Striving for the society’s improvement is not just our obligation but rather a necessity the society will realize sooner or later. Everyone has had the idea of making this world a better place, but not all dreams come true, at least not when you’re striving towards it alone and have no resources to fuel it. Regardless of how noble and beneficial your cause may be for society, it won’t see the light of the day without adequate funds. A harsh but fair custom of the world. In midst of these hindrances, Fundraising was a knight in shining armor for those who required financial and social support for their cause.

Let’s dive a little deeper into this concept.

Picture a world with billions of people, people with problems, problems that could go, poof! if everyone in the community lent a hand just to give a tiny bit from their plates to make up for someone less fortunate than them, contributing from their share of resources for ultimately raising funds to back up a purpose of general interest (generally for a social welfare cause) that’s pretty much what fundraising means.

BusinessDictionary.com defines fundraising as :

“A process of soliciting financial support (usually as grants) for a non-commercial cause.”

Stay with me now. In simpler words, accumulating money for an objective that benefits society. Although often being the part of the plate of Non-profits sometimes fundraisers are also conducted by Local businesses with a requirement of funds to finance their projects. Its basic process involves urging people of the community to contribute to the cause by donating funds, gifting something of appreciated value etc. Initially, it started with organizers going on streets & door to door in the neighborhood asking for donations, a method that gained immense popularity and is widely used to this day. But it wasn’t until the early 1900s when the fundraising caught the eye of the better part of the world. When the YMCA’s (Young Men’s Christian Association) two most prominent leaders, Charles Sumner Ward & Frank L. Pierce crafted some revolutionary guidelines for fundraisers.

These were:

  1. Limiting time for campaigns.
  2. Hiring public agents to widen the range and publicize the event.
  3. Obtaining a paid advertisement from corporal sponsors and celebrities.
  4. Nationalizing it for the entire nation & major donors.

Sure, these guidelines make organizing fundraisers seem like a piece of cake if executed accordingly but one should note the fact that fundraisers are transparently connected to concerns and sentiments of community members making them an event of great significance. Hence, even the minor mishaps can have unpredictable consequences which could affect the whole campaign raising the necessity of a fitly designed system that eliminating the chances of any hindrance that the event might face. So, an event manager, a publicist capable of guiding on how to attain maximum media exposure need to be hired according to the size and duration of the event.

Objective

The purpose that drives people out of their couches to support an objective is a vital pillar of this society values, one of those unexhausted beacons of hope in this ocean of corruption. The issues faced by a community are like a weed in your lawn, let them grow long enough & it’ll ruin the garden that you cherish so much. The core objective of organizing a fundraiser is not just to raise funds but to also voice the intentions of those who hesitate to take an initiative to tackle these issues just because they fear they’re alone, to be a front for those who are willing to give back to the community in the form of donations and services. In the absence of resources, Fundraising has always been the last resort to garner the required support or the first choice to some.

The longest journey starts with a single step

Nature of organizations involved

Despite the fact that uncountable Non-profits reside in every community with certain personalized guidelines, their core nature, however, remains unchanged, i.e. striving towards social-welfare. Although fundraisers are commonly hosted by nonprofit institutions, sometimes to realize their social responsibilities, commercial business firms rather than merely donating for the purpose offer a helping hand to established NGOs and participate in fundraisers.

Tasks conducted by Nonprofits in fundraisers function according to a method of accepting mass public donations, but tiny subsidiary social event boosts up or even makes up for a large chunk of their financial requirements. There are numerous sources under different circumstances out there from where the funds enter into the system out of these the pillars of fundraisers. Here are the major ones that stand out.

Let’s take a brief look at them:-

  1. Grants
    Non-payable funds received typically by the public sector or charitable trusts & foundations. Since it’s an act of trust (Grantmakers trusting the NGO) grantmakers expect the NGO to achieve certain goals to ensure that their money is contributing to the change they want to see in their community.
  2. Individual Donors
    Donors personally donating funds and in-kind gifts i.e. gifts of appreciated property are individual donors. Over the course of the time, this source has evolved into one of the major pillars of the fundraising system and traditionally involves friends, private foundations, and business entities.
  3. Earned income
    Funds raised by retail selling of self-manufactured products or providing serviceshave been a part of fundraising tradition for quite some time. The quality and financial strategy for these products & services are regulated with respect to the volume of the customers.
    For example:- In the annual fundraisers organized by the school the students sell homemade edibles like cookies & provide car washing services to accumulate funds. When fundraisers are organized by an established NGOs with a plan of securing a substantial amount of funds they put out a variety of products and services for sale which includes merchandise, stage events, commisions out of various products etc.
  4. Sponsorship
    Sponsorship is a situation where a business entity agrees to back a fundraiser monetarily either for advertisement benefits or to fulfill their social responsibility. It is one of the giants when it comes to the sources of fundraising as in some cases sponsorship completely bears the expenses of these events.
  5. Bequests
    Often specified as planned gifts, the donations left in the name of an NGO as a part of a donor’s will are known as bequests, these donations tend to be larger hence, the time and efforts to establish a mutual trust between the donor and NGO are made from a long time before the individual’s passing.

Like an old tree, the system of fundraising has outgrown its boundaries and has developed several ways or types of itself to be compatible with fundraisers so that the fundraising methods can be executed efficiently if applied to fundraisers varying in nature and extent.
Some of these ways are:

Hosting special events — Organising public events to generate awareness for the issues in-hand & providing a platform for members of the community to donate to the purpose. e.g. buying tickets for a concert, art exhibitions, local gathering etc.

Text-to-give — Donating by visiting an actual office of a fundraiser is a time-consuming task and that’s the one thing even the most willing donors aren’t keen to spare. Thus, a ‘text-to-give’ service for donators seems like a favorable substitute, the non-profit provides the donator with their unique text-to-give number to which the donor responds with the amount he’s willing to donate and receives a confirmation text with a link. Although if the donors are donating through this process for the first time they might have to fill up a small form with their credit card details.

Crowdfunding — Fundraising executed through a web portal with the participation of people all around the world is termed as Crowdfunding or Digital Fundraise. Since the dawn of the internet, it has dominated every domain it has stepped into and showed identical results when it came to fundraising, with thousands of fundraising platforms generating millions of dollars everyday crowdfunding has developed itself into a fundraising platform with probably widest reach out there.

Comprehensive Campaign — Campaign refers to executing a set of already chalked out plans drawn in favour of achieving the objective in hand this fundraising effort is known for its intensity as it is executed when there is a need for asset-building within a time limit.
e.g. the requirements of funds for construction of new buildings, acquisition of new lands, expansion or renovation etc.

Silent Auction — These auctions are slightly different compared to traditional auctions, the bids are written on a piece of paper finishing on common time and the item is sold to the bidder with the highest bidding. It is effective in generating substantial amounts of funds.

After reading this article perhaps your grasp on the concept of fundraising has tightened a wee bit. If not then you can always come back and suggest something.

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