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Are we ready to fundraise? Part 2 of 2

Liza Baranyai


an illustration of an umbrella collecting euros

Is your organization ready to fundraise? To find out how to prepare on an organizational level, read Part 1 on this link.


Fundraising Principles

Initiate internal discussions on your Fundraising Principles. I recommend conducting a workshop with your leadership team, Board, or Operational Leaders and aligning Fundraising principles with your Organizational Principles and Policies.


Address key questions:

  • From whom does our organization accept support?

  • From whom does our organization not get support?

  • What criteria are you considering?

  • What is your decision-making process on this issue?


Include possible contributions from institutions, companies, private donors, and individuals.

It is strongly advised to establish a screening and decision-making process for selections. Define the different types of donations your organization accepts (in-kind products, pro-bono services, money, etc.) and those it does not.


Publish this document internally and review it regularly. Develop a public statement on your Fundraising Principles for your website to assist in politely declining inappropriate donations.


Analyze and evaluate

Most organizations have fundraising experience. Collect and analyze all your knowledge, history, and experiences, and extract valuable lessons. Even if previous activities were unsuccessful, consider them tests or pilots. Many of the organizations feel they do not have any experience, or they think of their previous fundraising activities as failures.


I recommend considering any new activities (not just fundraising) as a test or a pilot. In this case, the most important thing is to learn lessons from your pilot. Do not set very high fundraising targets; do not expect the best fundraising from yourself when doing some activity for the first time. Collect the organization's experiences and learnings from previous years to be as prepared as possible.


Experiences often connect to individuals who are no longer associated with the organization. If feasible, seek out those with relevant experience and conduct interviews. After evaluation, you'll see that previous experiences are not failures but essential lessons.


Resources

For any fundraising activity, you need resources. Various methods and channels exist, some more expensive or time-consuming than others. Allocate time and money before starting fundraising.


For instance, running a fundraising event without event management experience can be risky and costly. Online fundraising is a more cost-effective channel. Plan your investments wisely.


Capacity, skills, and knowledge

Finding a skilled fundraiser to run your program is a challenging task worldwide. Some fundraising skills, with an essential communication and marketing background, are easy to learn. Consider the skills needed for each type of fundraising activity. For example, running an online fundraising campaign could make sense if your fundraiser has experience in online communication, sales, or mobilization campaigns.


If you are contemplating adding an offline event to your online campaign and organizing a fundraising event, having someone with experience in event management would be beneficial. Face-to-face and door-to-door fundraising require a substantial investment and a thoroughly prepared team with specific knowledge of the method. While tele-fundraising can be outsourced, if you are considering running it with volunteers, you will need a robust motivational structure in place.


Recognize the value of fundraising knowledge, skills, and experiences. If you have an experienced fundraiser on your team, integrate their expertise by fostering skill-sharing. This will enhance your team's fundraising capacity and create a collaborative environment for continuous learning and improvement.


Fundraising work can be highly stressful, particularly when individuals face numerous rejections in a short period. Consequently, their motivation depletes rapidly, increasing the risk of burnout. I recommend carefully considering the duration of fundraising campaigns involving volunteers, as protracted efforts can significantly impact their motivation and well-being.


Technology and software

If running individual fundraising campaigns, plan for data management and mass communication. Develop processes and policies in line with GDPR and national regulations.


Choose software and tools carefully, considering growth and staff capacity. Invest in good software, automation, and staff training. Manual work can take a lot of time for your fundraising staff. Use data management, mailing, event management software, the best payment gateways, and money transfer software. Ensure your database can manage mass data and develop dashboards and charts to evaluate your fundraising activity. Select tools that have consultancy or training available.


We recommend using ActionNetwork for CRM and as an email database and Lunda as a fundraising platform. Contact us at info@centerfordigitalaction.eu for a demo or more information about either one.


Ready to fundraise!

Remember, your fundraising campaign continues even after you reach monetary goals; maintaining donor relationships is crucial.


If you are prepared, you can start developing a fundraising campaign. Remember, regular communication and relationship nurturing are essential. A supporter who abandons you is worse than an unrecruited one. Dedicate as much time as you can to preparation!


Check out Liza’s webinar recording “Anyone can fundraise: how to maximize your organization’s impact" on our website's Digital Organizer's Toolbox section.


Link to Part 1 of this article.


For tailor-made fundraising consultancy, reach out to info@centerfordigitalaction.eu.


About the author:

Liza has dedicated over 20 years to providing fundraising and organizational development consultancy support to global, international, and national organizations and movements in Europe and Asia. Her main areas are fundraising and engagement strategy development, organizational development, growth management, market entries in emerging markets, and training and coaching for fundraisers and teams.

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