Fundraising Fundamentals

The Basics

  • Fifty percent of your operating budget should come from individuals.
  • You need a fundraising “event” every month or “always be asking.”
  • Events can be
    • A campaign for the organization or a program
    • A “match this” social media campaign
    • A social fundraiser
    • A “house party”
  • Steward major donors every quarter.
  • Thank donors within 48 hours.

Annual Campaigns

  • The language is “We do this because…”
  • When you describe your programs, speak about outcomes.
  • Use pictures.
  • Use an outsider for assessment data.
  • You need to ask for the money.

Social Fundraisers

  • This method is the least cost, time, and personnel effective.
  • Have board members call past attendees to remind them that the event is coming.
  • The event is a chance for you to increase your address book.
  • It needs to cost you no more than $1.50 to raise $1.
  • Send handwritten thank you notes after the event or a fancy online card.

Major Gifts

  • People who have given to your organization and have the means to give you more are your targets.
  • You raise this money over the course of many face-to-face meetings.
  • Ask for a specific amount. You can always add, “payable over three years” if the donor looks shocked.
  • Board members should make “the ask,” but a staff member should go with the board member.
  • The basic language is “Would you join me in supporting this…”

Capital Campaigns

  • If you don’t raise the money that you need, you have to return the money.
  • You need to have raised 60% of your need before you go public.
  • 30% of your pledgers will not honor 
    the pledge.
  • Your annual gifts and major gifts will go down for ~3 years after the campaign.

In-kind Gifts and Sponsorships

  • Send a press release when you receive these. Businesses like “coverage.”
  • Don’t guess at your sponsorship pricing. Your menu of prices  depends on the size of your event turnout and the demographics of your “audience.”
  • Name a specific price when you solicit 
    a sponsorship.