Fundraising for your Nonprofit Organization

Lindy Turner of the Clinch-Powell RC&D made a presentation on fundraising at a meeting of CEDnet. The following advice was excerpted from her presentation:

Take a good hard look at your organization. Is it mission-focused, passionate, results-oriented, visionary, dynamic, diverse, accountable, risk-taking, entrepreneurial, and involved in community affairs?


Does it lack vision, energy, diversity, and passion, and urgency? Does it have poor
attendance, and a governing body that's not powerful enough? Is it just another required meeting for its members?


Do an honest assessment.

  • Would you invest in your organization?
  • Do you have a Board of clones? (You must have diversity.)
  • Are you relevant and real (or are you just chasing money)?
  • Are you in control of your destiny? (Do you have a plan? Most funding organizations want to see a long-term plan of at least 5 years.)
  • Ask yourself, If we went out of business, who would really care? (Why do you exist? What is the problem or need that is central to your organization=s concern? What special service or programs do you offer?)

Remember ...

  • Your nonprofit organization is a BUSINESS! (You must look at sponsors, partners and donors as investors).
  •  onprofit does NOT mean broke!
  • It takes money to make money.
  • A primary responsibility of the Board of Directors is fundraising. (Your organization can't afford deadwood on the board).
  • Continual publicity/marketing efforts are vital to showing sponsors how you're doing
  • Those who provide funding talk to one and another, and usually make donations in line with the size of last year's donations. For example, if the maximum donation you have received is $100, you probably won=t receive a donation of $5,000. This is why it's important to grow your donation.
The material in this publication is based on work supported by the U.S. Small Business Administration under cooperative agreement SBAHG-04-S-0001. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Updated May 2006
George Hannye