The Fundraiser’s Playbook – How to Raise Money
You need to raise money. Where do you start?
There are lots of ways to raise money. You just need to find the ones that are best suited to your skills and resources and put them to work.
The Fundraiser’s Playbook will help you to find the kind of fundraising program that fits you just right.
The Table of contents below will link you to lists of articles about different kinds of fundraising. Each section lists articles that shed light on a particular aspect of that type of fundraising. Click on a link in the table of contents, or just scroll down to the different sections.
First things first… The Key Concepts section has articles that are useful for pretty much everyone.
May God bless your fundraising efforts!
Table of Contents
Some concepts will help you no matter what kind of fundraising you’re trying to do. If you’ve been doing this for a long time, they might seem pretty basic. That’s because the fundamentals are always basic. If you don’t know the basics, you’re going to find fundraising for any amount, large or small, more difficult.
- Is my fundraising cost effective? Fundraising Return on investment.
- How can I find new donors? Donor acquisition.
- Can I ask donors to give again?Donor Cultivation.
- How do I inspire donors to keep giving? Donor Retention.
- Why am I losing donors? Donor Attrition.
- How do I segment my donors into meaningful groups? Donor segmentation.
- How do I encourage donors who have stopped giving to give again? Donor reactivation.
These tools will likewise help you, no matter what kind of fundraising you want to do.
- How do I create an annual fundraising plan?
- What is a fundraising case statement? And why do you need one?
- How do I write a program budget that donors can understand?
- How do I create a donor database?
The Annual Fund Drive is your yearly plan to raise money for your ministry. It will be made up of several different activities:
- Bringing in new donors (donor acquisition)
- Asking current donors to give again (donor cultivation)
- Reclaiming lost donors (donor reactivation).
Annual Fund Drives will look different at every organization, because each has different needs and different resources.
- What is an annual fund drive and how do I plan one?
- How can volunteers help with my annual fund drive?
- What is the United Way Campaign Model?
An annual stewardship campaign is a big push to get members to give their ‘Time, Talent, and Treasure’. Months of planning can be involved, leading to a month-long focus on stewardship commitments.
- What is an annual stewardship campaign?
- Is stewardship the same thing as fundraising?
- What is stewardship?
Your board of directors has an important role to play in fundraising. They can opening doors to new donors, build relationships with existing donors, and even help to ask major donors. If your board isn’t involved in fundraising, you’re missing out.
A Capital Campaign is a time limited fundraising campaign with a specific purpose. They often focus on building something big like a new church, building, warehouse, or religious house. Capital Campaigns are often quite difficult for new organizations. Sometimes, fundraising consultants can be brought in to aid full time staff.
Bake sales, rosary sales, pancake suppers, raffles, silent auction… any method that uses the profit from selling something to raise money is a charitable enterprise. Essentially, you run a little business and putting the profit to charitable use. A key weakness of this type of fundraising is that you focus is on selling a good or service rather than selling your mission.
- What are Charitable Enterprises?
- How do I set up a “Clothes Closet” ministry?”
- What do I need to run a silent auction?
- How do I run a raffle?
- What is a rummage sale? How do I run one?
- What is product marketing fundraising?
- Can you raise money with service projects?
Many companies have ‘community relations’ departments that oversee giving in the community. They follow many different models, from matching gifts and grant opportunities to employee giving drives and sponsorships.
- How can I raise money from corporations?
- How do I get corporate sponsorships?
- What is cause marketing?
- What is an employee giving campaign?
- How can matching gifts boost employee giving?
- What are gifts “in kind”?
A direct mail campaign uses the mail to describe a need and requests donations. It is very popular because it is relatively cheap and performs well.
- How do I raise money with direct mail?
- How can I start a direct mail program?
- Can I get new direct mail donors?
- How do I raise money with direct mail cultivation?
- How do I deal with fundraising writer’s block?
- What is a test mailing?
- How should I use thank you notes in my direct mail fundraising?
- How can my newsletters raise more money?
Email fundraising looks a lot like direct mail, except that it uses email rather than paper mail. It doesn’t tend to raise as much money as Direct Mail because people are more likely to delete their email than throw out a mail piece. Email fundraising is less expensive than direct mail, so it will continue to grow in popularity.
- How do I raise money with email?
- How can I find new donors using email?
- How can I use email to ask donors to give again?
Fundraising events might be a dinner, run, walk, golf tournament, or something totally new. They raise money by charging entry fees, selling auction items, team fundraising, getting sponsorships, etc. Events take a lot of time and energy to plan. Therefore, they tend to have a lower profit margin when compared with other fundraising types.
- How do I run a successful event fundraiser?
- How do I organize a golf tournament?
- How do I throw a successful gala dinner?
A food drive brings in food for a ministry and it can also help gather funds as well. Food and fund drives come in many flavors and can be effective for ministries of all sizes.
- How do I run a food drive?
- What fun food drive themes work?
- How do I set up a food drive competition?
- How can I use grocery bags for a food drive?
In the US, private and corporate foundations are organizations that exist to give away money. They get special tax benefits for doing so. They give based through process of written requests for funding.
Grant funders tend to be more sophisticated than individual donors. Your grant application will explain how you will use the grant funding will meet a need in the community. Churches with an attached parochial school or Cathedral are more likely to be eligible for these kinds of funding opportunities.
- How do I write grants?
- What do I need to know to start writing grants?
- How do I write a grant budget narrative?
- How do I manage my grant deadlines? Build a grant calendar!
- What on earth is a logic model?
- How do I write a donation request to a business?
- Can I find new grant opportunities?
- How do I get grantors to give again?
Major Gifts fundraising focuses on getting large one-time or multi-year gifts from individuals. It is one of the most rewarding types of fundraising in terms of monetary impact and relationship building. Small churches and ministries frequently miss out on major gift opportunities.
- What is major gift fundraising?
- How do I ask for major gifts?
- How do I find new major gift donors?
- What is prospect research?
- How can “Moves Management” help me bring in major gifts?
- Can volunteers help me get big gifts?
- How can a small dinner party bring in major gifts?
You don’t have to start a new ministry from scratch. Others have gone before you and succeeded. Here you’ll see some successful approaches others have used to serve.
The offertory is the primary fundraising tool in many, if not most, churches. At its simplest, this is the basket that goes around at Mass. Many churches are moving their offertory online by enabling members to make monthly gifts. Others are adding kiosks that take credit cards to take gifts from members who rarely carry cash.
- What is an offertory collection?
- What is the Tithe and why is it important?
- How will online giving increase our offertory?
- Can I get new offertory donors?
- How do I increase offertory giving?
- What is ‘Almsgiving’ all about?
At its most basic, raising money online only requires a donate button somewhere on your website. Strategies can get more sophisticated as you begin to use social media and email to request funding. If your website is not sophisticated enough raise money, you do have other options. Crowdfunding sites like GoFundMe and patron programs like Patreon provide platforms for you to raise money. Online fundraising is an area of tremendous growth will bear good fruit if you invest the necessary time and resources.
- How can I raise money online?
- How will crowdfunding help me raise money?
- Should my website have a donate button?
- How can I encourage monthly giving?
- Should I use text-to-give for fundraising?
- How do website pop-ups raise money?
- How do I get new donors online?
- What can I do to convince online donors to give again (and again)?
Personal ministry fundraising helps someone to raise money for a particular mission or ministry. It focuses on direct asks to friends, families, and associates who share a passion for the mission. This type of fundraising is great for mission related programs, but is also good for any new non-profit.
Phone based campaigns rely on volunteers or professionals to call current and former donors to request donations. They take lots of energy, but they provide a personal contact with many donors in a short time.
Planned gifts donate money, real estate, or other assets through a person’s estate plan or will. These gifts take years to cultivate, but are the biggest gifts that a church or ministry will ever get. Having a plan and a strategy to cultivate planned gifts is key!
- What is planned giving?
- Should I start an endowment?
- What is a bequest?
- Why are life estate gifts great for planned giving?
- What is a legacy society and how does it help with planned giving?
- What is a charitable gift annuity?
Team based fundraising, or peer-to-peer fundraising, uses volunteers who tap into their networks of friends to fundraise for your organization. This style of fundraising is often connected with online fundraisers as well as events like walks or golf tournaments.
Don’t see what you’re looking for here? Want to offer suggestions on how to make the Fundraiser’s Playbook even better? Shoot me an note at Ask the Almoner.
I want the Fundraiser’s Playbook to be the web’s best reference tool for fundraisers who serve in the Church and Ministry. Your ideas will help!