Is your agency in need of extra funds for a project, program or service? Are you gearing up for end-of-the-year giving? Perhaps turning fundraising into friendraising will work for you.
For the sake of this blog, we are not equating fundraising with grant writing, although potential contributors—especially corporations—may need a letter or application in order to grant or donate funds to your agency. Below, are just a few axioms in fundraising that Community Action Agencies should remember:
It’s really not fundraising. People don’t give to agencies, they give to people. Relationships that your staff has developed (or should development) with community members drives in large part how many dollars are given to your organization. You develop and/or enhance those relationships by sharing the success stories of your clients and your agency. Tug at the heart strings for some, present a case statement about why you need funds to others. And make fundraising events, FUNraising! People of all ages like to have fun.
Programs should drive fundraising, not the other way around. Going for a money grab for a program or service that is not in your mission demonstrates one thing to the community while seeking funds to enhance or expand a successful program sends quite another.
Develop and implement a diverse fundraising plan, including direct mail, special events, corporate giving, and planned giving (bequests). Take advantage of activities, such as smile.amazon.com, that require little effort.
What has worked for you in the past? Comment below and let us know your tips and tricks to a success fundraising campaign.
Jeffrey Diver is the executive director of Supports to Encourage Low-Income Families (SELF), the state-designated Community Action Agency in Butler County, Ohio. Throughout his career, he has actively served on numerous coalitions, committees and boards, often being elected to leadership positions. He also services as an Internal Consultant with OACAA specializing in Bridges Out of Poverty curriculum, board training, customer service and strategic planning.