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Fundraising 101 – 10 Things to Remember Before You Fundraise

Ask anybody from the non-profit world what according to them is the most amazing fundraising work done recently, and I bet you would hear this one – The Ice Bucket Challenge. It was that powerful and that viral.
But its not everyday that you can create such a widely accepted fundraising challenge.

So what do you need to do if you want to fundraise on a smaller scale? Find answers in this post and also about how we approach our funding partners. Welcome to Fundraising 101


What is fundraising ?
It involves raising assets and resources from donors or supporters which powers a specific project.

What do You need to keep ready before you start fundraising?
1.  Your fundraising targets and budgets : When donors see what you are trying to reach they trust you more. They are then happy to make a small contribution to your goals.

2. Non-Profit Tax Status?
In a country where there is one non-profit for every 600 people approximately there is no dearth of fishy non-profits. Having your trusts deeds, Pan Card, Non – profit status proofs ready can be a huge factor when it comes to convince a donor to back your organisation

3. Donor Tracking Database :
This is a compilation of all the donors that you are targeting this financial year. Their representatives, their funding patterns, previously backed organisations, their budget for the year etc. The more thorough you are with your research the better are your chances to find a good match.

4. Donor Acknowledgement infrastructure:
What happens after the donor gives the money? Do you send receipts, do you send a thank you note from the founder, do you give them 80G certificates, Do you send them an e-mail?
Having this ready means you are a robust organisation with a good acknowledgement system in place. The donors get a feeling that their money has gone to responsible professional people and they are more likely to continue their funding.

Having your trusts deeds, Pan Card, Non – profit status proofs ready can be a huge factor when it comes to convince a donor to back your organisation

5. Trained Staff: 
How to make the first cold call? How to write a proposal letter? What should you include in the proposal letter? How do you approach for an apppointment to present your organisation? How to write a fundraising email?

These are the questions that should be ready with the fundraising staff responsible? Training the staff of your organisation and taking mocking sessions, taking them with you for fundraising meetings are just few of the ways to have a good team in place to take care of your organisation’s fundraising goals.

6. Knowledge of available funding resources.
With a limited amount of food to feed a millions mouths, India is a highly competitive market when it comes to raising funds. As pointed out earlier, there are close to 600 ngo’s for every 1000 people in India. Having a good database of active funding organisations, networking with funding organisations, schedule of funding, awareness of ad-hoc funding notices and opportunities is something every fund-raising manager needs to be aware of.

7. Basic Marketing Material of the Organisation.
Having all the required marketing collaterals in place goes a long way in impressing your donor. Often donors would ask you to leave a pamphlet for consideration and discussion with their partners.
List of things that you need to have ready but not limited to :
1. Visiting card
2. Pamphlet
3. Annual Report
4. Previous donor list
5. Certificates and ngo proof.
6. Funding Options
7. Receipt book if you are expecting funding on the spot.

8. Firm Knowledge of Who You Are
Probably this pointer should have come on top. For any donor this is the most important thing to know.
Who are you?
Why should they fund you?
What does your organisation do?
What is your vision and mission?
Which is your area of operation?
What is the impact generated by your program?
Who are the beneficiaries?
How long have you been operational?
What are your objectives for the year?
How is the organisation’s goals aligned with the funding agency’s CSR goals or funding goals?

Each of these questions should be very thoroughly understood by the fundraising team.

9. Clarity and Agreement on How the funds will be used?
Its imperative to communicate clearly how the funds collected would be appropriated. Setting clear expectations on this aspect makes sure that the donor is not unhappy and probably would love to stick around for years.
Once you have an agreement it is also beneficial to make sure to inform the higher management of your ngo about the terms discussed and sign an Memorandum of Understanding in which the conditions discussed.
This helps in avoiding unexpected pullouts of funds and also ensures that common goals are met amicably.

10. Reporting :
Its crucial to understand that donors also have organisational priorities just you a non-profit has. Keeping the donor communicated periodically about how the funds are being used, about the launch of program, inviting them for program highlight events, sending quarterly or half yearly impact analysis reports are just few of the good-practices that ensure that your donors continue to trust in the credibility of your organisation.

We hope this was helpful. If you feel we missed out on any critical points. Do let us know in the comments below!


Saptarshi Baksi