Funding Non-Profits

Fundraising for non-profits must come, for the most part, from people in the community who are moved by the organizations purpose. The only way for organizations to find those donors is by reaching out in some way to let prospects know about the work you do. I've worked at a Non-Profit Homeless Shelter for over 25 years. Twenty of those years have been in the fund raising area of which no non-profit organization can exist. The label itself describes the organization as a not for profit entity. Fund raising is the life blood of every non-profit that seeks to serve whatever need it sees as important. In my case it is the Homeless community. I hope to give a quick over view of fund raising as it should be done. This article is for any non-profit that wishes to serve the community. All of the information in this article and articles to follow are for information purposes only and not intended as a guarantee of success in the non-profit field.

No matter what the field you are engaged in, funding the organization is of paramount importance to be successful. Most non-profits start with a group of individuals who see a need in the community and wish to fill that need. Most if not all efforts start with an initial source of funding which the founding members of the organization provide. This funding is limited as it is only meant to be used as the start up funding. All funding following this initial source must be sourced from either individuals who have the means to fund the organization or donors from the community. One third source is grants from businesses or foundations who wish to provide money to those entities who's philosophy and work they agree with. However, foundations want to see progress in the organization before they will consider writing a check. This article will focus on the community support needed for funding.

Fundraising for non-profits must come, for the most part, from people in the community who are moved by the organizations purpose. The only way for organizations to find those donors is by reaching out in some way to let prospects know about the work you do. Three popular ways of reaching out to these prospects is either through TV, Radio and Mail. I believe the best options are TV and mail, however, television can be far more expensive then most small non-profits can handle. Letter writing is the most cost effective way to find those people who will give to your cause. No matter how you proceed, you must realize that telling people about your needs and the work you do matters little if you can't survive the first six months to a year with your startup money. As the old saying goes; it takes money to make money. The reason for this is your donor base will start out small. The money brought in through you're fundraising efforts will in no way provide the funding to pay the bills and pay the staff. It will take time to reach a break even point. But for those who persevere the cash will begin to flow.

If you are in the beginning stages of fundraising, the best avenue will be a letter written by the director to the recipients of the mail. People want to hear from the man in charge about the purpose of the organization and what they can do. The letter must be informative and passionate about the cause. The content must be an honest assessment of the potential of your non-profit. Upbeat and motivating is the key to reaching people. The letter should be on the organizations letter head, dated and with a signature block. Important also is a donation slip with the recipients name and address. on three desperate lines. Include also suggestions for giving amounts, with the least say $15.00 and 4 suggestions later an amount such as $150.00. Include also a blank suggestion for the giver to write the amount they would like to give. I would also suggest on the back side of the donations slip you provide credit card information as many people give by card.

I said letter writing is the most cost effective way to reach out to potential donors but it's not cost free. Here is more money needing to be spent from your startup bank account. Cost here includes envelopes and paper with a good printer needed to print your letters. Postage is also needed to send the letters to your potential donors. Depending on the number of people being mailed to, the cost could anywhere between a couple hundred dollars to a thousand dollars. Non-Profits however can receive a discount on mailings from the post office. The discount is called bulk mail and with your 501-C3 Non-Profit certificate, the post office will give this to you. When you receive the discount you print a bulk mail stamp. This will create a box with the following inside the of it. "NON-PROFIT, U.S. Postage, City and State with the permit number given to you.

You've written, printed and mailed your letter to potential donors. Now comes the most important part of this exercise, acknowledging the receipt of the gift you're donors have sent. Most people give to non-profits to have a deduction on their tax returns. You need to send a letter to those who gave in order that they can use it for their taxes and also so they know you received the donation. It's important to mail an acknowledge letter as soon as possible. This let's your donors know that you are responsible and appreciate their gift. In a following article, I'll give you a sample letter that you can use as a guide to create you're own. There is another step that you should take that many so called experts say is not needed. I've found that it generates a good amount of additional gifts. This is a return envelope inside with the letter. This return envelope should be printed with your address and logo. It also needs to have a postal bar-code included. Speak to your post office for instructions. While most donors give gifts ranging from $5.00 to $100.00, some gift hundreds and thousands of dollars when they are comfortable with your ministry. My rule for large donors is if the gift is over $100.00 then I won't place a return envelope with the acknowledgment letter. This is just to make sure I don't insult someone who gave a large gift. I don't want it to seem like I am greedy.

By: David Peterson

I've worked for a non-profit for over 25 years with most of that in fundraising.

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Article Tags: Non-Profit , organizations , funding , fundraising , donor , donor relations

Submitted On Jun 27, 2017. Viewed 117 times.

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