Fundraising: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Fundraising or fund raising (also development or advancement) is the process of soliciting and gathering contributions as money or other resources, by requesting donations from individuals, businesses, charitable foundations, or governmental agencies. Although fundraising typically refers to efforts to gather money for non-profit organizations, it is sometimes used to refer to the identification and solicitation of investors or other sources of capital for-profit enterprises.



Fundraising is a significant way that non-profit organizations may obtain the money for their operations. These operations can involve a very broad array of concerns such as religious or philanthropic groups such as research organizations, public broadcasters, and political campaigns.

Some examples of charitable organizations include student scholarship merit awards for athletic or academic achievement, humanitarian concerns, disaster relief, human rights, research, and other social issues.


Professional fundraisers

Many non-profit organizations take advantage of the services of professional fundraisers. These fundraisers may be paid for their services either through fees unrelated to the amounts of money to be raised, or by retaining a percentage of raised funds (percentage-based compensation). The latter approach is expressly forbidden under the Code of Ethics of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), a professional membership body.[1]

Many non-profit organizations nonetheless engage fundraisers who are paid a percentage of the funds they raise. In the United States, this ratio of funds retained to funds passed on to the non-profit is subject to reporting to a number of state's Attorneys General.[2] This ratio is highly variable and subject to change over time and place, and it is a point of contention between a segment of the general public and the non-profit organizations.

It should be noted that the term "professional fundraiser" is in many cases a legislated term referring to third-party firms whose services are contracted for; whereas "fundraising professionals" or development officers are often individuals on staff at charitable non-profits. Although potentially confusing, the distinction is an important one to note.

Religious organizations

Equally important are fundraising efforts by virtually every recognized religious group throughout the world. These efforts are organized on a local, national, and global level. Sometimes, such funds will go exclusively toward assisting the basic needs of others, while money may at other times be used only for evangelism. Usually, religious organizations mix the two, which can sometimes cause tension.

Political campaigns

US President Barack Obama's campaign team orchestrated a record-breaking fundraising effort in 2008

Fundraising also plays a major role in political campaigns. This fact, despite numerous campaign finance reform laws, continues to be a highly controversial topic in American politics. Political action committees (PACs) are the best-known organizations that back candidates and political parties, though others such as 527 groups also have an impact. Some advocacy organizations conduct fundraising for or against policy issues in an attempt to influence legislation.

Public broadcasting

While public broadcasters are completely government-funded in much of the world, there are many countries where some funds must come from donations from the public. Pledge drives commonly occur about three times each year, usually lasting one to two weeks each time. Viewership and listenership often declines significantly during funding periods, so special programming may be aired in order to keep regular viewers and listeners interested.


Organizations in the United States established for charitable purposes are allowed to raise funds from many sources. They are given a specific designation by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), commonly noted as 501(c)(3) organizations. Other nonprofits such as fraternal associations have different IRS designations, and may or may not be eligible to raise funds. Financial information on many nonprofits, including all nonprofits that file annual IRS 990 forms is available from GuideStar.


Many non-profit organizations receive some annual funding from a financial endowment, which is a sum of money that is invested to generate an annual return. Although endowments may be created when a sizable gift is received from an individual or family, often as directed in a will upon the death of a family member, they more typically are the result of many gifts over time from a variety of sources.

Non-profit organizations also raise funds through competing for grant funding. Grant (money) is offered by governmental units and private foundations/ charitable trusts to non-profit organizations for the benefit of all parties to the transaction.

A capital campaign is when fundraising is conducted to raise major sums for a building or endowment, and generally keep such funds separate from operating funds. These campaigns encourage donors to give more than they would normally give and tap donors, especially corporations and foundations who would not otherwise give.

Special events are another method of raising funds. These range from formal dinners to benefit concerts to walkathons. Events are used to increase visibility and support for an organization as well as raising funds.

Fundraising in the online sphere allows a variety of approaches. Examples can be found at Better The World, Network for Good, Google Checkout and MissionFish (donations), Justgiving (online sponsorship), the Facebook "Causes" application (social networking), and The Big Give (matched funding).

While fundraising often involves the donation of money as an out-right gift, money may also be generated by selling a product of some kind, also known as product fundraising. Girl Scouts of the USA are well-known for selling cookies in order to generate funds. It is also common to see on-line impulse sales links to be accompanied by statements that a proportion of proceeds will be directed to a particular charitable foundation.

When goods or professional services are donated to an organization rather than cash, this is called an in-kind gift.

A number of charities and non-profit organizations are increasingly using the internet as a means to raise funds; this practice is referred to as online fundraising. For example the NSPCC operates a search engine which generates funds via Pay per click links, and Better The World operates tools allowing funds to be raised via members viewing ethical ads on a browser sidebar and/or blog widget.

Some of the most substantial fundraising efforts in the United States are conducted by colleges and universities. Commonly the fundraising, or "development" / "advancement," program, makes a distinction between annual fund appeals and major campaigns.

The donor base (often called a file) for higher education includes alumni, parents, friends, private foundations, and corporations. Gifts of appreciated property are important components of such efforts because the tax advantage they confer on the donor encourages larger gifts. The process of soliciting appreciated assets is called planned giving.

The classic development program at institutions of higher learning include prospect identification, prospect research and verification of the prospect's viability, cultivation, solicitation, and finally stewardship, the latter being the process of keeping donors informed about how past support has been used.

Relationship building

Often called donor cultivation, relationship building is the foundation on which most fundraising takes place[3]. Most development strategies divide donors into categories based on annual gifts. For instance, major donors are those that give at the highest level of the organization's fundraising scale and mid-level donors are in the middle. More sophisticated strategies use tools to overlay demographic and other market segmentation data against their database of donors in order to more precisely customize communication and more effectively target resources.[4] Research by Peter Maple in the UK[5] shows that charities generally underinvest in good marketing research spending around a quarter of what an equivalent sized for profit company might spend.

Donor relations and stewardship [6] professionals support fundraisers by recognizing and thanking donors in a fashion that will cultivate future giving to nonprofit organizations. The Association of Donor Relations Professionals (ADRP) [7] is the first community of stewardship and donor relations professionals in the United States and Canada.

Recent research by Adrian Sargeant and the Association of Fundraising Professionals' Fundraising Effectiveness Project suggests the sector has a long way to go in improving the quality of donor relations. The sector generally loses 50-60% of its newly acquired donors between their first and second donations and one in three, year on year thereafter. The economics of regular or sustained giving are rather different, but even then organizations routinely lose 30% of their donors from one year to the next.[8]


See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ "Code of Ethics". Association of Fundraising Professionals. Retrieved 2007-01-23.  
  2. ^ For example, "Active Charity Promotions in Kentucky". Retrieved October 9 2005.  
  3. ^ Yonker, Larry; McGinty, Chuck; Donaldson, Devlin (June 2002). "The Kingdom Currency" (PDF). Retrieved 2007-06-22.  
  4. ^ "Useful Past Tips: Marketing". Nonprofit Times. Retrieved 2007-06-22.  
  5. ^ Maple P,(2003) Marketing Strategy for Effective Fundraising, DSC
  6. ^ "Stewardship & Donor Relations,"
  7. ^ Association of Donor Relations Professionals
  8. ^ Sargeant A and Jay E (2004) Building Donor Loyalty, Jossey Bass, San Francisco.

External links

Study guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiversity


This is a learning project to study fundraising, how it is done and how it is tracked.

Funding is the lifeblood of any venture -- without some money, there is no way to pay for lights and heat that allow a meeting space to be used.

Most modern funding takes the form of project funding -- money given for a certain project with a certain duration. Some organisations are endowments, whereby a large amount of money is invested, and the earnings that money makes is used to run the yearly "operating" budget.

Types of Funding/Fundraising

Initially, we are going to look into the area of grant funding, where a funding agency requires a proposal to affect a certain well-defined set of goals.

Later on, we could review the process of formal fundraising, whereby entities raise small amounts of money by public appeal.

Motivation for fundraising: Vision

To effectively raise funds, organizations need a vision of what the purpose for the funds will be. Often this is a project scope, but many times it can be the sole purpose for an organization. With a vision, the organization requiring funding can field a budget and build a proposal which can be submitted to various funding agencies.

Research results


A few years ago I conducted research on money creation.

  • I tried filling out checks in various ways. I tried poking holes in checks and tearing checks. I tried drawing a line after my name and after numbers. I bounced checks.
  • Because of it, I got on a blacklist called ChexSystems. Banks won’t let people on this list have a bank account.
  • I found that banks always consider a check to be an instruction to send money from your checking account to who you wrote the check for. They don’t accept the check itself as money.
  • I then tried asking them for money. I found out they loan money. They want the money back with interest. Yes, that doesn’t make sense. However, that’s what they do.
  • I got kicked out of the building a couple of times. I kept going back, asking them to give me money, trying various mysterious phrases such as “have an account.” They started posting a uniformed security guard. So, it wasn’t how I worded the question. They don’t give money, and they don’t accept my say-so as money.
  • I then read the web site of a Bank to find out about grants. They only give grants to non-profit organizations and then only to the ones they want to.
  • I started reading a book on non-profit organizations. It turns out the founder of the non-profit organization can get fired by it and can’t be a director forever. Second, non-profit businesses are a lot of work. In other words, the bank won't grant money unless you work for the money. Yes, that doesn’t make sense. However, that’s what they do.

Ideas for Grants

Video (in conjunctions with Wikinews) - This is the current focus. Hoping to incorporate this as an "outreach" proposal.

Writing bounties of some sort


Study of how a large Internet site deploys software (MediaWiki for Wikimedia projects)

U.S. Grants

Canadian Grants

WMF grant links and groups

There is also an IRC channel dedicated to Wikimedia fundraising at: #wikimedia-fundraising (on Freenode)

Proposal Development

Steps to follow:

  • Write for Application forms and guides
  • Call a past grantee
  • Call a past reviewer
  • Contact the program officer

State the problem you are addressing, and how the project will meet the grantor's objectives with regards to this project.

See also

Resources for writing grants

  • Resources for writing grants for JISC - some useful analyses of previous grants, and thing to keep in mind for putting together a successful bid

External links


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