Laying the Foundation for Successful Fundraisers

6 Mar

There are a few truths that are undeniable in the philanthropic world: First of all, you cannot run a nonprofit without fundraising. Second only to a heart of compassion, money is the catalyst that drives a charitable organization to accomplish social good. Next, if you always do what you always did, you’re always going to get what you’ve always got. Fundraising is about change. Finally, fundraising takes immense planning. Rarely does money come in by accident.

Now that we’ve established some basic ground rules, it’s important to keep in mind the basics to fundraising that can get lost in the shuffle over time. Here are some foundational steps in the fundraising process:

1)      Create short term and long term goals – Don’t bite off more that you can chew. Every organization has visions of grandeur about having 50 or more employees, a building that spans a city block and a bank statement that has as many zero’s in it to rival Donald Trump’s. Can this dream be fulfilled over time? Maybe. However, it’s important to have a pyramid of steps to accomplish on the way to the grand goal. Start off with establishing an office in a good location, a staff that is committed and manageable and a bank account that boasts of three months worth of expenses saved. If you aim too high, discouragement is bound to set in.

2)      Count the cost – Before building a house, it is essential to research how much supplies, labor and time will be invested into the project. No one wants to live in a home without a roof or plumbing! The same goes into fundraising. Create the best fundraiser you can within the man power and budget that you have to dedicate to it. It is better have an event with plenty of food and fewer guests than to invite the masses for stale crackers and packaged cookies. Also, you don’t want to kill your staff and have them face burnout.

3)      Delegate to those you trust – Just as King Arthur had his faithful Knights of the Round Table, so every leader needs a committee of competent advisors. When everyone does their part and does it well, then no one in particular is overly stressed. Find the best group of people to work with who have the same passion and dedication as you, and the fundraising process will go smoothly and efficiently.

4)      Slow and steady wins the race – Relationships and a consistent flow of donations both take time to nurture and grow. Showing your organization to be reliable, trustworthy, significant and purposeful will definitely set the foundation for future partners and successful fundraisers.

5)      Be willing to change with the times – Review your list of donors and see if there are gaps. Is most of your list made up of seniors? Create a social media campaign to reach the younger crowd. Fundly has a variety of ways to support an online fundraising campaign for your charity. Is your annual banquet declining in guests? Maybe a concert or food and wine tasting evening will bring in new donors. Just because you’ve always done it one way does not mean that that is the only way.



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