Fundraising

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Project Types

Raising awareness:

Donations:

  • online management
  • search engine donations
  • "Casual Clothes for a Cause" - Organization members can set up a monthly day in the workplace when employees can donate $5 to wear jeans to work. These donations can rotate through a number of organizations to which the various employees have ties.

How to Engage Your Members

Encouraging members to organize fundraisers both helps financially and allows them to have some "ownership" of the group.

Because you value your name and reputation of your organization, you may choose to create an agreement with individuals who do fundraising on behalf of your organization. After having a conversation with the individuals to assess their motivation, how well organized they are, etc., The Association for Frontotemporal Dementias uses this form. PAGER's fundraising manual can also be accessed here.

In one instance, an organization wanted to know 'How do we draft a policy that allows for corporate "matching dollar" donations (to what a specific family has raised) be made to the Foundation and still allows families to "withdraw" their original fundraising dollars for their conference related expenses?

One idea is to secure corporate donations and offer scholarships to families. The idea of giving to ‘credit’ dollars to attend a conference might make securing sponsorship a bit difficult. From an accounting standpoint, it seems a very difficult policy. Nonprofit law around the policy may also be difficult to maneuver through.

However, if the funds go toward receipts to be reimbursed or monies paid to a vendor, it's okay because the family isn't financially gaining from it; they're just getting reimbursed for expenses that the organization has stated are eligible expenses to get reimbursed. The Boy Scouts are an excellent resource on this, as they do precisely this for camp expenses.

In another instance, an organization inquired about how to best aid volunteers who want to organize fundraisers but have no funds of their own to do this; they asked whether the organization's funds should be used to assist in the volunteers' effort. In order to prevent this question from becoming a perpetual issue, one option is to create a policy that all volunteers that want to organize fundraisers must be self-sufficient and thus not require any funds from the organization. There are a few ways for volunteers to reach this self-sufficiency:

  • The event's organizing committee can obtain underwriting from a donor or sponsor.
  • The organization can ask for a budget from the volunteers before they spend any money. In this case, a member of the organization may be able to help the volunteers see where they can get revenue to cover expenses or perhaps ask them to change their fundraiser if they do not have the means to cover any fees.
  • The volunteer can use a credit card to cover a fee if necessary and then pay the bill when due with money that was raised at the event.

Overall, there are many fundraisers that do not require any funds to plan and those that do can have their expenses covered by the revenue coming in either by donations, sponsors or other means.

e-Fundraising

As organizations integrate technology more and more into their day to day activities, electronic fundraising appeals are being used more frequently. There are many different companies that you can use. Some suggestions are:

  • Constant Contact - It allows you to format attractive emails. They have templates to make that easy. They also give you statistics on how many people opened your email, whether they clicked on a hyperlink that you have included in the text, if it was forwarded, if the email is no longer valid, plus others. They also offer a non-profit rate.
  • Graphic Mail - Offered a group 5,000 free sends
  • Lyris - Offered for $100/year through Genetic Alliance. Allows email campaigns, templates, tracking, etc.
  • MailChimp

Tips to consider:

  • I would not advise putting an appeal letter in a PDF. Most people will not bother to click on it – especially if they know you are asking for money.
  • Do you have the capability to accept donations online? People who are already on the computer often just want to click on a donation page to complete their contribution.
  • Sometimes these campaigns get flagged as spam. Work closely with the company to avoid having your message blocked by many people's filters.

Fundraising through Auctions

Auctioning Consignment Items

Many organizations have auctioned off consignment items in their auctions along with donated items. Consignment items may include jewelry, art, and sports memorabilia. There are trade-offs using consignment items you must consider.


Advantages

You don't have to solicit the items yourself (or constantly bug your committee).
You only pay if the items sell.

Disadvantages

If the items are big-ticket items, it may draw money away from your donated items that will yield you a full profit.
Someone needs to monitor the consignment items to make sure that no one "accidentally" walks away with something (i.e. jewelry). If there are a lot of items, you can ask the consignment company to do this for you.

A great way to keep things organized is to create an auction booklet. Group all the consignment items together and CLEARLY label them as such so that guests know you are only receiving a portion of the sale.

If you choose to use a consignment company, make sure you have a clearly written contract that specifies the percentage of the sale that you will receive. Some organizations may also charge the consignment company for their credit card fees. If a donor makes their payment to the organization via credit card, they can calculate the portion of the sale that goes to the consignment company and subtract out the credit card fee associated with that.

Tips and Foundations to Help

ABC’s of Fundraising
Prepared by the American Cancer Society with ideas for raising money for their Bike-a-thon, it includes an extensive list of fundraising event ideas.
Alliance for Justice—Foundation Advocacy Initiative
Educates grantmakers on their legal rights to support nonprofit advocacy work by providing workshops, technical assistance, and plain-language legal guides.
Charity Channel
Provides information and resources for nonprofit professionals to connect, learn from each other, share information, and work together.
30021 Tomas
Suite 300
Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688-2128
Phone: 949.589.5938
Email form
Council on Foundations
A membership organization of more than 2,000 grantmaking foundations and giving programs worldwide. Provides leadership expertise, legal services and networking opportunities to members and to the general public.
1828 L Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036
Phone: 202.466.6512
Fax: 202.785.3926
Email: info@cof.org
Donors Forum
Donors Forum is a nonprofit membership association that promotes philanthropy and a strong nonprofit sector in Illinois.
208 South LaSalle
Suite 1540
Chicago, IL 60604
Phone: 888-578-0090
Fax: 877-572-0106
The Foundation Center
Provides information on US philanthropy, conducts research on trends in the field, provides education and training on grant-seeking, and ensures public access to information and services.
79 Fifth Avenue/16th Street
New York, NY 10003-3076
Phone: 212.620.4230
Fax: 212.691.1828
Grassroots Fundraising
Creates and distributes accessible materials that teach people how to raise money.
1904 Franklin Street, Suite 705
Oakland CA 94612
Phone: 510.452.4520
Fax: 510.452.2122
Email: info@grassrootsfundrasing.org
Participation Matters
A guide to effectively raising money and awareness for PPMD
A guide to legal procedures when raising money for Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy (PPMD)
Media:Participation Matters Guide.pdf
Raising More Money
Trains and coaches nonprofit organizations to implement a mission-based system for raising sustainable funding from individual donors.
2100 North Pacific Street
Seattle, WA 98103
Phone: 206.709.9400
Fax: 206.352.9492
Email: info@raisingmoremoney.com

Examples of Fundraising Policies

Website Fundraising Opportunities

Use social media to simultaneously promote your organization and fundraise. Donations can be made through the Causes application and are then delivered to the organization monthly.
To learn more about Facebook Causes see the entry on Social Networking.
Flower Power is a fundraising tool that allows people to fundraise for a non-profit organization by selling plants and flowers through either a face-to-face catalog or an online fundraiser. The company offers 50% profit on every sale.
Many disease-specific advocacy organizations are using this as a fundraising measure. It takes time for your money to add up, but if you can spread the word and use it, you will get the funding. The main trick is that people have to click the sponsored links in order for your organization to receive money, so every so often I go in and click some sponsored links. It is powered by Yahoo! so it is a fairly good search engine. Basically, you don't lose anything by having it and you may actually gain some money with it!
Customize and sell your own cookbooks
Design your own keepsake awareness jewelry

Questions and Answers for New Orgs

Q: Should we allow families to use our logo as they conduct a fundraiser for an individual?

A: Here is one thought on this topic:

Shelley Bowen
Barth Syndrome Foundation

"We have a number of families who have created personal social media sites for personal purposes.

We make it very clear that our logo is not to be used in any fundraising effort that is not benefiting our mission. To date, our parents have fully understood our reasoning and have been responsive to removing the logo upon request. We have made every effort to harness the energy of these families to help us propel our mission. They are very savvy about social media and are generally members of numerous social media pages. By educating these families with the facts about Barth syndrome, they have become our ambassadors of the mission. They find awareness opportunities we haven't even heard about and they share what they learn with us."

A2: Here is another thought:

Dean Suhr
MLD Foundation

"Second to our disease description and research updates, the most commonly copied MLD item is our logo butterfly. Often it's for a private fundraisers (or tattoos!). They equate, thanks to our hard work, our butterfly logo with the disease so it makes sense to them. We usually will grant permission to use the butterfly, as long as our URL and the copyright symbol are both present. Where possible, we try to keep the branding colors intact, too. We often give use permission for private fundraisers as long as they make it clear that donations are not coming to us and are not tax deductible. This builds awareness of and credibility for our organization, strengthens relationships, and often nets us some direct or indirect donations."


Q: I have had people suggest that we make t-shirts to help raise money to help pay the cost of getting our advocacy website going. Can I do that without being a non-profit org.?

A: You can make t-shirts and sell them and solicit donations, but you have to be clear that your group is not tax-exempt. So anyone who makes donations to your group cannot take the donation off their income taxes and you will have to pay sales tax when ordering your t-shirts and collect sales tax for your state.

A2: Have you tried www.cafepress.com ? There is no overhead. Since you are not a 501(c)(3), you must state that and you can say all proceeds will go to XYZ Organization in the description…and be able to prove it (copy of checks, etc) if someone asks you if you did.

Q: How does a small org take care of online donations? What about PayPal?

A: For an explanation and suggestions, see the entry Taking Credit Cards on the Web.

Q: How do you know when to trust people to represent your organization and raise money in their community?

A: I have been thinking about having a form printed in triplicate for volunteers who are soliciting donations in their community. I would number the forms and make sure the volunteer running the event returns them all. The idea is to give us a way to track what is happening and to let the volunteer issue a donation receipt on the spot.

Below is a VERY rough draft of the information I want to put on the form.


Dear Business Owner,

PAGER Association helps kids who have acid reflux. . . . . blah, blah, blah. Explain who we are etc, etc.

One of our members is hosting an event in your community. We hope you will support the event by making a donation. PAGER Association is a 501(c)(3) organization and donations of money and goods are tax deductible. We hope you will be able to attend the event as well.

Part of the funds that are raised from this event will be spent in your community to raise awareness of the disease. Your local event sponsor will be working with us to increase awareness.

Feel free to contact PAGER Association if you have any questions or concerns about this event. Our main contact information is on the letterhead.

Please fill out this form. You can keep the top copy for your records. It serves as your tax receipt for your donation. The local event organizer will keep the other copies.

Here are the details of the local event Event Name __________ Contact Name _______ Address, etc _________ Event Date

Details about your donation Business Name _______ Contact Name _________ Address, etc _______ What was donated? What is the retail value? Describe the item in detail

Checks should be made out to PAGER Association. For extra security, please write the following information on the back of the check: For Deposit Only BB&T Bank Frederick MD. PAGER Association Events Account.

A2: We developed a piece called "participation matters", outling fundraising policies, use of logo, requirements, our 501(c)(3) and other information. It serves as a guide for those interested in fundraising and provides some information/credibility to individuals/companies involved in the process. Our families have found it helpful.

Benefits and Challenges of Joint Fundraisers

It is quite common to be approached by another group wanting to raise funds for a mutual cause. Unfortunately, it is usually never as simple as the other side presents it to be. Here are some words of wisdom to consider:

  • I would (1) create a memorandum of understanding with the other organization outlining each org’s responsibilities, how and when funds are distributed, if there is sponsorship to cover all expenses or if funds will be calculated after expenses (will you have input into those expenses) and (2) create transparency for donors on any donation materials such as “50% of the proceeds of this event will go to x organization” or whatever is determined.

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