Fundraising Startup List for Nonprofits

It never fails to happen. Once a group of businessmen sit around the table for the first time together and find out that I am a direct marketer, they pull me aside asking for that favor.

"Ted, could you help us raise funds for our small nonprofit? We have 300 names, and we need about $250,000 a year in donations to do what we need to do to accomplish our mission. What should we do?"

So here is a small list that I give all of them now so they know that fundraising is not something you do on the fly. And it also takes money to make money.

Volunteers can do a lot. But they can't accomplish much without financial support. That is just reality.

So hopefully this list will help you when you encounter the same request.

Get with the board and make the sure you have a clear and marketable mission.

    1. Develop your fundraising goals describing how you will use the money with great detail. Make certain your board is involved in the goal setting and the broad strokes of how they will be involved in the effort.
    2. Sit down and write the action plan listing what you intend to do for the year and how you will do it.
    3. Write a brief situation analysis of your past activities and what you need to shore up to improve your fundraising results.
    4. All fundraising efforts take volunteers and money to complete. So develop the resource estimates of the costs and people you need for each fundraising activity. Incorporate this information in your plan.
    5. Describe the funding sources in your plan. Detail your present donor list and existing fund sources that renew from year to year.
    6. Finally, within the plan, develop a time line for each fundraising activity such as direct mail, foundation applications, major gifts and so forth.

What other steps would you add to this list?

Posted on April 3, 2009 and filed under Fundraising.