Sherman County eNews Special Edition G

Sherman County eNews Special Edition G

  1. Fundraising Basics

  2. 53 Ways for Board Members to Raise $500

  3. The Ten Most Important Things You Can Know About Fundraising

  4. Thanking Your Donors

  5. Donor Recognition: News Releases – Print, Radio & Cable – & Newsletters

  6. Why People Give: Tips for Effective Fundraising

  7. Grassroots Fundraising

  8. Book: Guide to Rural Fundraising

1. Fundraising Basics


  1. Were you recruited to the fundraising committee of your board?
  2. Were you recruited to the board without being told fundraising was your responsibility?
  3. Did you recently add fundraising tasks to your other work?
  4. Do you have a great idea to improve your community but need money to do it?
  5. Do you find that you know less about fundraising than you wish?

Here are the three most important things to know about fundraising right up front:

  1. People give when they are asked, and rarely give when they are not. Even when people are asked, they don’t always give. So, you need to ask for more gifts than the number you need to bring in, and you need to be comfortable with people saying “No.”
  2. Donors are not ATMs. You need to thank them and keep them posted on what your organization is doing with their money if you want them to give more than once.
  3. You can’t raise all the money your group needs by yourself. Spend some time building a team of people to help you.

If you don’t have time to thank donors, you don’t have time to have donors.

2. 53 Ways for Board Members to Raise $500

~ Effective Organizations, Ford Leadership Institute and Rural Development Initiatives, Inc.  Summarized, briefly…

All good fund raising plans have one thing in common: they show a diverse number of sources for their income. The board of directors plays a crucial role in the selection, implementation and evaluation of fundraising strategies. Board members may individually commit to raising and giving a certain amount of money. The basic premise of fundraising – you must ask, you must give. Everything after that involves creativity, imagination and a sense of fun.

  1. Give $500 yourself, the easiest way.
  2. Hand write letters on your own stationery asking all your friends for specific amounts. Include an organizational brochure and return envelope. Phone those who do not respond in two weeks.
  3. Give part of the $500, then ask your friends to join you in giving smaller amounts to match. This is most effective because you are not asking them to do anything you haven’t done.
  4. Set up a challenge campaign, saying you will give $5 for every $25 they give. Challenge gifts can be quite small.
  5. Use all of your organization’s fundraising strategies.. raffle tickets, buying gift memberships, recruiting new members.
  6. Help with a phone-a-thon. Provide names of people you think would like to join or contribute.
  7. Acquire mailing lists for your organization. Set up an exchange with another organization.
  8. Give the organization something needed with a $500 value.
  9. Pledge $20 a month and get one other person to do likewise. Sell $20 worth of raffle tickets.
  10. Teach a seminar on a subject you know. Charge $35-50.
  11. Give some or a lot of things to your organization’s garage sale, total value of $500. Then help sell it all.
  12. With 4 or 5 friends, have a spaghetti dinner and charge $10 a head. Extra for wine or dessert.
  13. Have a fancy dinner in your home or a regular dinner in someone’s home.. serve unusual or gourmet food, special entertainment. Charge $25 for 20 or more guests.
  14. Get three friends help with a progressive dinner… hors d’oeuvres … next house for soup and/or salad … next house for the main course… last for dessert.
  15. Host a wine and cheese party. Do not charge admission, invite as many people as you can. Give a short presentation about your organization and ask everyone to consider a gift of $25, $50, $100…. Pass out envelopes. After the party, contact everyone individually and ask for a major gift or thank those who gave and indicate that you have given, and maybe how much.
  16. Get your gambling friends together for a poker party. Charge $5 entrance fee. Every pot will be split with your organization. Win-win!
  17. Do one fundraising event every other month that nets at least $75. This might look like this: Poker Party $100, Fancy Dinner 8 people x $25 = $200, 50 raffle tickets at $1 = $50.
  18. Solicit small businesses and service clubs for $500. Simple proposal and oral presentation.
  19. Take a part-time or temporary job and give what you earn up to $500.
  20. Ask 5-10 people to save all their change for 3-5 months.
  21. Ask 2-5 friends to help with a book sale, bake sale, garage sale. An excellent way to get people involved in fundraising without asking them for money.
  22. For those who can, give your organization $5,000 as an interest-free loan for a year. They invest it, earn interest and give you your money back at the end of the year.
  23. Sell your organization’s T-shirts, bumper stickers, books, novelties.
  24. The Farming-Out Method. Ask 5 friends to sell 50 raffle tickets each.
  25. Get a famous or popular person to attend a special event. Watch the costs on this one; you could lose money.
  26. Invite people to your birthday party. Ask that, in lieu of gifts, they give money to your organization.
  27. Canvas the neighborhood, taking your fundraising or project literature, and ask for contributions.
  28. Lead or ask someone to lead a nature walk, town walking tour, architectural tour, historic tour, boating trip, rafting trip or horseback ride. Charge $15-25 per person or charge $35 and provide lunch. Advertise well beyond your organization.
  29. Start a 12 x 12 dinner. Invite 12 people and charge $12 each. Get two of those 12 to do the same and two people from each of those two dinners to invite 12 to dinner and so on. Your dinner $12 x 12 = $144; next round $288; and so on!
  30. Collect cans for recycling. Ask all your friends to save their cans and bottles for your organization.
  31. Can you sell your frequent flyer miles or donate them for a raffle? Check airline rules.
  32. If you have access to a weekend cottage, rent it out for a weekend or a week two or three times a year and give the proceeds to your organization.
  33. If you own a valuable dog and breed it, you could donate the proceeds from one or two puppies.
  34. Organize a service raffle. Ask four people to donate a simple but valuable service that many people could use and sell raffle tickets for $3 – $5 each. Keep the price a little high so you don’t have to sell so many and so the buyers have a higher chance to win. Services could include child care for a weekend, a day of house cleaning or yard work or painting,
  35. Offer to do something your friends or family have been nagging you to do anyway, put a price on it and ask your friends to donate that to your organization. Example: quit smoking, stop eating sugar, start exercising on the condition that friends and family members contribute to your group.
  36. Does another organization you belong to have a small discretionary fund?
  37. Research service clubs to see what their giving policies are for small amounts.
  38. Determine what equipment or tools or materials your organization needs and try to get them donated. Great way for people who hate to ask for money to ask for things that cost money. Examples: garden tools, computer, paper, office furniture (second-hand from banks and corporations), calculators, etc.
  39. Ask someone to donate $50 a month for a year. Ask four people to donate $10 a month for a year. Ask nine people to donate $5 a month. Does your organization have the capacity to send reminders? Or send them yourself.
  40. Give the $500 yourself. This is so good it has to be said twice.
  41. Leave the organization a bequest.
  42. Get friends to include your organization in their wills.
  43. Ask friends belonging to other organizations to discuss your organization and pass the hat for donations. A once-a-year sweep of small organizations can yield $100 from each.
  44. Ask your church to pass the collection plate twice, once for the church, once for your organization and your group can give a brief talk about your organization and the importance of this money.
  45. A variation on the collection plate, get as many churches as possible to do this.
  46. If you have a childhood collection stored in the basement, consider selling it. Coins and stamps increased in value over the years. When you donate the income from the sale, you can deduct the amount from your taxes, since you paid little or nothing for these items.
  47. Have a sidewalk or garage sale for your whole neighborhood or work place. Ask them to donate all or half the proceeds.
  48. Artistic? Offer to design greeting cards, flyers, announcements, invitations or certificates for a fee that you can donate to your organization. Create unique Halloween costumes or masks and donate the proceeds.
  49. Create a take-off on the “adopt-a-highway” program by naming budget items that are available for adoption. Develop a flyer that asks for help, $25 a month, for example, for computer maintenance.
  50. Hold an “I’m Not Afraid” auction. Survey a few people and use your own common sense to determine what people need to have done in their homes and offices that they may be afraid of or would rather not do. Examples: window washing too high on the ladder, drain cleaning, rain gutter cleaning, minor roof repairs, cleaning out garages, woodsheds and basements, mowing, sweeping, cleaning, and designing paper goods (greeting cards, flyers, announcements, invitations or certificates).
  51. Hold a “Details Auction” for those whose desks are overflowing, piles are not filed, need addresses updated, envelopes addressed, flyers mailed, have shopping needs.
  52. Find out which of your friends work in corporations or businesses with matching gift programs. Ask them to donate and have their gift matched.
  53. Some local businesses where your organization’s members shop can afford to donate a percentage of profits for a day. Let everyone you know that Joe’s Shop will give 2% of each sale during Valentine’s weekend to your group.

3. The Ten Most Important Things You Can Know About Fundraising


[NOTES from the article…] These are not presented in order of importance, although #1 is probably the most important; nor are they in order of difficulty.


While there are some people who will simply send an organization money or offer money without being asked, there are not enough of them to build a donor base around. Most people will not think to give you money unless you make your needs known. This is not because they are cheap or self-centered; it is because most people have no idea how much it costs to run a nonprofit, or how nonprofits get money. If you don’t ask them, they will simply assume you are getting the money somewhere. They have no reason to think your group needs money unless you tell them, the same way they have no reason to know if you are hungry, or unhappy, or needing advice. Millard Fuller, who founded Habitat for Humanity, says, “I have tried raising money by asking for it, and by not asking for it. I always got more by asking for it.”

  1. THANK BEFORE YOU BANK Once you receive money, you must thank the person who gave it to you. Thank-you notes do not need to be fancy and should not be long. If at all possible, they should include a personal note, even if it is from someone who does not know the donor. You can add something as simple as, “Hope to meet you sometime,” or “Check out our website,” or “Happy holidays,” or even, “Thanks again – your gift really helps.” Late thank-yous are better than no thank you at all, but photo-copied thank-yous are almost the same as no thank you.

The bottom line… if you don’t have time to thank donors, you don’t have time to have donors.


A survey of donors who gave away more than $5,000 a year asked, “What is your relationship with your favorite group?” Several gave similar answers, even though they did not know each other and did not give to the same group. All the answers were on this theme: “I would love to be considered a friend, but I am more of an ATM. They come to me when they need money, they tell me how much, I give it to them, and the next time I hear from them is when they need more.”

This is a terrible indictment of much of what passes as fundraising. How can we make sure our donors don’t feel this way? The answer is very simple, make sure you don’t feel that way about your donors. The majority of donors require practically no attention. They have the resilience of cacti — the slightest care makes them bloom. Thank-you notes, easy-to-understand newsletters, and occasional respectful requests for extra gifts will keep people giving year in and year out. Think of your donors as ambassadors for your group. Design your materials so that donors will be proud to give your newsletter to a friend or recommend your group when their service club or professional organization is looking for an interesting speaker, or forward your e-mails to several of their colleagues. By treating your donors as whole people who have a number of gifts to offer your group, including their financial support, you will have more financial support from existing donors, more fun fundraising, more donors and the peace of mind knowing that you are not treating anyone as an object.


There are three sources of funding for all the nonprofits in the United States:

  • earned income (such as products and fees for service),
  • government (public sector),
  • and the private sector, which includes foundations, corporations and individuals.

For the nearly 60 years that records about who gives money away have been kept, at least 80% of this money has been shown to be given by individuals. In 2002, total giving by the private sector was almost $241 billion, and 84.2 percent of that ($202 billion) was given by individuals! These people are all people — there is no significant difference in giving patterns by age, race, or gender. Income is not nearly the variable that one would think: middle-class, working-class and poor people are generous givers and account for a high percentage of the money given away.

In fact, a study by Arthur Blocks of the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University showed that 19% of families living on welfare give away an average of $72 a year! Too often, people think they can’t raise money because they don’t know any wealthy philanthropists. It is a great comfort to find that the people we know, whoever they are, are adequate to the task. Seven out of ten adults give away money. Focus your work on these givers, and help teach young people to become givers.


No one is obligated to support your group — no matter what you have done for them, no matter how wealthy they are, no matter how much they give to other groups, how close a friend they are of the director, or any other circumstance that makes it seem they would be a likely giver.

People say no for all kinds of reasons: they don’t have extra money right now; they just gave to another group; they don’t give at the door, over the phone, by mail; a serious crisis in their family is consuming all their emotional energy; they are in a bad mood. Rarely does their refusal have anything to do with you or your group. Sometimes people say no because they have other priorities, or they don’t understand what your group does. Sometimes we hear no when the person is just saying, “I need more time to decide,” or “I need more information,” or “I misunderstood something you said.” So, first be clear that the person is saying no, and not something else like, “Not now,” or “I don’t like special events.” Once you are certain that the person has said no, accept it. Go on to your next prospect. If appropriate, write the person a letter and thank them for the attention they gave to your request. Then let it go. If you don’t hear no several times a week, you are not asking enough people


A good fundraiser requires three character traits as much as any set of skills. These traits are:

  •  first, a belief in the cause for which you are raising money and the ability to maintain that belief during defeats, tedious tasks, and financial insecurity;
  • second, the ability to have high hopes and low expectations, allowing you to be often pleased but rarely disappointed;
  • and third, faith in the basic goodness of people.

Fundraising is a means to an end, a way to promote a cause, a very necessary skill in achieving goals and fulfilling missions.


Too often, organizations get confused about what fundraising is and is not. To apply for a grant just because the money is available and not because the work will promote your mission is called fund chasing.

Similarly, if your organization seems to be running into a deficit situation, cutting items out of the budget may be necessary but should not be confused with fundraising. When deficits loom, the fund squeezing question is, “How can we cut back on spending?”; the fundraising question is “Where can we get even more money?”

Finally, putting money aside for a rainy day, or taking money people have given you for annual operating and program work and being able to put some of it into a savings account is a good idea. Where savings becomes hoarding, however, is when no occasion seems important enough to warrant using the savings.

Fund chasing, fund squeezing, and fund hoarding need to be replaced with an ethic that directs the group to seek the money it needs, spend it wisely, and set some

aside for cash-flow emergencies or future work.


We need to eliminate the idea that fundraising is like begging. Begging is when you ask for something you do not deserve. If you are doing good work, then you deserve to raise the money to do it. What you must do is figure out how to articulate what you are doing so that the person hearing it, if they share your values, will want to exchange their money for your work. They will pay you to do work they cannot do alone.


We have been taught not to talk about money or to ask for it, except under very limited circumstances. Many of us are taught that money is a private affair. Having too little or too much can be a source of shame and embarrassment, yet money is also a source of status and power. Most people would like to have more money, yet most will also admit that money doesn’t buy happiness.

Our attitudes toward fundraising are a subset of our larger attitudes toward money. The most important change we can make in our attitudes toward fundraising is to remember that success in fundraising is defined by how many people you ask rather than how much money you raise. This is because some people are going to say no, which has got to be all right with you. The more people you ask, the more yes answers you will eventually get.

Finally, if you are anxious about asking for money or would rather not ask, this is normal. But ask yourself if what you believe in is bigger than what you are anxious about. Keep focused on your commitment to the cause and that will propel you past your doubts, fears, and anxieties.


Though humorous, this formula underscores the fact that fundraising is three parts planning for one part doing … an hour of planning can save five hours of work, leaving much more time both to plan and to work. Planning also avoids that awful feeling of “How can I ever get everything done,” and that sense of impending doom. It moves us out of crisis mentality. … The easiest way to plan something is to start by defining the end result you want and when you want it to happen, then work backwards from that point to the present.

4. Thanking Your Donors

~ Also see #3 above: THANK BEFORE YOU BANK!

Thank your donors! Build your donor base!

  1. People need to be appreciated by and connected to your organization.
  2. Your thank-you note is an investment in maintaining your donor base.
  3. The more personal it is the better in cultivating your donors. Instead of Dear Friend make it Dear Betty.
  4. Thank the donor promptly.
  5. Let the donor know that your organization recognizes the importance of the gift.
  6. Be specific in how the money will be used: programs, operations, equipment, etc. “Your contribution allowed us to…”
  7. Enclose a receipt for the contribution to be used for tax deduction purposes.
  8. Provide an update with your thank you note … your organization’s accomplishments, a news clipping, information about the challenges you face, underscoring the importance of your work, statistical reports.
  9. Thankfulness expressed in a thank-you note can also be expressed to the donor AND a potential donor in a news release or your newsletter.


Don’t assume that people know you appreciate them or their help. Tell them. You know yourself how much a thank you means — and how good it makes you feel when someone says it. Take the time to thank people no matter how busy you are. It’s not only good for the soul, it’s also the best public relations booster there is.

Send thank you notes and, whenever possible, hand write them. Send them to donors, to volunteers, to colleagues, and to anyone else who does you a good turn. In this day of form letters, e-mail and printed receipts, handwritten thank you notes are cherished goodwill builders.

Always thank donors. When it comes to fundraising, saying thank you is essential. It’s hard to imagine it not being a priority for some nonprofits, especially since people are giving money that they aren’t required to give. Surprisingly, the number one donor recognition problem is not acknowledging gifts, period. 

When thanking donors, promptness counts. It can even make a difference in how much they’ll contribute in the future. How prompt is prompt? Donors who were called more than 48 hours after their gifts were received thought they were being solicited for another donation. 

Make your donor thank you letters warm and personal. To the recipient, a canned, overly formal thank you can sometimes feel worse than not receiving one at all. But unless you’re one of the lucky ones who has a natural talent for it, writing creative, meaningful thank you letters can be a challenge. You can be creative by leaving the thank you for the end. You might say, We received  your donation and I can’t tell you how important it is. We’re putting it into this program, this is what it’s going to do, here is the time line, and you can expect to hear from us again next October when we’re going to tell you what the money has accomplished. And then say thank you.

Thank-you notes do not need to be fancy and should not be long. If at all possible, they should include a personal note, even if it is from someone who does not know the donor. You can add something as simple as, “Hope to meet you sometime,” or “Check out our website,” or “Happy holidays,” or even, “Thanks again – your gift really helps.” Late thank-yous are better than no thank you at all, but photo-copied thank-yous are almost the same as no thank you.

Consider running a Thank-a-thon. In addition to thanking donors at the time of their actual gift, take thank you one step further by holding a holiday-thank-a-thon. Making holiday calls to those who gave to your organization during the year conveys the message that “We noticed you gave. It mattered. We appreciate you.”

A sincere thank you is one of the mightiest marketing and fundraising tools there is. Use its power often and well.

The bottom line… if you don’t have time to thank donors, you don’t have time to have donors.

5. Donor Recognition: News Releases – Print, Radio & Cable – & Newsletters 

Donors may be recognized in several ways.

  • PRIORITY #1 – Thank-you notes right away!
  • Organizational newsletters sometimes list donors in categories, recognizing their gifts… money, services, materials.
  • Print – newspaper public service announcements
  • Radio – public service announcements – fax or e-mail 16 lines, 16 point type.

6. Why People Give: Tips for Effective Fundraising

Looking at the Big Picture: The 5 Key Ingredients of Effective Fundraising

To fundraise effectively, an organization needs an effective fundraising plan. A concise plan will help an organization reach new donors. Objectives for increasing donors must be clearly outlined and planning needs to incorporate strong volunteer leadership, timelines, communications, and more.

The 5 key ingredients to effective fundraising are:

  1. Knowing what motivates individuals/groups to donate;
  2. Knowing your project;
  3. Being aware of potential sources of funding;
  4. Developing a strategy;
  5. Being familiar with your organization and its resources.

Knowing what motivates individuals/groups to donate.

People give to people!” . . . a well used phrase in fundraising. Statistics indicate that 75 cents of every Canadian dollar donated in a year was given by individuals. Some examples of what motivates individuals/groups to donate include:

  • people like to help others;
  • they may have a personal involvement or commitment to the group and cause;
  • they seek recognition;
  • they enjoy the event;
  • ego gratification;
  • the need to belong to an organization by either donating their time or money;
  • community pride;
  • religious point of view;
  • compassion;
  • community pressure;
  • guilt;
  • just because they were asked to give!

If you don’t understand why people give, then you can’t design a program for them.

People will want to know what it is they are being asked to support. Some things to be aware of include:

  • the costs involved;
  • the benefits to community and organization;
  • exactly how much money you need – not how much money you think you could raise;
  • when are the dollars needed, and
  • the cash flow required to see the project through.

Potential Sources of Funding

There are several different ways your group can choose from to raise money. They include:

  • Special Event/Activity Fundraising;
  • Individual Donations;
  • Private Sector Foundations and Companies;
  • Foundations and other grant making agencies; and
  • Federal and Provincial Government.

Remember that’s Funding and Fundraising section offers an extensive list of funding sources, tips for recruiting corporate donors, and lots of ideas for fundraising activities.  ~

7. Grassroots Fundraising

Five reasons that volunteers make the best fundraisers:

  • They’re passionate.
  • No financial self-interest.
  • They’re donors, too.
  • They can ask for help.
  • Donors admire their courage.

Because fundraising is about developing and honoring relationships, anyone can do it.

Fundraising Ideas That Work: Grassroots Fundraising Journal

  • “A pledge of $28 per month, which is relatively affordable, in three years adds up to $1,000.”
  • “Does everyone in the organization agree that your group should exist permanently?
  • What will endowment income be used for? … An endowment is like a cathedral… it is never finished.”
  • Total giving in the USA in 2004 is estimated to total $248.52 BILLION. As a percentage, individuals gave 75.6%, bequests totaled 8%, foundations gave 11.6% and corporations provided 4.8%, according to Giving USA: The Annual Report on Philanthropy 2004.
  • More information at American Association of Fundraising Counsel
  • Grassroots Fundraising Journal.

8. Book: Guide to Rural Fundraising


Guide to Rural Fundraising By Kim Klein, National CASA.

Rural Fundraising: Success Stories for CASA/GAL Programs. The National CASA Association commissioned Kim Klein, the nation’s premiere grassroots fundraising authority, to develop this anthology of successful strategies.

This guide describes successful and easy-to-imitate fundraising strategies. An introductory essay by Kim Klein titled “Raising Money in Rural Communities” describes basic principles of rural fundraising. The second part of the manual contains 15 examples of successful strategies, from direct mail to events to earned income. Each example is described in some detail, and most are accompanied by sample materials. While the majority of the examples are not from CASA/GAL programs, they can easily be easily adapted for your use.