Fundraising consumes much of our time and energy in the nonprofit sector, so how do you know if you're maximizing your fundraising potential? The recipe for success may vary from organization to organization, but an effective case statement and a thriving fundraising culture are key elements. As is the ability to cultivate strong donor relationships.
Seek charitable donations has become more complicated in some ways. Tax reform in 2017 increased the standard deduction which dramatically reduced the number of people who will itemize, reducing their taxes through charitable donations. Many more people with personal wealth are setting up donor advised funds (DAF) where they receive the tax benefits when the fund is set up, not when the funds are disbursed to a charity.
On the other hand, individual donors continue to make up over 70% of donations each year. And the boomer generation is still predicted to transfer at least $10 trillion in wealth to the next generation in the coming decades. This fact points to the importance of placing an emphasis on the planned giving.
The following is a list of key components of a successful development program. From board involvement to donor stewardship, how does your organization compare? Do you have:
- A compelling and urgent case for support driven by solutions to community/societal needs
- A strategic plan/goals with measurable objectives that is integrated with the organization’s strategic plan
- A balanced portfolio of contributions from individuals, foundations, corporations, and perhaps government
- A solid case for how you are fulfilling the organization’s mission and benefiting humanity
- Fundraising activities that enhance the organization’s image
- Gratified volunteers
- Fulfilled donor-investors
- Giving priorities that are both aligned with the organization’s priorities and appeal to donors
- Involved board members, senior executives, and CEO
- Excellence in relationship management and donor communication and stewardship
- An organizational culture supportive of fundraising
- A focus on major gifts
- Appropriate ROI on your fundraising activities...no more than 20 cents to raise $1
Resources for Effective Fundraising
Some of our favorite resources about fundraising are below. If you find a website or tool you find valuable, let us know and we will add it here.
- Nonprofit Guide to a Successful Giving Day
- Giving Day Playbook
- Peer-to Peer (P2P) Fundraising Guide
- Peer to Peer Professional Forum
- 5 Rules for Building a Successful P2P Social-Media Campaign
- Foundation Center classes and free webinars and online learning about fundraising and grants
- Association of Fundraising Professionals including the Code of Ethical Principles and Standards for Fundraisers
- Giving USA
How you get funding is based in who you serve, what you do, and how you demonstrate the impact of your work. Check out this article to develop a funding model that matches your organization.