Free Micro e-MBA Module #9: Basics in Developing Your Fundraising Plan
Some of this program is based on materials adapted from the
Nonprofit Capacity Building Toolkit(SM).
This module is in the nonprofit organization development program.
However, this module can also be used by anyone as a self-study
exercise to learn more about nonprofit fundraising.
Sections of This Module Include the Following
Raising funds to operate your organization and its programs
is very likely one of the most important activities for your nonprofit.
Many nonprofits obtain necessary monies from fees and sales (that
is, from sources other than donations). However, if your nonprofit
counts on donations, then this module will be very useful to you.
This module will guide you through basic considerations and
activities that address the questions:
- What is fundraising?
- Are you ready for fundraising?
- What are the standard sources and how are they approached?
- What’s the board’s role in fundraising?
- How is a proposal written?
- How can fundraising software help me?
- Should you use a fundraiser and/or grantwriter?
- How can the Internet and Web help you with your fundraising?
- How is the overall health of your nonprofit’s fundraising
NOTE ABOUT PERSPECTIVES: As you’ll soon notice, there are many,
major different aspects of nonprofit fundraising. There also are
many specialists in most of the aspects. Thus, it’s not uncommon
that there are very diverse, strong opinions about how fundraising
should be done. This module aims to convey the basics and many
of the “best practices” in fundraising. Many consultants
might have different opinions about some of the perspectives in
this module, but most would probably agree with most of the perspectives
in this module.
NOTE ABOUT BOARD COMMITTEES: Consider establishing a Board
Fundraising Committee to review and guide implementation of key
information in this learning module. Major activities and goals
from this learning module could be incorporated in that Committee’s
- Learn Common Sources of Funding
- Understand the Board’s Role in Fundraising
- Assess if You’re Ready for Fundraising
- Learn Who Should Ask for Money, How Much
- Recognize Best Practices in Annual Appeals, Events, Major
Gifts and Capital Campaigns
- Learn Key Components of Grant Proposals
- Draft Your Fundraising Plan
- Evaluate Your Fundraising Practices
MATERIALS FOR REVIEW
- The following materials will help you address each of
the topics and learning activities in this module.
About Fundraising — particularly the sections: – – –
Basics (optional to read more than the 2 below)
– – – Know
Your Organization (read all)
– – – Nonprofit
Fundraising Demystified (read all)
– – – Overview
of Nonprofit Fundraising Sources and Approaches (read all)
– – – Are You Ready for Fundraising? (read all)
– – – Rating and Evaluating Prospects: Whom Do You Ask
For How Much
and the Law (optional to read more than the 1 below)
– – – New
Form 990 Makes Fundraising Registration Unavoidable (read all)
Leadership (optional to read more than the 3 below)
– – – Leadership:
The Board’s “Mythunderstood” Role in Fundraising (read
– – – How
Do I Get My Board Involved in Fundraising and How Much Should
a Board Member Give? (read all)
– – – Role
of the Nonprofit Board Fundraising Committee (read all)
Staff: Defining, Hiring, Evaluating and Firing (optional to read
more than 4 below)
– – – Does
Your Organization Need a Director of Development? (read all)
– – – When
The Development Officer Is Obliged To Raise Her Or His Own Salary
– – – Asking
For The Money Is The Job Of The Leadership And Friends … (read
– – – Wearing
Those Development and Marketing “Hats” at the Same Time
Appeals (optional to read more than 2 below)
Foundation and Corporate (do read more than the following 3)
– – – Grants:
Free Money — Not Quite! (Part 1) (read all)
– – – Grants:
Free Money — Not Quite! (Part 2) (read all)
Events (optional to read more than 3 below)
– – –What
is a Special Event? (read all)
– – –Special
Events — So Misunderstood (read all)
– – –Events
to Remember — Events to Forget (read all)
Funds or Annual Campaigns (optional to read more than the 2 below)
– – –Annual
Campaigns: Once A Year Every Year (read all)
– – –The
Annual Fund is Obsolete (read all)
Gifts and Planned Giving (optional to read more than 4 below)
– – –What
is a Major Gift? (read all)
– – –Asking
For The Major Gift — Part 1 of 3 (read all)
– – –Asking
For The Major Gift — Part 2 of 3 (read all)
– – –Asking
For The Major Gift — Part 3 of 3 (read all)
Campaign and Endowment Fundraising (optional to read more than
– – – Phases
of a Capital Campaign (read all)
– – – Capital
Campaigns – Part #1: What They Are (read all)
– – – Capital
Campaigns — Part #3: Are You Ready for a Capital Campaign? (read
Online (optional to read more than 2 below)
– – –Elementary
E-Philanthropy (read all)
– – –Online
Fundraising: A Startup Guide (read all)
Recognition (optional to read more than 1 below)
– – –The
Art of Recognizing and Thanking Donors (read all)
Planning (Tying It All Together) (optional to read more than the
– – – 6
Steps to a Fundraising Plan for a New Nonprofit (read all)
Fundraisers and Paid Solicitors (optional to read more than the
– – –Do’s
and Don’t’s of Hiring a Grantwriter (read all)
SUGGESTED TOPICS FOR REFLECTION
- Learners are strongly encouraged to discuss the following
questions with peers, board members, management and staff, as
1. What are at least 5 of the 9 aspects of an organization
that should be known before doing fundraising, as asserted by
the author in Know Your Organization?
2. What are at least 5 of the 9 truths that the author asserts
3. What are at least 5 of the major 9 sources of funding described
in Overview of Nonprofit Fundraising Sources and
4. What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of getting
funds from individuals? Foundations? Corporations? Government?
(See Overview of Nonprofit Fundraising Sources and
5. If a fundraising campaign is to be successful with an individual,
what are the 3 things we must do with the donor? (See Rating and Evaluating Prospects:
Whom Do You Ask For How Much.)
Fundraising and the Law
1. The Form 990 asserts that nonprofits must register in each
state they are to do fundraising, especially if their budgets
are over how much? (See New Form 990 Makes Fundraising Registration Unavoidable.)
1. What are 3 of the 4 strategies to get the Board involved
in fundraising? (See Four Steps to Take Board Members from Fear of Fundraising to Enthusiasm.)
2. What are the 3 myths asserted by the author in Leadership: The Board’s “Mythunderstood”
Role in Fundraising?
3. What is the role of the Board’s Fundraising Committee? (See
Role of the Nonprofit Board Fundraising Committee.)
1. Who should ask for the money — the hired fundraiser or
the Board and staff of the nonprofit? (See Asking For The Money Is The Job Of The Leadership
2. What are at least 2 of the reasons that the activities and
responsibilities of fundraising and marketing should not be combined?
Those Development and Marketing “Hats” at the Same Time.)
3. Should your nonprofit have a position of Director of Development?
If so, should it be part-time or full-time? (See Does Your Organization Need a Director of Development?)
4. Should a Director of Development do fundraising to raise
his/her salary? What? (See When The Development Officer Is Obliged To Raise
Her Or His Own Salary.)
Grants: Foundation and Corporate
1. What are at least 4 of the 5 things that the author asserts
you must describe in a grant proposal, in Grants: Free Money — Not Quite! (Part 1)?
2. What is the importance of reporting back to the funder?
(See Grants: Free Money — Not Quite! (Part 2).)
3. What are at least 5 of the major components of a proposal?
(See Proposal Writing Short Course.)
1. What is a special event? What are at least 4 of the 6 criteria
that the author asserts are needed in a special event, in What is a Special Event?
2. What was the major misunderstanding about special events
as portrayed in Special Events — So Misunderstood?
3. When is a traditional gala, fancy auction event or cocktail
party not the right choice, as asserted by the author in Events to Remember — Events to Forget?
Annual Funds (or Annual Campaign)
1. What is an annual fund or annual campaign? (See Annual Campaigns: Once A Year Every Year.)
2. What are at least 3 of the 4 goals of the campaign, as asserted
by the author in Annual Campaigns: Once A Year Every Year?
3. What is the wrong message that the author asserts is too
often made in annual funds, in The Annual Fund is Obsolete?
Major Gifts and Planned Giving
1. What are at least 3 of the 4 criteria that needs to be met
to qualify as a “major gift,” as asserted by the author
in What is a Major Gift?
2. When does the author say is the best time to ask for the
money, in Asking For The Major Gift — Part 1 of 3?
3. What phrasing should never be used, as asserted by the author
in Asking For The Major Gift — Part 2 of 3?
4. What is the right amount to ask for, as asserted by the
author in Asking For The Major Gift — Part 3 of 3?
1. What is a capital campaign? Capital Campaigns – Part #1: What They Are.)
2. What are the phases of a capital campaign? (See Phases of a Capital Campaign.)
3. What are at least 6 of the 12 issues that must be considered
to assess if you’re ready for a capital campaign, as mentioned
by the author in Capital Campaigns — Part #3: Are You Ready for
a Capital Campaign?
1. What are 3 kinds of companies that help nonprofits do fundraising
online? (See Elementary E-Philanthropy.)
2. What are at least 6 of the 10 things that nonprofits should
think about if they’re going to do online fundraising? (See Online Fundraising: A Startup Guide.)
1. What is the best way to thank a donor? (See The Art of Recognizing and Thanking Donors.)
2. What are at least 3 things that donors want to hear about
how their money was spent? (See The Art of Recognizing and Thanking Donors.)
Fundraising Planning (Tying It All Together)
1. What are 5 of the 6 steps to a Fundraising Plan? (See 6 Steps to a Fundraising Plan for a New Nonprofit.)
Hiring Fundraisers and Paid Solicitors
1. What are 2 reasons why a grantwriter should not be hired
based on a contingency fee, that is, based on how much money he
or she will raise? (See Do’s and Don’t’s of Hiring a Grantwriter.)
2. What should you look for when hiring a fundraiser or grantwriter
— what are at least 3 of the 5 reasons to hire a fundraising
consultant? (See Hiring a Consultant: 12 Essential Tips.)
3. What are at least 5 benefits of hiring a fundraising consultant?
(See Benefit of Hiring a Fundraising Consultant.)
ACTIVITIES TO BUILD SYSTEMS AND
- Learners are strongly encouraged to complete the following
activities, and share and discuss results with peers, board members,
management and staff, as appropriate.
- As you proceed through the following activities, be sure
to note any incomplete actions in the Action Item Planning List.
- Write down your answers to the following questions —
those answers can be compiled into your Fundraising Plan.
1. Fundraising Preparation
1. Is your organization really ready for fundraising? How do
2. How will the Board be involved? Remember that Board members
should be very involved — it’s not just the CEO’s job to raise
3. What will be the role of the Fundraising Committee?
4. Who else will be involved and how?
2. What Are Your Fundraising Goals? How Much Should You Ask
For? By When?
1. How much money will your organization ask for? Is it for
operating costs or a capital campaign? How did you determine this
2. How much will go to programs, that is, to directly serving
clients? How much will go to indirect costs, that is, to administrative
3. How much will the fundraising activities cost, for example,
office supplies, if you hire a fundraising consultant, etc.?
4. By when will you need the money?
3. What Sources Will You Approach? How? When? Who Will Approach
1. What specific funders will you approach and how? Among individuals?
Foundations? Corporations? Government?
2. Who will approach each source? It should not just be the
CEO who always takes the lead. Perhaps the Board members need
to be trained about fundraising — who will do that training?
3. How will you approach each source? Remember that each might
prefer to be approached differently — see their guidelines for
solicitation. Also remember that startup nonprofits rarely receive
grants — they usually get funding from individuals.
4. When will each source be approached?
4. Should You Hire a Fundraiser — and If So
1. Should you hire a fundraiser? If so, then why? If not, they
2. If you decide to approach a fundraiser, what might he/she
want to know about your organization?
3. If you hire a fundraiser, how should they be paid? How do
5. How Will You Monitor That Donor Requirements Are Being
1. Major funders, such as foundations and corporations and
the government, will want reports about the status of meeting
their requirements. How will you ensure those requirements are
2. Who will provide regular reports to the donors?
3. Who will provide donor recognition letters or other forms
6. Fundraising Software
1. What software might you need to better manage your fundraising
efforts? What must you consider when getting this software?
7. Draft Your Fundraising Plan
1. By now, you have already developed the basic components
of a broad fundraising plan. You can compile your plan by collecting
your answers to the above questions.
2. Obtain board approval of your fundraising plan. (If you
have been working with a board committee to answer the questions
and conduct the activities suggested in this module, then board
approval should be fairly straightforward at this point.)
1. Answer the questions about “Fundraising Indicators”
in the Checklist of Nonprofit Organizational Indicators.
List an action plan to complete items suggested by the audit,
but not done by your organization.
REMINDERS FOR THOSE IN THE ON-LINE DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM
1. Are you exchanging feedback with others about what you’re
learning in this program?
2. Are you sticking to your study schedule for this program?
3. Are you practicing your basic skills in management and leadership,
including in problem solving and decision making, planning and
4. Are you communicating throughout your organization by using
your skills in internal communications?
5. Are you managing yourself? How many hours a week are you
working? Are you noticing any signs of stress? If so, what are
you doing about it?
6. One of the ways you might be able to tell if you’re stressed
out and/or losing perspective might be whether you’re tracking
details or not. Are you using the action item list referenced
7. Are you reflecting on learnings from past modules and how they build on the learning
in this module? For example, are you seeing your organization from a systems view,
as explained in the module “Starting and Understanding Your Nonprofit?”
TRACKING OPEN ACTION ITEMS
1. One of the first indicators that an organization or a person
is struggling is that open action items are not tracked and reviewed.
(Open action items are required actions that have not yet been
completed.) Instead, people only see and react to the latest “fires”
in their workplaces or their lives. Whether open action items
are critical to address now or not, they should not entirely be
forgotten. Therefore, update and regularly review a list of open
action items (identified while proceeding through this program)
that includes listing each open action item, who is responsible
to complete it, when it should be completed and any associated
comments. When updating the list, consider action items as identified
during discussions, learning activities and assessments in this
module. Share and regularly review this action item list with
the appropriate peers, board, management and employees in your
organization. You can use the following Action Item Planning List. (At that Web address,
a box might open, asking you which software application to open
2. If you have questions, consider posing them in the national,
free, online discussion group hr.com, which is attended
by many human resource and organization development experts.
(Learners in the nonprofit organization development program
can return to the nonprofit organization development program.)
For the Category of Fundraising (Nonprofit):
To round out your knowledge of this Library topic, you may
want to review some related topics, available from the link below.
Each of the related topics includes free, online resources.
Also, scan the Recommended Books listed below. They have been
selected for their relevance and highly practical nature.