Fundraising is the process of assembling voluntary contributions of cash or other resources, by requesting donations from businesses, individuals, governmental agencies or charitable foundations. Even though fundraising usually refers to efforts to assemble money for non-profit organization (NGOs), sometimes, it is used to represent the solicitation and identification of investors or other sources of capital for pro-profit enterprises.
Fundraising initially consisted mostly of requesting donations at people’s doors or on the street and this is witnessing very steady growth in the form of face-to-face fundraising, but new types of fundraising, such as online fundraising, have surfaced in recent years, even though these are usually based on archaic methods such as grassroots fundraising.
Fundraising is an important way that NGOs may obtain the money for their activities. These activities can involve a very broad spectrum of concerns such as philanthropic or religous groups such as public broadcasters, research organizations, environmental issues and political campaigns.
Good examples of charitable organizations include humanitarian concerns,student scholarship merit awards for academic or athletic achievement, disaster relief, research human rights and other social issues.
Several NGOs take advantage of the services of professional fundraisers. These fundraisers can be paid for services rendered by retaining a percentage of raised funds or either through fees unrelated to the amounts of money to be raised. The former approach is clearly forbidden under the Code of Ethics of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) which is a professional membership body. Nevertheless, by far the most common practice of American non-profits is to hire a staff whose main duty is fund raising. This individual is paid a salary like every other employee, and is often a part of the top management staff of the NGO.
Some NGOs nevertheless involve fundraisers who are paid a part of the funds they raise. In the United States, this fraction of funds retained to funds paid out to the non-profit is subject to reporting to a number of state's Secretaries of State or Attorneys General. This fraction varies greatly and is subject to change over place and time, and it is a point of dispute between the non-profit organizations and a segment of the general public. The term "professional fundraiser" refers to third-party firms whose services are contracted for, whereas "fundraising professionals" or development officers are usually staff or individuals at charitable NGOs. Though potentially confusing, the difference is worth noting.
Fundraising professionals, who have been employed with NGOs as fundraising consultants or as fundraisers, for at least sixty months, can decide to be certified as a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE). The CFRE credential is issued by CFRE International, an independent organization whose principal mission is dedicated to setting norms in philanthropy through a reliable and valid certification process.
The grant professional is a discipline within the fundraising profession. Grant professionals with a minimum of three years’ experience and other prerequisites, can be registered as Grant Professional Certified (GPC). The GPC credential is issued by Grant Professionals Certification Institute, whose goal is to strengthen the non-profit sector's potential to maintain and pursue private sector and public sector funding by promoting ethical and competency practices within the domain of grantsmanship. The certification process is tailored to measure minimum skills and knowledge related to all aspects of grant management and development, including but not limited to such areas as pre-production, grant research, grant construction, public sector funding, grant reporting, private sector funding, grant accountability and ethics.
Many non-profit companies and organizations depend on fundraisers to donate to causes and cover their expenses. Nonetheless, depending on the popularity of the cause or organization, it may be difficult to find volunteers who are motivated. As a result, giving out incentives can encourage buyers (the people who donate the money) and sellers (the people who raise the money) to join the cause.
Gift Cards to Local Businesses
Even though several local businesses will prefer to donate directly to a cause, those who cannot should still be asked to join by donating gift cards. The fundraising organization can utilize these gift cards to keep buyers and sellers motivated to participate in the cause. One will need to develop an incentive plan that rewards the highest donations and sales.
Organizing a post-fundraiser raffle for donors and sellers can be an attractive incentive to join the cause. Local businesses should be asked to donate a service or product to the raffle. For instance, a fashion store could donate a pair of shoes or dress to be raffled off. A local pizzeria could decide to organize a pizza party for the raffle winner. Give businesses a strong reason to donate by mentioning their contributions and names during the raffle. More so, buyers and sellers who have donated/raised more cash should get more raffle tickets. Therefore, the highest buyers and sellers stand the best chances of winning the raffle.
Scheduling a special event at the fundraiser's ending can be a convenient way to motivate buyers and sellers to donate/raise money. Once again, forming an allegiance with local businesses can considerably reduce the event's cost. Market the event as a socializing and networking opportunity by listing specific donating/selling requirements that must be fulfilled to earn an invitation.
With this incentive, individual participants receive a prize for attaining a certain goal by a defined deadline. Organizers can plan the contest so that the first three individuals to attain the goals win the best prize, the second three individuals win a secondary price and the third set of individuals get recognition of some sort or win a consolation prize.
Rewards without cash value provide great entertainment and are proven motivators. A few examples include;
- Pie Throwing: allow the contestants to throw cream pies at the organizers' faces if the goal is attained.
Activity of Choice: let your team have an activity of their choice that substitutes their usual schedule.