You will find a variety of fundraising best practices depending on your geographical location and the specific nature of the fundraising environment. What I would like to propose here as my four best practices focus more on the big picture of our resource development.
- Anchor fundraising on the vision, mission, goals of the organizations—The best fundraising practice follows a resource development plan that is anchored on the vision, mission, and goals of the non-profit organization. It provides the rationale why the organization seeks to get support for all that it does.
This is the opposite of “crisis fundraising” where you plan an event when you need the money. It also avoids “mission drift” where the organization becomes fund-driven instead of fundraising that is congruent with their mission.
- An Integrated Development Plan—One of the best practices in fundraising that is overlooked by smaller organizations and those who are new to the process is preparing an integrated development plan. An integrated plan seeks to raise support for all the income needs of the non-profit organization—its annual program support, capital needs, special projects, endowment, and the constant need for prospect research.
Development includes the growth of the mission and therefore considers planning, process, fundraising and good communication.
The board is involved in the integrated resource development plan as it exercise governance of the non-profit organization. The chief executive officer, likewise takes responsibility for the integrated resource and he leads the management team who will plan and implement the plan.
- Comprehensive Fundraising Programs—Related to an integrated resource development plan is crafting a comprehensive program. These include an annual fund campaign, capital campaign, special purpose campaign, planned giving, endowment, and prospect research. Non-profit organizations need income to support its current programs and thus need to implement an annual fund campaign that will raise money for operating and administrative expenses as well as support its programs.The capital campaign is an asset-building campaign such as the need for building, facilities, and other big item projects. The annual fund campaign has the ability to raise donors who can contribute toward the capital campaign.A comprehensive fundraising program seeks special purpose gifts, endowment, and planned gifts, all of which serve to enhance the long-term sustainability of the non-profit organization. Another crucial component of a comprehensive resource development plan is prospect research. You want to constantly increase your data base of prospects, donors and partners who will support your mission and vision.
- Use Mixed Media—Other than making use of the traditional medium of fundraising such as personal and peer-to- peer solicitation, telephone calls, letters, printed literature, giving programs, special events, today’s technology provides new media that non-profits can utilize. The use of social media such as Facebook and Tweeter to promote your mission and visibility of your organization is a proven tool. Online fundraising is also a new normal for most non-profit organizations.
Being cognizant of best fundraising practices helps the non-profit organization in developing strategies that are proven to work.