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Fund Raising Strategies. Carol Muller Executive Director HELP!Line Center. Organizational Differences. You may represent: A volunteer board that does all aspects (program, administrative, fund development) An agency where you are the only employee.

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Fund raising strategies

Fund Raising Strategies

Carol Muller

Executive Director

HELP!Line Center

Organizational differences
Organizational Differences

  • You may represent:

    • A volunteer board that does all aspects (program, administrative, fund development)

    • An agency where you are the only employee.

    • An agency where you are the Executive Director and do all fund development.

    • An agency where there is a development staff or a department.

Organizational similarities
Organizational Similarities

  • Mission driven.

  • Passionate about your mission and service.

  • Volunteers

  • The community “owns” your non-profit agency.

  • Responsibility to donors.

  • If you don’t ask, you don’t get.

  • Messaging: Struggle with how to present our work, our need, and our impact.

  • Fundraising requires team efforts.

  • And….no one ever has enough funding!

Organizational transitions
Organizational Transitions

  • Hiring of the first employee.

  • Hiring of fund development staff.

    • Donor database

    • Incorporation of technology for fund raising.

  • Transitioning a board from a program/activity board to a fundraising board.

  • Addition of an endowment or foundation and committee development.


  • Mission for your organization

  • Strategic Plan

  • Defined need for your services

  • Quality programming

  • Community support exists because of the above.

Unwritten fund development rules
Unwritten Fund Development Rules

  • Everyone does need to contribute.

  • If you are a totally volunteer organization, the Board president should make the first gift with the full Board to follow. If you are staff, you need to make a gift before asking your Board and the community to contribute. The dollar amount is not as important as 100% participation.

  • Everyone has a responsibility to fund development.

  • Fund development staff cannot operate in a vacuum away from program staff.

Sources and diversification of revenue
Sources and Diversification of Revenue

  • Fundraising – individual and corporate

    • Annual appeals: individual contact and/or mail

    • Special events

    • Sponsorships (be creative!)

    • On-line

  • Memberships

  • Grants/Foundations

  • Government

  • United Way

  • Contracts or Fee for Services

Similarities of revenue sources
Similarities of Revenue Sources

  • Someone had to ask for them.

  • Funders are making an investment because they believe in your mission and ability to deliver results.

  • They all need to be reported on.

  • Evaluation/impact component.

  • They all have vulnerability for continuity, relationships and economy.

Board member roles
Board Member Roles

  • Will you require 100% participation in annual gifts?

  • Will you require 100% in fundraising? What will this be? Expectations? Some donors only want to be asked by a board member, not staff.

  • Do you require a written agreement/contract?

  • What will be your role?

    • Cheerleader

    • Organizer

    • Clean up crew

Transitioning a working board to a fundraising board
Transitioning a Working Board to a Fundraising Board

  • Time and patience

  • Clear understanding before a board member accepts a position on the board.

  • Staff needs to train.

  • Staff needs to mentor.

  • Board members need clear, concise materials.

  • Board members want to be successful, be proud of the boards they serve on.

  • You are a team!


  • Volunteers become donors.

  • Volunteers are your PR people, good or bad.

  • Are you capturing names, contact info?

  • Do you know where your volunteers work?

  • Board members are also fundraisers. Let volunteers exit gracefully when it isn’t the right fit. How can they best help your organization and meet their desire to help?


  • Will you work with a graphics/marketing agency?

  • What is your budget?

  • Look at materials through eyes of donor – use of color, glossy, etc.

  • Continuity of graphics and materials.

  • You cannot tell every story in your materials.

  • Confidentiality of clients.

  • How will you test your materials?

  • How will you distribute?

  • How can incorporate electronically?

Roi return on investment
ROI: Return on Investment

  • Invested time (volunteer and staff)

  • Marketing/exposure

  • Growth of donor list

  • Sustainability and growth

  • What are you not doing with your time because of this activity?

    ROI must be evaluated with all projects, but especially special events.

Fundraising and technology
Fundraising and Technology

  • Donor database. How much technology do you want and need? How much can you maintain and afford?

  • On-line capabilities to take credit cards

  • Communication

  • Social marketing and networking

  • Lack of donor database should not be an excuse to not do or delay fundraising.

  • None of these will work if core services, mission, etc, are not in place.

Fund development staff
Fund Development Staff

  • How will you measure when you will be ready for this?

  • What are you looking for? Grant writer, events coordinator, major gift ask, public relations are all different skills.

  • Set accountability before hiring.

  • Can they make an ask and close a deal?

  • Passion for mission.

  • Involvement with program staff and delivery of services.

Transitioning an organization
Transitioning an Organization

  • When the first employee is hired and the employee has responsibility for program delivery, administration and development, what will be the role of the Board?

  • When a fund development staff person is hired, what will be the role of the Executive Director and Board?

  • Are you prepared to transition?

How do you survive in a small shop
How Do You Survive In A Small Shop?

  • Multiple hats are worn.

  • Define roles of staff and Board.

  • As staff, find your balance. Boards will often micromanage if given an opening.

  • Use of committees and ad hoc groups can be advantageous.

  • Develop your skills to continue looking ahead and planning.

  • Flexibility!

  • Give credit where it is due, and always build your Board up.

To consider
To Consider

  • Will you accept money from the “sins”? (ex: Tobacco, gambling, alcohol)

  • Will you let other groups fundraise in your name? (ex: beer tasting)

  • Does the money come with strings? Are they acceptable?


  • Ask for money, you’ll get advice.

  • Ask for advice, you’ll get money.

Most importantly
Most Importantly,

  • Do more listening than talking on a donor call.

  • Ask.

  • Thank the donor multiple times.