Fundraising Guide for Nonprofits (Intro and Contents)


Fundraising Guide for Nonprofits -- The “roll-up-your-shirtsleeves” guide for raising big money in tough times...

What are the secrets of running successful fundraising campaigns in an era characterized by financial belt-tightening, smaller donations, and reduced government spending? You’ll discover all the secrets in this lively hands-on operations manual in a practical step-by-step guide that approaches fundraising as a down-in-the-trenches, sales-oriented business, not as a lofty social service undertaking. Written for both fundraising professionals and volunteers, Fundraising will show you how to mastermind and execute the kinds of high-profile, imaginative, and effective campaigns as do top consultants in the country.

You’ll learn how to:

• Cultivate potential donors

• Categorize large, intermediate, and small gift prospects

• Use feasibility studies to your best advantage

• Train solicitors and pair them with the right prospects

• Conduct one-on-one and group solicitations

• Obtain foundation grants, even in tough times

• Create programs and packages for short- and long-term direct-mail drives

• Save money by producing in-house campaign publications using desktop publishing software

Filled with a wealth of special exhibits that include sample letter scripts, invitations, pledge cards, grant proposals, training dialogues, gift expectation tables, and more, Fundraising is the most comprehensive and detailed guide of its kind on the market today!

... so let's go!!!!...


Nonprofit organization fundraising is an immense, diversified, sophisticated, and “bullish” business. Although certainly not recession-proof, it is an enterprise that has continued to grow in great leaps throughout the last several decades despite economic swings or the Dow-Jones average.

The magnitude of philanthropic support in the United States is enormous. In 2013, total charitable gift income was over $335 billion:


[Also see: Top 100 U.S. Foundations by Asset Size]

Because of the caring and generosity of millions of our citizens, philanthropy is a major part of our nation's way of life.

There are no magical secrets, potions, incantations, or wands to wave that guarantee goal-reaching drives. Successful fundraising efforts use carefully learned and tested procedures that really work. Based on decades of experience, these campaigns employ sound organizational, management, sales, and marketing principles. Adhering to a proven format is the only way that nonprofit groups raise billions of dollars yearly.

I'm going to take you step-by-step through the logic and practical application of organizing, developing, and conducting membership and constituent fundraising drives. Employed by consultants and other top professionals, the techniques you will learn guide major religious, educational, health, human services, cultural, and other philanthropic groups throughout the nation.

Having stood the test of time, these strategies will function to your advantage—but only if you follow them closely. Don't be like the new cook who studies a classic recipe, decides to tamper with it, and ruins the entrée. Only an experienced cook knows how to add different spices and ingredients to a classic bouillabaisse and brew up an even better fish stew.

Forget lofty philosophies or a treatise on social science that leaves you wondering exactly how to start a campaign, no less how to end one. This guide is for activists: administrators, fundraising professionals, volunteer board members, businesspeople, homemakers, educators, and artists, who take time out of demanding schedules to serve the nonprofit sector. To make the “give and take” that exists among instructors, solicitors, and prospects come alive, you will sit in on many dialogues emulating actual fundraising situations: training meetings, a face-to-face big-gift solicitation, a special event where potential donors are solicited as a group, canvassers convincing a couple to lend their support, and a phone squad in action.

An obvious way to produce maximum profits is to lessen expenses. (There are numerous cost-cutting suggestions throughout the guide.) The more you know about campaigning, the less you will spend, but without sacrificing investments that are necessary. For instance, while making you privy to the way professionals go about doing things, this text cannot replace experienced consultants who furnish personal guidance to nonprofit organizations needing their services. However, the information in this guide will allow you to take on many assignments “in-house” instead of paying for outside assistance. If you currently retain a consultant, the knowledge you gain by reading this guide will enhance your relationship with that person or company. You will far more easily understand the rationales for advice given and be considerably more effective in putting plans into operation. Those factors lessen costs and raise net income.

Not every approach described may suit your organization's present fundraising plans. For example, some groups only concentrate on seeking large gifts. To them, planning and running a phonathon, door-to-door canvass, or mail appeal is unnecessary. But it pays to become familiar with the entire text, since it uncovers methods likely to be valuable in the future.

It's amazing how in tune with the twentieth century the Greek philosopher Aristotle was when he declared:

To give away money is an easy matter and in any man's power. But to decide to whom to give it, and how large, and when, and for what purpose and how, is neither in every man's power nor an easy matter.

Competition for the philanthropic dollar is fierce. The largest and most prestigious national, regional, and local religious, health, educational, social welfare, and cultural organizations enjoy a dedicated constituency that ranks them at the top of donors' priorities. Like a “mom-and-pop” business, small, lesser-known groups, especially those with limited appeal, encounter hard going when trying to compete. So do established nonprofits who have always counted on receiving total annual funding from umbrella groups such as United Way and Jewish Federations. Because budget crunches have hit their benefactors, leaders of many beneficiary nonprofits must suddenly grapple with raising portions of their yearly budgets on their own or face cutbacks at a time when their services are needed the most. If your organization falls into these categories, don't despair: grass-roots efforts get adequately funded all the time. Concentrate on developing a loyal band of financial supporters, play out your campaigns like the big guys, and you have every chance of winning.

There is no instant gratification in the business of fundraising. The large philanthropic gifts you'll be seeking will be gotten only after long periods of crafting plans, then carrying them out; no effective shortcuts exist.

I can sum up why campaigns are successful in a few brief statements:

• The organizations that sponsor them have projects so engaging that it captures the emotions and imaginations of potential supporters.

• The best available leaders are recruited for the drive.

• Campaign volunteers are highly motivated and trained in solicitation.

• Potential donors are available, indoctrinated, and want to participate in the drive.

These principles are not my inventions. Each was used by Benjamin Franklin over two centuries ago when he campaigned for a small charitable institution that grew to be the University of Pennsylvania. How to help your organization better enact these beliefs, as valid in today's high-tech world as during Franklin's time, is the intention of this guide.

If you want to raise funds, beat a drum or sing a song! Don't run around telling everyone how poor and broke you are and how they have to save you. That “Buddy, can you spare a dime?” routine will get you exactly what you ask for.

Whatever your level of experience, as you work your way through the complexities of campaigning, be proud, tenacious, and develop tunnel vision on behalf of your cause. If you're an achiever in other facets of life, you'll win awards as a fund raiser. And, no matter what happens, keep your sense of humor along with your sense of purpose.

I wish you great success.


Table of Contents


Part 1. What You Should Know—Up Front

1. Fundamental Premises, Ideas, and Other Eye Openers

  • The Magnitude of Fundraising in America
  • Putting Aside the Great Misconceptions
  • Six Requirements Your Drive Can't Do Without
  • Expect the Most Money from the Least People
  • The Best and Worst Ways to Ask for Funds
  • What Type of Gifts Should You Go After?
  • Annual Versus Capital Campaigns
  • The Cost of Doing Business
  • What Makes Donors Tick?
  • How to Turn Prospects into Givers
  • All About Campaigners
  • What to Expect from a Governing Board
  • The Chief Executive as Fundraiser: Don't Be without One
  • Aiding and Abetting: The Use of Consultants
  • Ten Prime Reasons Why Campaigns Fail

Part 2. Making or Breaking Your Effort: Pre-campaign Activities

2. Minimizing Risks

3. Broadening the Base

  • Preparing a Campaign Budget
  • How to Classify Prospects
  • Creating a Table of Organization
  • Building Your Workforce
  • The Timetable as a Guide
  • Marketing Your Campaign
  • Making a Commitment: The Action Plan

Part 3. Soliciting Major and Intermediate Gifts

4. The Case for Conducting Upbeat Training Programs

  • Don't Be Cheap with Training Time
  • Training Presentations That Cut the Mustard

5. Training Your Salesforce: The Power of the Personal Visit

  • Visit to an Orientation Session
  • How You Can Be the Best One-on-One Solicitor Around

6. Assigning Prospects and Getting Solicitations Underway

  • By Calling Names
  • Distributing Lists
  • A Century-Old Process That Still Works: Campaign Kickoffs

7. Keeping Workers Energized

  • Campaign Cabinet Meetings
  • Category and Division Report Meetings
  • Campaign Newsletters
  • Telephone Follow-up
  • Audio (CD, MP3, files online, etc.)

8. Group Solicitation: Difficult; But Less Risky Than You'd Imagine

  • Functions Versus Benefits

9. Shedding Light on Grant Procedures and Proposals

  • Research and Perseverance Pay Off
  • Preparing for Grant Submissions
  • Working Up Proposals
  • What to Do Once You've Received a Grant
  • Make Your Proposal Do Double Duty
  • Inquiry Letters

Part 4. Running a Profitable Small Gifts Drive

10. Understanding Small Gifts, Givers, and Approaches

  • Stop Baking and Start Fundraising
  • Who Are Small Gift Prospects?
  • Small Gifts in the Order of Things
  • Choosing an Approach
  • Developing a Coverage Plan

11. Knocking on Doors—How Canvassing Pays Off

  • Getting Started
  • Membership and Constituent Canvassing
  • Assigning Prospects to Large Numbers of Workers
  • Nonaffiliated Prospect Canvassing

12. Telephone Appeals: Dialing for Dollars

  • The Pitfalls of Soliciting by Phone
  • First Steps
  • Visit to a Phonathon Orientation Meeting
  • How to Assign Prospects and Follow Through
  • Key Factors to Remember

13. Word Power: The Small Gift Alternative

  • Gaining a Perspective
  • Set Goals for Dollars and Donors
  • Finding Prospects
  • Planning Effective Multi-mailings to Turn a Profit
  • Upgrading Donors
  • What to Do with Non-donors
  • Creating a Direct-Mail Package
  • Testing Your Package
  • Additional Ideas to Stir Your Imagination
  • A Case Study

Part 5. Putting the Drive to Bed

14. Post-campaign Follow-up

  • Complete Solicitations
  • Update Master Prospect Files
  • Prepare Fundraising Summary Sheets
  • Evaluating the Drive
  • Pledge Collection
  • Enlisting Next Year's Campaigners
  • Long-Range Planning
  • Organize a Special Event for Campaigners

Part 6. Getting Your Message Across: Communications

15. Publicity: How to Get It Used

16. Graphic Design for Non-designers

  • Go with the flow
  • Getting a Feel for Composition
  • The Basics of Typography
  • Layout Considerations

17. The Frugal Way to Smashing Layouts

  • Slashing Your Publications Budget
  • Getting Artwork to Fit Your Design
  • Editing Artwork

18. Logos, Papers, and a Few Other Hints

  • What You Need to Know About Paper
  • Use Plenty of White Space
  • Proofing
  • Coordinate Your Graphic Look

19. The Still Camera in Action

20. Wrap-up


Top 100 U.S. Foundations by Asset Size