The process of receiving and gathering donations and contributions, made voluntarily by individuals, companies, government agencies for specific causes in a social context is known as ‘fundraising’. Typically, fundraising refers to efforts made by non-profit organizations, charities and foundations engaged in reaching resources to the under-privileged sections of society. However, in modern day parlance it is also the term used in business terms to identify and solicit investors for investing capital funds in ‘for-profit’ enterprises.
The traditional form of fund raising involved asking for donations from people in neighborhoods and communities through face-to-face interaction; in recent years, newer forms such as online fundraising and public fundraising which allows reach-out on larger scales is employed. Among the many benefits of online fundraising are:
- Easy access to donations at less expenditure
- Increasing potential reach to donors and fundraisers using social media
- 24/7 connectivity and interaction
- Using technology to share stories, events and causes in a better manner
For most non-profit organizations, fundraising is the most significant method used to obtain money for a broad range of operations and causes like religious, social, environmental, calamity relief, philanthropic etc. A few common examples of non-profit or charitable organizations include those involved in academic or athletic achievements, disaster relief, research, human rights and several others.
These days, many non-profit organizations and government agencies as well as corporate organizations involved in CSR activities employ the services of professional fundraisers who network with donors, philanthropists and companies willing to donate money or their services to help social causes.
However, fundraising is sometimes not an innocuous as it seems to be. We know from national and international reports that many organizations involved in fundraising use these funds for purposes other than those that they are meant for; in other words, donations of money and resources meant for one purpose are diverted or mixed with another purpose – e.g. religious preaching and conversions, political campaigns, public broadcasting etc.
Agencies and governments worldwide have to constantly think of new methods and ways of fundraising. Some of the less known but creative and effective ways of fundraising are:
- Targeting minor donors – besides major donors like rich individuals and corporations, even those individuals and groups who contribute even $100 a year are not to be ignored because they provide constant support and word-of-mouth advertising for a cause
- Affinity fundraising – this is similar to building donor groups and requires putting together a ‘people network’ who have affinity towards a particular cause or theme that is capable of supporting the organization and raising funds through unique and creative means. This could involve professionals – teachers, engineers, doctors, lawyers and so on as well as people within the community such as parents and students.
- Super events – by using multiple event hosts and hosting similar events central to a given theme which involves a larger amount of people using online as well as live resources, a wider reach can be achieved. This could be held on a given day or spread through 2-3 days. In this way, holding smaller events at monthly / quarterly / periodical intervals can be reduced as they are more expensive to host and returns may not match the expenditure.
This year’s Non-Profit Fundraising Plan Guide provides simple yet strategic elements to improve fundraising campaigns. Basically they involve the following steps.
- Stating or making the case
- Choosing the right fundraising team
- Sizing up current assets and setting up fundraising goals
- Exploring future funding source prospects
- Understanding current support bases and expanding for the future
- Periodically reviewing the fundraising goals