Fundraising for Your
Table of Contents
- People Give To People
- Know Your Project
- Potential Sources of
- Developing Your Fundraising
- Know Your Organization
- Other Things To Consider
Does your group have a long list of project or program ideas -
but not enough dollars to do them all? If your answer to this simple
question is yes, then read on. Most organizations occasionally require
outside funding as a source of revenue for new or special projects.
You are not alone!
The 5 key ingredients to successful fundraising are:
- Know what motivates individuals/groups to donate,
- know your project,
- be aware of potential sources of funding,
- be familiar with your own organization
"People Give To People"
"People give to People!", is a well used phrase in fundraising.
Statistics indicate that 75 cents of every Canadian dollar donated
in a year was given by individuals. People like to help others;
they may have a personal involvement or commitment to the group
and cause; they seek recognition; they enjoy the event; ego gratification;
the need to belong to an organization by either donating their time
or money; community pride; religious point of view; compassion;
community pressure; guilt; or they may give just because they were
asked to give! If you don't understand why people give, then you
can't design a program for them.
Know Your Project
People will want to know what it is they are being asked to support.
You should be aware of the costs involved; the benefits to community
and organization; exactly how much money you need - not how much
you think you could raise; when are the dollars needed, and the
cash flow required to see the project through.
Your project should complement the goals and objectives of the
organization. Define your purpose - a clear, concise statement detailing
why your organization is raising money. Remember - your purpose
will determine if people will give.
Potential Sources of
Special Events Fundraising
Special events (e.g., raffles, bingos, draws, garage sales, etc.)
can be organized by the group as one method of raising funds. The
event should reflect the objectives of the organization.
- fun, entertaining
- easy to ask for dollars in a relaxed atmoshpere
- dollars available on the spot
- community involvement helps to build cohesiveness
- good public relations
- may not make a lot of money and may even lose dollars
- need a good number of volunteers
- people may actually give less than they might have if they
were asked to donate directly
- everyone contributing the same
- people want full value for their dollars ( they forget donation
aspect and look at what they get vs. what donating )
- difficult to be unique with this type of approach (everybody's
doing it!) - takes creativity to have you event noticed
Involves soliciting donations through individual contacts (e.g.,
door-to-door, canvassing, phone, letters).
There are 2 approaches to soliciting individuals:
- target an individual
- mass mailing or canvassing
- low cost involved
- fewer people required
- encourages two-way communication of project and organization
- public relations - gives you the chance to tell your story
- can be tax deductible
- requires more volunteers for the door-to-door or targeted approach
- not everyone likes to solicit and some people don't like to
be asked in this manenr
- requires time in relation to potential donations
- if no one is home - they may not have a second change to donate
- door-to-door can be expensive and time consuming in rural areas
This method is similar to soliciting donations except it is targeted
to businesses. Many businesses budget each year for donations and
sponsorship towards fundraising projects for their own public relations
and marketing. Donations from businesses may be in dollars or product.
Be prepared with your request!
- potential for larger donations
- good public relations for the business and for the organization
- tax deductible for business
- potential for repeat donations (secure source of funds)
- willingness to contribute on business cycle
- difficult to identify person who approves donations
- large businesses require a professional presentation by the
- may be lag in time between commitment and donation
- budget for donations/sponsorship may only be established at
a particular time of year
In Canada there are over 600 charitable foundations which administer
funds for a variety of projects.
Publications listing names and mandates of foundations can be found
at your public library.
Organizations submit requests for financial support to a foundation
whose mandate coincides with the nature of their project.
- may be eligible for a large amount of funding
- may be a long response period
- requires detailed project proposals and organization information
- could be one-time only
Many municipal, provincial or federal government departments have
funding programs to which organizations may make application.
These grants are targeted to specific projects (i.e., recreational
facilities, child care). The organization applying must clearly
understand their project before applying.
- can be a major source of income
- eligibility standards are well documented and established (easy
to determine if project is suitable for funding)
- requires extensive support documentation
- several government programs exist but identification of right
one is difficult
- time lag before commitment is given
Deciding which source to target is a difficult one. You may decide
to utilize more than one approach. Consider these factors as you
develop your strategy:
- Timing - urgency for requirement of funds should be considered.
If cash not needed immediately, you may ask for a pledge.
- Amount of funding required - size of expected donation should
be relative to size of project. Ask for a specific dollar amount
and be realistic.
- Available resources - number of volunteers, costs involved and
time available to conduct a fundraising campaign.
- Profile of project - person or business contributing to project
in many cases must be offered tangible and intangible returns
(e.g., public relations or direct individual benefits) - identifying
profile of project will help to determine geographic boundaries
- Environment - availability of funding from some sources may
be conditional on economy.
- Sequence - if more than one source is being considered, (e.g.,
event fundraising used in conjunction with another source), individual
contributions may be affected by prior "donations" through
special events fundraising.
- Values - the organization must be supportive of the method being
used to raise funds. Some types of fundraising activities may
not meet with approval of organization or community (e.g., lotteries,
sponsorship by certain companies).
When targeting your efforts on individuals or businesses, you should
develop a means of putting in priority your most likely candidates
for support and concentrate your efforts in that area. Identify
those who may be interested the most in the project, develop a list
and work from the top down.
Determine in advance the amount you are going to request, research
the potential donor about their interests and goals and how the
project relates to them and then you can answer the question - What's
in it for me? Also identify possible alternatives to tangible dollars
e.g., moral support, contact, references, and products.
Be sure to personalize your approach to potential donors and approach
supporters of previous campaigns first. It is best to spend more
time nurturing the "old money before seeking out the new".
Know Your Organization
- be aware of your organization's image in the community (how
it's perceived will affect financial support by community)
- evaluate past fundraising efforts to determine successful strategies
(learn from your mistakes)
- ensure that the membership is fully in support of the project
- internal apathy may be harmful to fundraising results
- investigate eligibility of organization for charitable status
through Revenue Canada. This would allow donations to be tax deductible.
- make up of committee should be reflective of needs
- working members and honorary members of committee should have
profile, credibility and personal support for the project
- chairperson (and/or directors) of campaign coordinates the project
to avoid duplication of effort and contact
- chairperson acts as official spokesman for the campaign
- goals and targets are set by committee
- roles of each person are determined and clearly defined to each
- training is provided for volunteers - everyone must know their
- provide regular update session with volunteers who will be doing
- encourage feedback sessions and evaluation of progress
- design a fundraising kit to fully explain their role and campaign
- consider all potential questions and have answers designed and
Other Things To Consider
- make it easy for the donor (i.e. pick it up, postage paid, bank
- know who it is in the organization that decides on donations
- know when budgets are established
- make appointments for your interviews
- if they don't give - don't be discouraged, leave with their
moral support and accept rejection gracefully
- keep records of all contacts, comments, history of donations
- this helps to prevent duplicate contacts (i.e., recipe card
file or notebook may be useful)
- offer receipts on the spot
- ensure follow-up and thank you from the organization
- ensure progress of project is made available to all supporters
- if you don't know the answer to a question, ensure an answer
is forwarded promptly
- inform media of your project and ensure maximum recognition
of all major contributors
Since there is no perfect or ideal model for fundraising, community
groups are encouraged to share their techniques. Remember the five
key ingredients to successful fundraising are:
- Know what motivates individuals/groups to donate
- Know your project
- Be aware of potential sources of funding
- Develop a strategy
- Be familiar with your own organization
Good luck with your fundraising project and have fun doing it!