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Fundraising or fund raising (also development or advancement) is the process of soliciting and gathering contributions as money or other resources, by requesting donations from individuals, businesses, charitable foundations, or governmental agencies. Although fundraising typically refers to efforts to gather money for non-profit organizations, it is sometimes used to refer to the identification and solicitation of investors or other sources of capital for-profit enterprises.

Organizations

Fundraising is a significant way that non-profit organizations may obtain the money for their operations. These operations can involve a very broad array of concerns such as religious or philanthropic groups such as research organizations, public broadcaster, and political campaigns.

Some examples of charitable organizations include student scholarship merit awards for athletic or academic achievement, humanitarian concerns, disaster relief, human rights, research, and other social issues.

Professional fundraisers

Many non-profit organizations take advantage of the services of professional fundraisers. These fundraisers may be paid for their services either through fees unrelated to the amounts of money to be raised, or by retaining a percentage of raised funds (percentage-based compensation). The latter approach is expressly forbidden under the Code of Ethics of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), a professional membership body.

Many non-profit organizations nonetheless engage fundraisers who are paid a percentage of the funds they raise. In the United States, this ratio of funds retained to funds passed on to the non-profit is subject to reporting to a number of state's Attorneys General. This ratio is highly variable and subject to change over time and place, and it is a point of contention between a segment of the general public and the non-profit organizations.

It should be noted that the term "professional fundraiser" is in many cases a legislated term referring to third-party firms whose services are contracted for; whereas "fundraising professionals" are often individuals on staff at charitable non-profits. Although potentially confusing, the distinction is an important one to note.

Religious organizations

Equally important are fundraising efforts by virtually every recognized religious group throughout the world. These efforts are organized on a local, national, and global level. Sometimes, such funds will go exclusively toward assisting the basic needs of others, while money may at other times be used only for evangelism. Usually, religious organizations mix the two, which can sometimes cause tension.

Political campaigns



Fundraising also plays a major role in political campaigns. This fact, despite numerous campaign finance reform laws, continues to be a highly controversial topic in Americanmarker politics. Political action committees (PACs) are the best-known organizations that back candidates and political parties, though others such as 527 groups also have an impact. Some advocacy organizations conduct fundraising for or against policy issues in an attempt to influence legislation.

Public broadcasting

While public broadcasters are completely government-funded in much of the world, there are many countries where some funds must come from donations from the public. Pledge drives commonly occur about three times each year, usually lasting one to two weeks each time. Viewership and listenership often declines significantly during funding periods, so special programming may be aired in order to keep regular viewers and listeners interested.

Taxation

Organizations in the United States established for charitable purposes are allowed to raise funds from many sources. They are given a specific designation by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), commonly noted as 501 organizations. Other nonprofits such as fraternal associations have different IRS designations, and may or may not be eligible to raise funds. Financial information on many nonprofits, including all nonprofits that file annual IRS 990 forms is available from GuideStar.

Types

Many non-profit organizations receive some annual funding from a financial endowment, which is a sum of money that is invested to generate an annual return. Although endowments may be created when a sizable gift is received from an individual or family, often as directed in a will upon the death of a family member, they more typically are the result of many gifts over time from a variety of sources.

Non-profit organizations also raise funds through competing for grant funding. Grant is offered by governmental units and private foundations/ charitable trusts to non-profit organizations for the benefit of all parties to the transaction.

A capital campaign is when fundraising is conducted to raise major sums for a building or endowment, and generally keep such funds separate from operating funds. These campaigns encourage donors to give more than they would normally give and tap donors, especially corporations and foundations who would not otherwise give.

Special events are another method of raising funds. These range from formal dinners to benefit concerts to walkathons. Events are used to increase visibility and support for an organization as well as raising funds.

Fundraising in the online sphere allows a variety of approaches. Examples can be found at Better The World, Network for Good, Google Checkout and MissionFish (donations), Justgiving (online sponsorship), the Facebook "Causes" application (social networking), The Giving Machine and The Big Give (matched funding).

While fundraising often involves the donation of money as an out-right gift, money may also be generated by selling a product of some kind, also known as product fundraising. Girl Scouts of the USA are well-known for selling cookies in order to generate funds. It is also common to see on-line impulse sales links to be accompanied by statements that a proportion of proceeds will be directed to a particular charitable foundation.

When goods or professional services are donated to an organization rather than cash, this is called an in-kind gift.

A number of charities and non-profit organizations are increasingly using the internet as a means to raise funds; this practice is referred to as online fundraising. For example the NSPCC operates a search engine which generates funds via Pay per click links, and Better The World operates tools allowing funds to be raised via members viewing ethical ads on a browser sidebar and/or blog widget.

Some of the most substantial fundraising efforts in the United States are conducted by colleges and universities. Commonly the fundraising, or "development" / "advancement," program, makes a distinction between annual fund appeals and major campaigns.

The donor base (often called a file) for higher education includes alumni, parents, friends, private foundations, and corporations. Gifts of appreciated property are important components of such efforts because the tax advantage they confer on the donor encourages larger gifts. The process of soliciting appreciated assets is called planned giving.

The classic development program at institutions of higher learning include prospect identification, prospect research and verification of the prospect's viability, cultivation, solicitation, and finally stewardship, the latter being the process of keeping donors informed about how past support has been used.

Relationship building

Often called donor cultivation, relationship building is the foundation on which most fundraising takes place. Most development strategies divide donors into categories based on annual gifts. For instance, major donors are those that give at the highest level of the organization's fundraising scale and mid-level donors are in the middle.More sophisticated strategies use tools to overlay demographic and other market segmentation data against their database of donors in order to more precisely customize communication and more effectively target resources.

Donor relations and stewardship professionals support fundraisers by recognizing and thanking donors in a fashion that will cultivate future giving to nonprofit organizations. The Association of Donor Relations Professionals (ADRP) is the first community of stewardship and donor relations professionals in the United States and Canada.

Recent research by Adrian Sargeant and the Association of Fundraising Professionals' Fundraising Effectiveness Project suggests the sector has a long way to go in improving the quality of donor relations. The sector generally loses 50-60% of its newly acquired donors between their first and second donations and one in three, year on year thereafter. The economics of regular or sustained giving are rather different, but even then organizations routinely lose 30% of their donors from one year to the next.

Events



See also



Notes and references

  1. For example,
  2. "Stewardship & Donor Relations," Entrepreneur.com
  3. Association of Donor Relations Professionals
  4. Sargeant A and Jay E (2004) Building Donor Loyalty, Jossey Bass, San Francisco.


External links


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