Fundraising for Nonprofits: Define Your Work Area
Fundraising is not an easy job. The nature of the nonprofit organization and the kind of activities it does are the important facts to be considered while in the process of nonprofit fundraising.
First and foremost, we must define our nonprofit organization's work area. We must identify our work area and then identify possible resources to approach. After the method you use for fundraising might differ from place to place and time to time. However, few things you should consider important are listed below.
There can be several different sources to look for while you are undertaking a nonprofit fundraising activity. There are individuals, corporations and business houses, national and international government bodies, federal funds, and last but not the least, foundations. Individuals are till date the largest source for fund collection for nonprofit activities. The total amount of money donated by individuals in US reached $199.07 billion in 2005. Business houses give money to keep up with the notion of Corporate Social Responsibility. It gives them good will. If it’s a onetime event, corporate houses can be potential places to approach. Local and international government bodies have funds set aside for special nonprofit ventures benefiting mostly the marginalized and underprivileged group of society. These funds are mostly fixed amounts and there are fixed criteria to meet to win these grants. Federal funds like United Arts can be a notable amount of money to established nonprofit bodies. Many different types of foundations also have substantial amount of money to be awarded as grants to specific are of nonprofit work.
On-going or one time
While in the process of nonprofit fundraising, we should approach organizations for both one time and continuous financial support. The on-going support can be an annual fund, a multi-year grant or a continuous financial support. Some nonprofit organizations might have long running projects, like a shop or a library. Seeking grants for running of such projects would be to seek a continuous financial support. Funds for projects that run for a few years are multi-year grants, while an annual fund is given for a year of a project, mostly irrespective of the duration of the program. One-time grants, on the other hand, is given for onetime events or other activities.
Capital fundraising and planned giving
Also, an important type of nonprofit fundraising, capital fundraising is for projects like building a house, building assets or for researching on some issues. Planned to give on the other hand is when a donor pledges to donate a sum of money on a certain occasion in life, like his or her death, or while they receive their income etc.
Determining what type of organization, you are, and the type of funds you are looking for is every important in nonprofit fundraising. A careful balance of all these different types of fund collection can ensure success of your larger fundraising goal. While running a nonprofit outfit, we will need all different types of funds. Understanding how all these fund resources and the ways to approach them is half your success. Rest is the proper execution of your projects.
Fundraising for Nonprofits Can Be Fun
Running a nonprofit outfit is a noble deed indeed. You are set out to help other in less fortunate circumstances. You put your own personal comfort and preferences aside to help others – less privileged ones. Giving to the one who does not have, does not mean that you must be rich yourself. Non-profit organizations carry out numerous activities to collect funds to undertake their projects. These activities broadly relate to nonprofit fundraising.
It is the most noble thing to do but raising fund for anything is not an easy task. On top of that, if it’s a non-profit one, where the giver does not get anything back in monitory terms, it's more difficult. The process of non-profit fundraising therefore can be a very boring affair. However, systematically preparing and thoroughly executing the step by step process can take you to a rewarding conclusion. And, there are ways to bring in fun in fundraising.
Nonprofit fundraising should not be such a taxing job. Think of it as a job where you don't have to lose anything. You set out to give anyway, and that's a good place to start. Build up from there and always remember why you're doing it. Prepare yourself for many hurdles to come your way, and keep in mind that you're doing it for a cause.
First, clearly define your project and the objectives, based on which you can derive at an amount you need to raise. Plan out your activities leading up to the execution of the main project, that way it will be easy to monitor work progress. Select a group of people you enjoy working with and those who are also equally passionate about non-profit fundraising. After your group is ready, sit down and brainstorm on the kinds of activities you can carry out. At this step, it is very important to consider the time you have in hand for fundraising and the limitations you might have because of various reasons to carry out certain kind of activities. You might also want to consult the experts on this matter or browse the net to read about examples set by others.
Be different. That almost always works. This is where you show your color and at the same time bring in that fun element in it. Think of a different concept, idea and method to raise fund. Be creative. Writing volumes of grant proposals and approaching big donor agencies might sound big but is not necessarily a sure shot approach. Organize events, like auctions combined with rock concert, painting exhibition with gala dance party etc. Anything out of the ordinary catches the attention of the people easily. That's exactly what you need to do in the non-profit fundraising – catch their attention.
Always decorate your event with a bit of extra details, people appreciate that. Do not leave thing half done. Working with children and young people is always fun. Organizing ballroom dance events, or the old, by the children, for example is an extraordinary idea. Young group of pop singers putting together a concert for old people home can be another.
Take out time to put in a fine finishing touch to any fundraising event you do. That is very vital to ensure future contribution by the same individual or organization. And always be thankful.
Fundraising for Nonprofits: Administrative Tasks
Sometimes it’s just not enough to have a great idea that could possibly change the world. At the very least the worlds of those who will be affected. Most times these great ideas run into one common problem: funds.
What can you do with a brilliant idea that could help make the air cleaner, or educate thousands of children every year, or provide meals to the hungry if you don’t have any funds or financial resources to implement them? Well, if you are serious about it, and you are on your way to setting up or already have a non-profit organization. Start off by identifying organizations and people who could be your possible source of donor funds. Wait, wait, it’s not that simple, though we all wish it was.
The first thing you must do is streamline your motive, the main idea of what you or your organization is going to be doing. Write an articulate but short and powerful introduction about your organization and its motives. Until a decade ago just having an office was enough. These days if you really want to be able to raise funds to do what you hope to, then you have to setup a website as well. It's not just a way to be more accessible regarding your work to the masses by having an online presence, but a website is a great tool where interested people could contribute funds immediately if they are convinced about what your nonprofit organization’s motives are.
But even before all that make sure that your nonprofit organization is registered as a 501 (c) (3) organization so that it is tax exempt. Not only that, but all your donors may deduct any donations to 501 (c) (3) organization as a charitable deduction on their tax returns. Your donors will know that they are getting back two things when they donate to your organization; first a good thing for humanity, and second, part of their money back in tax returns!
So if you’ve got your motives straight, registered as a 501 (c) (3) organization, have produced text about it and setup a website, then the next and most crucial step is researching what bigger organizations, national or international, work or support work in the field that your organization hopes to be active in. Almost all such donor organizations, Ford Foundation for example, have their websites and the process of contacting them usually well laid out on their websites.
Contact as many as you can because it’s not guaranteed that every one of them will respond. Not because they don’t like your idea, but because of the volume of inquiries they receive. But almost every one of them will send you a generic notice of receipt and eventually a second notice of interest or inability to support your program at that time. But if some of the organizations you have send inquires to don’t have a defined working interested or history in your nonprofit organization’s field, then don’t be surprised to get a notice that might say they don’t work with that subject matter yet. Never expect immediate or prompt response. Once communication is established, don’t slack either. They might take time to respond, but you should be as communicative and convincing as possible. These are the basics, but remember that persistence and evidence of being able to do the work you plan to are key elements in being able to get funds.
Fundraising for Nonprofits 101
Do you have a non-profit organization with a wonderful humanitarian idea? Are you stuck in the process of turning those ideas into realities because you are struggling to fund your project? Then perhaps reading the rest of this article might be of some help.
The donor community, those who run no-profit organizations, have a short attention span and it can be very difficult to grab their attention. There are two things that are key to successfully getting their attention; a brilliant idea, and evidence that you can turn it into a reality. Why? This is a generally very competitive market and if your idea is not unique or timely, it will face even more relentless competition. Unless the people involved have extensive or at least some experience in the field, the organization itself has taken the initiative to do something along the line of their purpose, chances of winning them over is low.
Let’s say you have the right idea, the right team and have some working history also. So, what’s the next step to fundraising for your non-profit organization? There are several approaches you can take. One is taking a closer look at the donor community so that you can identify the donors that seem related to what your non-profit organization is trying to accomplish. Once you have a list, extensive or not, start researching their contact information. Most times it might be just a generic email address or their mailing address and fax number. Sometimes, you can find the contact info for the person who is designated to handle inquiries based on certain subjects only. The easiest way to find this information is from the websites. Almost all nonprofit organizations have a website.
There are several other methods that you can use to fundraise for your non-profit organization. Hosting drives in your community or organizing big or small-scale fundraising events are quite popular too. There are traditional methods like mail-in fundraising requests or by calling people on the phone as well. But again, you can try these but the internet is quickly overtaking these methods.
Consider making a website for your organization. If you already have one, then perhaps you should consider adding a link where visitors to your website can donate money online in a secure and efficient way. If you haven’t noticed, it is becoming one of the fastest ways to raise funds for all sorts of causes these days, including for the campaigns of the candidates seeking office. Anyway, just make sure that you are registered as 501 (c) (3) organization so that you are tax exempt and all your donors can deduct any donations to 501 (c) (3) organization as a charitable deduction in their tax returns. This way, your donors will get a part of their contribution to your organization’s cause back in tax returns at the end of the fiscal year.
Well there you have it, a crash course on fundraising for your non-profit organization. And don’t forget, persistence and patience are key.