Guest Post: 9 Tips to Create a Fundraising Culture in Your Organization

Fundraising Culture

The most successful organizations know that fundraising is the responsibility of every single associate and board member. However, the burden of raising funds often falls solely on the development staff, making it much more difficult for them to achieve their goals.

Success is far more likely if everyone is motivated enough to participate in fundraising activities and work together to overcome challenges. Unfortunately, society conditions people to be reluctant to ask for money, leaving most of an organization’s staff members hesitant to request donations.

Many organizations also succumb to professionalized fundraising ? when program staff wants no part of assisting in fundraising efforts, making the development team believe the burden of raising money for the entire organization falls exclusively on them.

9 Tips for Creating a Fundraising Culture

Companies looking to create a fundraising culture can do so by putting these nine tips into action:

  1. Provide Regular Fundraising Training: Send staff and board members to periodic training sessions to develop and continuously reinforce fundraising skills. When they learn essential fundraising practices ? like how to ask for money and organize events ? they’ll gain the confidence and expertise needed to excel.
  2. Make Fundraising an Organizational Responsibility: When the burden of fundraising is shifted from the development team to the entire organization, people feel a shared responsibility to get involved. Not only does this distribute the workload more evenly, it also helps everyone feel invested in the fundraising process. For example, hold a competition between departments for who can raise more.
  3. Ask the Entire Organization for Input on Fundraising Activities: Gather everyone together to brainstorm innovative and effective fundraising ideas. If the entire team works together to determine the best ways to raise money, more ideas can be generated, increasing the chances of success. This also helps ensure all fundraising initiatives gain the support of the entire organization. If you cannot get everyone together, send out a Survey Monkey.
  4. Hold Bi-Annual Meetings to Discuss Fundraising and Society: Brown bag lunch anybody? Help people get more comfortable asking donors for money by discussing it together as a group. Not only will this allow those feeling a bit apprehensive to become more self-assured when approaching the matter, it also helps to build a sense of camaraderie among staff and board members.
  5. Gain Well-Rounded Support for Each Initiative: Include people from all areas of the organization in each fundraising activity. Major events are often the only types of activities that everyone is involved in, but that shouldn’t be the case. Smaller initiatives such as direct mail campaigns and phone-a-thons can also be more successful when given well-rounded support.
  6. Help People Get Involved: Give people a project to help out with as soon as they’ve received fundraising training. Some may require a bit of extra hand-holding, so start these people off small with minor tasks and allow them to work their way up to larger projects.
  7. Ask People to Complete an Annual Pledge Form: Allow staff and board members to choose which fundraising activities they’d like to be part of and how they wish to contribute by asking them to complete an annual pledge form. When people are able to choose their level of participation, they’re much more likely to get involved.
  8. Lead Fundraising Initiatives by Example: Staff and board members look to the executive director and chair of the board for guidance, so they set the tone of the entire organization on fundraising matters. If these top leaders see fundraising as the sole responsibility of the development team, everyone else will too. Conversely, if they’re actively participating in fundraising projects, the others will follow their lead.
  9. Work Fundraising Into the Company Culture: Remain committed to creating a fundraising culture, even when the going gets rough. Remember, this is not a quick process ? it can take years to fully gain the support of everyone in the organization, but this ongoing effort is worth it.

If an entire organization works together on fundraising efforts, amazing results can be achieved. It can take a great deal of time and effort to get everyone involved, but don’t give up. When people realize the power they have to make a difference, they’ll be inspired to keep working hard to raise funds for the common good.

Dean Vella


Dean Vella writes about business and nonprofit leadership on behalf of Bisk Education, a facilitator of transformational leadership and leading nonprofit boards courses.

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