Characteristics of Strong Fundraising Programs

Posted by on Jul 13, 2011 in Fundraising | No Comments

Achieve Resource Library By Hannah Staton, Public Relations Associate, Achieve

When it comes to fundraising programs, we have seen it all at Achieve. We’ve worked with clients at all stages of building and maintaining their fundraising programs.

Establishing a fundraising program is an ongoing process that demands constant attention and a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. Knowing the effort required, we would love to discover the perfect formula that could be instantly implemented to overnight success. (“Come one, come all, and buy a bottle of Magical Fundraising Formula, sure to flood your organization with donations for the rest of its days!”)

Alas, no such easy solution exists. The good news is, while we don’t have a magic formula, there are qualities that we’ve noticed in all organizations with established fundraising programs. So, we put together a list of characteristics of strong fundraising programs to share with you:

The 5 Characteristics of Strong Fundraising Programs:

1) They are built to fundraise. Fundraising isn’t just something that has to be done in successful fundraising programs. Fundraising is a function of the organization, with the necessary structure and systems in place. There are staff, metrics, strategies, and mechanisms in place to foster a culture of fundraising.

2) Their boards walk the walk. A strong development committee leads by example. They make personal contributions to the cause, direct the process of goal setting, and hold fellow board members accountable for their financial commitments.

3) Major gifts are major priorities. Major gifts are built directly into successful fundraising programs by following a thoughtful plan to identify prospects and allocate resources for prospect research. They also employ a mechanism to track the solicitation process effectively. Staff and volunteers spend substantial time calling on prospects, building relationships, and personally soliciting gifts.

4) Their annual funds “cradle” major gift work. Annual fund programs are intended to identify new donors each year, increase the level of giving from all previous donors, and make an all-out attempt to retain donors from year to year. Fundraising success in the annual fund relates directly to investments of time and energy.

5) They invest in staffing. Successful fundraising programs are staffed by highly-qualified individuals who feel passionate for the cause and believe in results-driven benchmarks.

For more information on additional fundraising tools and resources, check out Achieve Resource Library