Well… actually you can, if you’re asking your friends and relatives; but, if you ask foundations, corporations, major donors or the general public, you’d likely be wasting your time and resources.
Sometimes, especially with new nonprofits, people don’t realize that the mere existence of an organization is not sufficient justification to ask others for money. And, just because you think that your organization is worthy of support doesn’t mean that prospective donors will agree.
There are two prerequisites for the fundraising process – actually there are more than two, but these are bottom-line basic:
1. A description/discussion of the services you are/will be providing,
why those services are needed, and by whom.
2. An annotated budget, or some form of financial narrative that
describes/discusses your funding needs
There must be a clearly defined need before an organization can/should do any fundraising. The first step is to state/write your case for support in such a way that there is no doubt in the minds of any member of the Board or staff what it is that you intend to accomplish — all must agree, and speak with one voice.
You must discuss who you’re going to serve, what need(s) will be satisfied, why no other organization has addressed those needs or why you can do it better than any other organization.
Once you’ve agreed on what you want to accomplish, you must (specifically) define the resources you will need to pursue your mission – equipment, personnel, cash !!
A detailed budget can also help to focus potential donors on some aspect of your program/activities that has meaning for them.
You have to be able to show/tell a prospective donor where you’re going, how you’re going to get there, how s/he can help … and how s/he will benefit from helping your organization. (And that last element may well be the most important.)
There are too many nonprofits out there competing for the donated dollar. You have to give potential donors a reason to want to support you.
Have a comment or a question about starting, evaluating or expanding your fundraising program? With over 30 years of counseling in major gifts, capital campaigns, bequest programs and the planning studies to precede these three, I’ll be pleased to answer your questions. Contact me at Hank@Major-Capital-Giving.com
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