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Preparing for fundraising

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QUESTION:

What are the three steps nonprofits should take to prepare for fundraising?

ANSWER:

1. Involve everyone.  The first thing nonprofits looking to start fundraising should do is make sure they involve as many people as they can.   Fundraising is everyone’s job.  Everyone recognizes the need for money and fundraising should not be on the shoulders of a few folks.  It is important that the entire organization embraces it.

2. Plan.  Plan.  Plan.  There needs to be a structured plan that not only includes fundraising but the overarching goals of the organization.  Organizations can think of their plan in terms of three overlapping circles representing the three parts of planning:

  • Strategic plan – the overall goals of the organization, programming, staffing, and volunteers
  • Financial plan – the budget
  • Fundraising plan – meets goals in the budget and the desire to expand.  The fundraising plan needs to answer the questions:  What are the priorities?  How much needs to be raised?  And what for?

3. Build relationships.  Don’t look at potential donors merely as sources of money but as people invested in the organization.  Strive to create long-term relationships with donors, helping people connect to the organization.  Tap into the people aspect: People give to people, not to causes.

— Compiled by Caroline Monday


Susan Sachs is president and principal of Starfire Consulting in Durham, N.C.  She specializes in nonprofit organizational development in fundraising, evaluation, strategic planning, and board and staff development.

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