Fundraising Policies & Practices
All organizations and disciplines need to define the policies and practices by which they will operate, and nonprofits are no different. Development operations need to have a set of rules within which they will function.
They need to know what types of gifts they will accept from whom and with what conditions attached. They need to know who will ask and have guidelines for how that ask will be made. They need to have a uniform way of responding to and thanking donors.
An organization needs to know how it should organize and staff its development office and pay those who staff it. It needs to know where the legal lines are drawn and how to avoid crossing them.
In short, a nonprofit organization needs fundraising policies and practices so that it doesn’t have to make decisions on the fly or miss opportunities.
Articles about Fundraising Policies & Practices
In my hands is a slick, well done brochure for a capital campaign. The nonprofit organization that has produced it wants to build a new $6.5 million facility. Dates are given for ground breaking, commencement of construction, building completion, and dedication of the...read more
I am often asked—and it is a recurring topic in fund-raising forums—about whether non-profits should have a formal gift-acceptance policy. My questioners aren't just concerned about the rare donation that may come with a tinge of doubt about the donor or a level of...read more
There are members of the boards of trustees of nonprofit organizations who would like to lessen, even eliminate, the fundraising responsibility that comes with their position. Doing so is not wise, but that has not stopped some boards from establishing other bodies...read more
Let’s pretend you’re the person in a nonprofit organization charged with seeking grants and that your boss is going to hold you accountable to one or more of the following standards. You must get _____ proposals "out the door" every_____. You must get ____% of the...read more
When you receive gifts of products, time and services, be aware that your organization can be held in even greater regard by donors of such In-Kind gifts, should you express your gratitude in a meaningful way—in a manner far and above how these contributions are...read more
Mixing Oil and Water and Making it Work in a Non-Profit Organization The receiving and the handling of donations made to non-profit organizations are simple to do, but very often poorly done. When that happens, a vital block is taken out of the foundation we strive to...read more
Pro Bono: "Especially for the Public Good" (Merriam-Webster) The dictionary definition of pro bono fits well with non-profit organizations, which themselves are also for "the public good," according to the IRS description of how they must be created and operated. And...read more
Wearing Those Development and Marketing "Hats" at the Same Time: A Bad Fit and a Headache Introduction For decades, I have heard about, observed, and have had personal relationships with scores of individuals who attempted to wear the Development and...read more
Disasters and crises can occur anywhere, at any time. Hopefully they won't have the impact of mega-disasters such as the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks or of 2005's hurricane Katrina. However, even disasters of considerably less magnitude can impede the...read more
(It Makes for a More Perfect Fund-raising World) Introduction The fund-raising "left hand" not knowing what the "right hand" is doing when it comes to who is asking whom for how much, for which purpose, and when, has always been a common dilemma for non-profit...read more
Paying For Your Own Keep Too often, especially in smaller non-profit organizations, staff development officers are forced into a deplorable position that belittles them and damages the organization. They are charged with personally raising their own salaries. These...read more
In a nonprofit organization, no single internal relationship is more important than that between the executive director and development director. One carries the responsibility of leading the organization to the efficient execution of its mission, and the other...read more
Talk of developing a system to evaluate the sustainability of non-profit organizations has been on the rise. Centered around measuring outcomes in terms of percentages or ratios, the goal of such a system appears to be twofold: To create a filter that will allow...read more
I am made increasingly aware of the conflict non-profit organizations experience when faced with choosing between: Raising the money they need using a traditional philanthropic process. Making a profit from selling and endorsing commercial products and services. The...read more
Is there a "standard" or "industry" percentage ratio of our endowment funds—funds working to provide annual income—which can relate that corpus/principal amount to key financial statements such as the annual expense budget, operating deficit, annual fund campaign...read more
Whether you already have some form or endowment or are about to embark on your first endowment campaign (see the article Endowment Funds Go on Forever But an Endowment Campaign Should Not ) you need to be ready, willing, and able to steward your endowment funds and...read more
Fitting Annual, Endowment, Capital, Sponsorship & Underwriting Campaigns into Your Organization’s Plans and then Making Them “Sing”
Remember those great old movies with Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland? The ones in which the "kids" had a money-raising dilemma that perplexed and perplexed them. All of a sudden Mickey would light up with youthful exuberance and optimism. He'd turn to Judy, and say, "I...read more
Few topics generate more heated discussion in non-profit organizations than whether development professionals (staff or consultants) should be paid a percentage of the money raised, receive commission-based compensation, or be paid a performance bonus. Perhaps because...read more
Never Hire Someone To Do What Is Their Responsibility Fund-Raising Consultants Can Be A Godsend. They Can Also Be An Ethical, Financial And Donor Relations Disaster For organizations with an inexperienced, small, or nonexistent development staff, consultants can do...read more