When an organization becomes serious about raising funds to support budgetary needs and/or capital projects it is vital to establish realistic goals based on sound research and thorough planning. Realistic goals are a reflection of the organization’s understanding of its financial structure and its capability to challenge existing funders and prospective donors.
As a national consulting firm, our team of professionals conducts business in a wide variety of communities across the country. As we compare notes among ourselves, we discover there are a few opinions often voiced by the clients we serve and the non-profit executives we meet. One that seems to come up in most communities is when an organization’s representative says, “Great news! Billy Big Bucks lives in our town! We can ask them to fund this project.” “Billy Big Bucks” is my code name for any wealthy celebrity, whether a movie star, athlete, author, or any other profession.
Soliciting major gifts is a difficult process, fraught with potential landmines. It requires a great deal of experience, knowledge, and wisdom to chart a path through this course. If a non-profit organization hopes to execute a successful fundraising effort, they must first identify some of the missteps that can lead prospective donors to say “no.”