An all too common question … that usually arises far later in an organization’s forming process than it should have been asked.
I always reply, saying, “Before you make commitments for expenses for which you may not have the funds, I suggest you begin with your Board Of Trustees. You should have on your board, at the beginning of your creation process, as many serious givers-and-getters as possible – people who are rated at the best levels for giving of their own money, who are willing and able to get money from others, and who are willing and able to recruit others who they know will do the same.
Chances are that most “new” organizations will be serving constituencies that are unable to pay for their services; and, so, neither would/could they be donors. Those new NPOs, then, must look with their board to other sources.
Most new groups, in order to have time for developing paths to outside funders, should have each board member commit personally to a set amount — which each may contribute from their own pockets, may raise from sources close to them, or may raise the funds from a combination of both. Compliance to this concept, or the lack thereof, would be a good indication of whether you’ve assembled the right board to ensure that your organization will have a future.
[Editor’s Note: If your Board Members can’t/won’t support, won’t give to their own organization, why should anyone else, why would they want to ??]
When I was in that position, before my development career began and as a board member of a new organization, each of us agreed to go out and raise a dollar amount that was calculated by dividing our number of fund-raisers into the amount needed to balance the books for that fiscal year. We each had a fundraising goal of $1,800.
Off we went, giving what we could of our own money, then asking family, friends, our employers, and owners of places we did business. (I received donations from my company, doctor, dentist, florist, dry cleaner, etc.) We all, individually, worked to our own goal to collectively meet the overall goal of the organization for the year.
Along with that productive activity, we were researching local granting foundations and corporations, learning who they were, what they gave to, how much they gave, and seeking to know of any personal or business links our board had with officials of the grantors. You, too, can easily learn who those grantors are from the Foundation Center directory and from references in your local library – and the good old, and very effective, “word-of-mouth.”
As well, your team should work to gather annual reports and other of their publications from organizations similar to yours and review their listings of donors as potential donors to your particular cause.
These are but a few of the ways you must slog along to learn who cares about your organization and who might care. You cannot expect to get funding from distant and uncaring donors.
You find qualified donors only in those ways – working from the inside out.
We’re Taking a Break for Two Weeks.
Wishing you and yours a Happy Holiday and a Happy & Healthy New Year.
See you on January 7
Have a question or comment about the above posting?
You can Ask Tony.
There is also a lot of good fundraising information on his website:
Have you seen
The Fundraising Series of ebooks?
They’re easy to read, to the point, and inexpensive ($1.99 – $4.99)
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