There is no way around it — nonprofits need financial resources. While there are successful philanthropic projects that are 100% staffed by volunteers, even these endeavors need a budget for office supplies, mailing, and similar operating costs. For any large-scale initiative, there is a need for financial support to cover the cost of hired staff, operating expenses, and programming costs.
Fundraising can be as simple as asking a few friends for donations to as complex as a large professionalized effort that includes assistance with estate planning or tax-related gift planning.
What are some general areas to consider when fundraising?
The purpose and mission for your nonprofit charitable organization should resonate with those you approach for funding. The nature of its cause, the extent of the need being served, the testing of new ideas, or other factors will be a key part of your message as you seek to attract private voluntary contributions.
Take away: Have clarity of charitable purpose.
In order to create, grow, and sustain a nonprofit, you will need leaders who are highly regarded — champions who are willing to assist in fundraising, and staff who are able to make a compelling case for the cause. Relationships with your supporters should be forged and then nurtured, established through mutual trust, organizational transparency, accountability, and excellent public relations.
Take away: Develop a compelling case and find champions to help introduce your nonprofit to donors.
Nurture authentic relationships.
When possible, work with other organizations to provide efficiencies, excitement, and synergy to assist with raising needed funds, and to help you stretch scarce resources further. By working in partnership with other like-minded organizations, you can build a cache of advocates who know the mission of your organization and support its cause. By building a cache of advocates, you can multiply your contacts and relationships with potential funders. By multiplying your contacts and relationships, more financial resources may be garnered. By increasing your financial resources and coordinating efforts to serve your communities, more charitable work can be delivered than would be possible if these same organizations choose to operate independently.
Take away: Partner with other like-minded organizations when possible to build excitement and relationships.
Stretch and increase resources.
Look for opportunities to leverage gifts through challenge grants.
Take away: Multiply donors through challenge grants.
Know your budget and remain fiscally responsible. Develop a “business” (i.e., financial, marketing, public relations) plan. Develop long-term strategies for sustainable funding. Seek ways to earn income. Invest in the health of your own organization.
Take away: Operational support is essential for the health of your organization and requires thoughtful planning and action.
Don’t neglect it.