Dwight Hall is stepping up fund-raising efforts this year because of a $40,000 budget shortfall.

In previous years, Dwight Hall’s major fund-raising activity has been a biannual phone-a-thon. But for the past two years that drive has not raised the funds needed to complete the operating budget, causing Yale’s community service hub to operate with a budget deficit, Dwight Hall general secretary Kathrine Burdick said.

The umbrella organization for Yale community service groups is expected to run approximately $40,000 short of its budget for the year, former Dwight Hall coordinator Shayna Strom ’02 said. Organizers are now hoping a raffle, among other initiatives, will raise the needed funds for the center.

“For the past couple of years we have had a real challenge raising all of the operating budget we need,” Burdick said. “This year we hope to use the raffle and other fund-raising events to close the gap.”

One of the reasons Dwight Hall is experiencing a budget crunch is because the center is growing in scope. There are more service programs and the existing programs are expanding, Burdick said.

Because of this growth, Dwight Hall’s operating costs continue to rise.

“Vehicles are getting older [and getting] much more use. Printing and copying costs have gone up, and the pressure is on to provide resources to those groups so they can continue to do the work that they’re doing,” Burdick said.

Publicity director of Dwight Hall’s executive committee Rachel Berger ’03 said keeping member groups from feeling the budget cuts is a priority.

“Dwight Hall will continue on as it always has and member groups will never feel the budget shortage,” Berger said. “The number one priority is that the groups not feel that burden.”

In the past, Dwight Hall has cut the amount of available spending for office supplies and staff development to counter the budget shortfall, Burdick said.

Although the University provides financial support to Dwight Hall, the non-profit center also needs additional funding from donations. The University contributes a $32,000 grant to Dwight Hall each year through the Office of New Haven Affairs. Yale also covers Dwight Hall maintenance costs such as heating.

Nevertheless, Dwight Hall must raise about $400,000 each year.

Burdick said the center is being hurt by the national decrease in philanthropic giving.

“In spite of the booming economy, philanthropic donations haven’t increased at the same level as the economy,” Burdick said.

Louise Davis ’03, one of two student members of the Dwight Hall Board of Directors, said the board is now planning ways to involve student service organizations in Dwight Hall fund raising efforts.

A raffle is one of the main fund raisers in the near future. Dwight Hall is raffling off $100 tickets with the prize being a free trip for four to Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort in Ireland.

“Dwight Hall needs money,” Davis said. “We are looking at what we can do to fund raise in light of the recent drop in donations to non-profits. We’d like more student involvement in fund raising and more permanent fund raising options for Dwight Hall other than the phone-a-thon.”