Fundraising for Non-Profit Organizations

by Jack C. Hanlon

What you need to have:

  1. A need for funds
  2. A good leader or leaders
  3. A good project

A good project is one that produces a decent dollar return per man hour of your volunteers. Non-profit organizations in search of the money they need to carry out their missions must recognize that successful fund-raising cannot be achieved simply by working to give someone a product or service which is commonly available to them elsewhere in the marketplace. The money a non-profit group needs must come from generous people who care about the organization and who see the reward of having supported.

And please remember, the good name of your organization is far more important than any financial gain. Whenever you associate your organization's reputation to a particular vendor or service provider, or the type of product and service you will be presenting to your constituencies, be certain to avoid embarrassment for less-than-tasteful associations and watch for any hidden potential for controversy.

If you are choosing a fundraising company to help you, in most cases it is best to choose an older established company but be careful. Some old reputable companies have been bought out recently by less reputable companies. Your profit margin should exceed 50%. Get references and check references. Make sure they are not phonies. Be careful about large advance payments and study return policies if they apply. And, of course, get lots of publicity for your project and most should be free publicity. Contact me if you would like comments on both good and bad projects. I am happy to help, no charge.

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About the Author

Jack Hanlon is a Retired fundraising professional with 49 years of experience. (2 years with Hopfer and Hanlon Associates representing 25 different fundraising companies and 47 years with the Gordon Bernard Company, publishers of the Community Birthday Calendar and other printed fundraising items). Now living in Florida, he (as a hobby) advises non-profit groups regarding fundraising. He receives no salary or commission for his charitable efforts.

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