There's a big event this weekend -- the 58th annual Haus und Garten Tour presented by Vutech Ruff HER Realtors. Revenue from the event provides 50 percent of our annual income for the German Village Society, which is both exhilarating and scary.
Because weather-dependent events risk essential revenue, the society cannot rely on these to drive operations and completion of projects.
And the project list is pretty long coming out of the 2015 strategic plan: sidewalks, signs and building improvements to name a few. Many of these priorities take multiple years to complete.
The society leadership understands the necessity of committing to a more sustainable approach to fundraising necessary to achieve these essential efforts ensuring a vibrant community long into the future.
With the goal of raising $1.245 million over the next five years, the society's development committee (composed of 17 volunteers, trustees and staff) launched a fundraising campaign, beginning in September 2016 to support the strategic plan priorities.
Longtime members of the society were approached first to understand better what drives their passion to preserve what started here over 150 years ago.
Sharing and updating about the current landscape of preservation in German Village today has been another part of these engaging conversations.
The question neighbors are asking each other is simple: "What would giving just a little bit more over multiple years sound like to you?"
As our community asks us to take on more, we ask the community to consider doing the same and the response from our neighbors has been quite positive. As our history repeatedly demonstrates, German Village rises to the occasions to strengthen and enhance this precious historic community.
Over the past 10 months, neighbors have begun to make financial pledges over the course of multiple years -- and in some cases, the next five years -- that will allow the society to look beyond year-to-year planning of high-priority projects.
The impact these future commitments makes is immeasurable. We are able to move from, "What if Haus und Garten Tour rains out?" to "No matter the outcome of Haus und Garten Tour, the society will thrive."
We are proud to announce that these early conversations and commitments have led to a noteworthy milestone in just 10 months: $240,000 has been pledged over the next five years. Included in this collective pledge is more than $160,000 of new support.
That's impact. That is helping us move the needle.
But let's not forget the foundation already laid for this action. This is a new frontier of German Village Society fundraising, one that builds on the time, talent and treasure of those who have supported before (and are still contributing today).
Just look at the upcoming Haus und Garten Tour weekend for a moment.
There are more than 350 volunteers contributing a few hours from their day.
Fifty neighbors or businesses are hosting a Saturday-night PreTour dinner.
Twelve neighbors are opening their homes and gardens to thousands of attendees.
This weekend covers the spectrum of how our supporters carry the flag for historic preservation and support this community year-round.
When you pair this weekend with all the other event weekends where neighbors buy tickets, donate and purchase silent-auction items, where businesses donate food and beverages, where neighbors take on leadership roles to plan such events and recruit fellow neighbors to partake as well -- it's too incredible an effort to describe. And all of this is in addition to our 1,000-plus member donors!
This effort has been sustained and growing since the society's inception in 1960 -- 57 years.
To all donors, those who have been here from the early years to those who continue to build on that foundation through new fronts: no matter the amount, thank you.
Each and every gift is important.
We invite you to join our efforts if our work inspires you to contribute more. Visit GermanVillage.com to join or send an email to email@example.com to hear more about the impact your contributions makes.
Mark Weiss, German Village Society manager of donor development and marketing, submitted the Village Notebook column.