chapter 4 What You Have to Understand to Begin Fundraising

This chapter lays out several key principles that apply to all fundraising: why do fundraising, where the money should come from, why people give to nonprofits, and who can raise funds.

Let’s start with a question: What does an organization want from fundraising? Although you may think the answer is money, it’s not; it’s donors. Not donations, but donors; not gifts, but givers. We do fundraising in order to build relationships with a broad cross-section of people who will do some or all of the following for our organization: give money themselves, ask others to give, open doors to institutional giving, volunteer, say nice things about our organization, and so on. You want people to make donations and to feel so good about how they were treated and what you did with the money they gave that they want to give again and again.

Focusing on building a donor base rather than on simply raising money means that sometimes you will undertake a fundraising strategy that does not raise money in the first year, such as direct mail, or that may not raise money for several years, such as legacy giving. It means that you will relate to your donors as individual human beings rather than as ATMs whom you engage when you want money but whom you otherwise ignore. It means you will plan your fundraising for both the short term and the long term and look at the results of any fundraising strategy not only for the next month but also for ...

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