Prepare for Fundraising to Achieve the Best Results
There are many ways to raise money for charitable organizations including holding
special events, conducting direct mail appeals, selling products, and submitting
grant proposals to potential funders. But a charitable organization will not achieve
Fundraising readiness is particularly important for start-
What is fundraising readiness?
Fundraising readiness is an organization’s ability to “support and sustain fundraising activities.”
I once received a call from an executive director of a small, struggling social service agency that was not serving its target population because it had no money. She was desperate to obtain grants from foundations and corporations. In talking with her, I discovered that she had no fundraising plan or clearly defined program descriptions. She was not sure about the geographic area that her organization planned to serve nor had she thought about the number of people it planned to help. Furthermore, her board members were not taking an active role in the organization, and she did not have a budget. Although her organization addressed an important and worthwhile cause, it was incapable of successfully competing for grants.
What components are needed to operate a successful fundraising campaign?
To demonstrate stability, competence, and accessibility, an organization must have a basic business foundation that can be expanded over time. This involves completing the following tasks:
The organization should have administrative staff (paid and/or volunteer) who have clearly defined roles and regular work schedules. This will make managing the organization and conducting fundraising activities consistent and effective. It is also important to have a board of directors with expertise in various areas of business. Moreover, board members should take an active part in managing the organization and raising funds.
An organization needs a budget to implement its fundraising plan, which might include the following expenses:
Like any new business, start-
A fundraising plan helps an organization develop and follow an effective course of action, but it is not a static document. Much like a business plan, it should be viewed as a blueprint for success that might need to be revised to address changing internal and external conditions.
A fundraising plan also enables the organization to gain an understanding of its fundraising needs, choose the best fundraising methods, and evaluate the fundraising climate. This makes it possible to move forward confidently and efficiently.
Depending on the fundraising method, it can take quite some time to get from the
planning stage to the end destination of obtaining donations. This makes fundraising
a long, sometimes tedious, and usually on-
Why is fundraising readiness so important?
When the organization’s structure is in place before fundraising begins, fundraisers
can demonstrate its capacity to tackle a particular issue. If an organization does
not have sound business practices, a target population, established programs, and
Foundations, corporations, government agencies, and individual donors will not invest in an organization that they do not trust. They will have no faith in the organization’s ability to make a positive impact on a cause that they feel passionate about.
Listed below are suggestions for preparing an organization for fundraising success.
Creating a charitable organization that provides a full-
The key is to have a basic structure in place that shows potential funders that the organization is credible and viable. This coupled with a solid fundraising plan will help the organization successfully compete for foundation, corporate, and government grants as well as donations from individuals.
Institute for Conservation Leadership. Assessing your organization’s fundraising
Sarabi, Brigette. Fundraising readiness: How does your agency stack up? The Grantsmanship Center. http://www.tgci.com/magazine/Fundraising%20Readiness.pdf (accessed May 20, 2009).
Wyckoff, Barbara. Basic fundraising plan. National Forest Foundation. http://nationalforests.org/pdf/BasicFundraisingPlan.pdf (accessed May 21, 2009).
Copyright © 2009,2013 Katherine Williams. All rights reserved.
© 2014 Katherine Williams. All rights reserved.
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