The other day, a friend told me that her organisation wasn’t going to bother fundraising. They are a small organisation, which has had some success with trusts in the past but they don’t see the point in investing more time and resources into building their fundraising programme as they receive enough income from other sources.
Often organisations are put off fundraising because they don’t have a fundraiser, they can get by with the other funding they have, they have a board that doesn’t want to invest in fundraising, or they simply don’t know where to start and feel it will be too much effort.
Of course, if you are in the fortunate position of having enough funding to cover your core activity through public funds and earned income, you may consider that fundraising is an additional activity that you don’t have the time or resources to invest in. But what if your funding situation changes? What if you need more income this year for a special project that you want to deliver? If you have no relationships with other potential supporters – be they trusts, individuals or sponsors – it will make the task of finding additional funding infinitely more difficult.
Fundraising does require investment – time, resources and money – and it requires planning to establish how your organisation should manage and target fundraising to best suit your particular needs. But organisations spend so much time trying to get their message out to new people all the time – be they audiences, volunteers or service users – why would they not want to use that message differently to reach people and organisations that could inevitably invest in them?
The very act of communicating with and to potential supporters will also help you to use more and different channels to get your message out. Can this necessarily be a bad thing? It may not only introduce you to potential donors but could result in more volunteers, more customers, service users or audiences, depending on your type of organisation – all helping you to meet your aims and objectives and potentially grow your earned income, as well as your philanthropic and sponsorship income.
Fundraising, particularly when you have no dedicated resources in terms of staff or time, may seem like an impossible task but with careful planning – planning and systems are key to ensuring fundraising sustainability – it can be achieved and ultimately, worth more to your organisation that it costs. Of course, there will be some initial effort required – there always is with any new activity – but surely, it is worth it, particularly in current times when no funding is assured? Look at your resources and consider using them effectively to deliver some key fundraising goals.
Ultimately, introducing philanthropic income and sponsorship will enable you to diversify your income and, more importantly, increase the sustainability of your organisation in the future.
Perhaps you don’t agree? Or maybe you have other suggestions as to why an organisation should consider fundraising?