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Developing a Strategy for Sustainable Fundraising
Submitted by admin on 30 November, 2005 - 09:11
In the May 2005 issue of IHN, Suresh Lalvani provided guidance on writing funding proposals, using a full cost recovery approach. Here he points out that it is a mistake to think about fundraising simply in terms of raising money. While Humanist organizations need money for on- going projects, future projects, development work, and especially for infrastructure (free funds) to secure their future, successful fundraising has implications across the organization and involves delivering essential resources, communicating "the cause", creating a relationship with members and supporters and enabling an organization to plan for its long-term future. This article looks at how Humanist Organizations can develop a strategy for 'Sustainable Fundraising'.
How to Fundraise?
Step 1: Develop effective tools with which to fundraise:
- Develop your website.
- Produce a short but sharp leaflet outlining your vision, mission, achievements and projects. The leaflet can be used to target prospective donors/funders by direct mail or at donor/funder gatherings.
- Use your journal as a vehicle to ask for funds.
Step 2: Create a point of entry for potential donors.
Then allow time for donors to become educated, inspired and involved before asking them for money. Your approach should be mission based which honours your donors' true commitment to your work.
Before attending any gathering of donors you should have agreed clear objectives:
- Clearly state what your organization is
- Specify what your organization wants
- Articulate what your organization wants
- Explain why the funder should support your organization
- Demonstrate knowledge of the funder's criteria for support and make a suitable match for your organization's projects.
After the gathering, produce a report, and be clear about how you should follow up.
Step 3: Publicize your organization's major recent project successes
In this way these projects have helped to identify and project your organization's Unique Selling Points, and have laid the basis for a fundraising drive. These successful projects will underline your organization's capability to start and manage important projects.
Step 4: Costing your projects - full cost recovery
Your projects should make a contribution to your organization's core costs, and also enable it to recover all direct costs. Your fundraising proposals should incorporate this. Please refer to my article "Writing funding proposals - a full cost recovery approach" in the May 2005 issue of IHN.
Step 5: Funding your Mission
Funders realise that NGOs need a strong core base to service their projects effectively. Don't hold back from fundraising for core costs.
Step 6: Attracting donors/funders who give regularly
Question: Why should anyone give donations or grants to your organization, and how can you make sure that happens on a regular and continuing basis ?
Answer: Identify and project your organization's Unique Selling points. Explain that your organization makes a small amount of money go a long way.
Planning for a Sustainable Future
What makes/can make your organization sustainable?
- Clear Mission
- Healthy relations with other sectors
- Committed board/staff/constituents/members/volunteers
- Ability to adapt, be flexible
- Clear, realistic, strategic plans
- Sufficient financial resources
- Strong leadership
- Effective, high quality work/programs
- Valuable, useful results/impact
- Enabling legal, political and social environment
Sustainable thinking means that you are doing long-term planning on what funds and means you need to do your work, achieve your goals, run your projects, or expand your current programs and how you are planning to get those funds/means.
Answer the following questions:
- What are your organization's plans for the next 12 months?
- What financial resources do you need to meet these plans?
- What are your organization's plans for the next five years?
- What areas of fundraising are we relying on to deliver these resources?
In a future article, I will advise you as how to run a successful, cost effective fundraising event.
Suresh Lalvani is IHEU Director of Operations