Flour products make a good fund-raiser. Red Barn Fundraising, a neighboring Vermont company, is the only place you’ll find King Arthur Flour products for fund-raising. In addition to our products, they carry Lake Champlain Chocolates (Yummm, one of my favorites. If you’re ever in Burlington, VT you’ve got to check out their retail shop or stop by the factory and get a behind-the-scenes look at how chocolate is made.) Red Barn also carries Vermont maple syrup and candies from Butternut Mountain Farms (you can’t get more authentic Vermont than maple). Everything Red Barn carries is delicious and practical (no ceramic bird ceiling-fan pullers—I really saw that once in a fund-raising catalog!).

So if you think King Arthur Flour products could help your organization pull in some much-needed funds (and people don’t need much “talking into” to give our lava cake or lemon buttermilk cake mixes a try!), check into Red Barn Fundraising (redbarnfundraising.com) and talk to Amy. She can customize a program for you. And if you do a fund-raiser with King Arthur products, let me know how it goes! – Tom Payne, marketing director, King Arthur Flour.


Tom Payne is the Director of Marketing for the King Arthur Flour Company, Norwich, VT. Tom has nearly 10 years experience marketing in the baking industry and several years working as a baker himself.


  1. Andrea

    Thanks for this reminder!

    While we’re tightening our belts here at home in Wisconsin, we’re grateful that we’re still able to make our bills, afford food and gas, keep our home warm, and clothes as we need them.

    Remembering all that we’ve been given, my husband and I are grateful for this. But we’re also remembering all those that do without, especially in this cold holiday season. We’ve put aside a couple hundred bucks for our Adopt a Family drive we do through his work, and are forgoing Christmas presents ourselves this year (because, really, we can get what we need WHEN we need it). He asked me to ramp up my couponing and bargain shopping to get as much as I can for free or pennies to donate to church, Love Inc here in town, the Humane Society, and to neighbors we know that need help. We’re adopting the old Depression motto of “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without” in our home permanently – our economic struggles are a combination of things, but if folks learn to make it do or do without (the three homes, 4 cars, etc) and focus on essentials, we’ll be just fine.

    During tough economic times, it isn’t easy for ANYONE, really. But remembering the charities and nonprofits is important too.

    My only hope is that everyone helps ONE person during this recession. If one person helps another, then that person helps another, and so on…

    Maybe I’ll get my church to organize a bake sale this holiday season… 🙂


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