Fundraising includes the word fun in its beginning.
So, why don't we make fundraising more fun?
One reason may be that fundraising is serious business. People's lives depend on the programs and services provided by nonprofits and similar community and faith-based agencies. Some are the low to moderate income clients that these agencies serve on a daily basis. Others include the employees, contractors and vendors of the agencies themselves. When a family depends on its local food bank for the bread and other goods that keep them going, it spells serious business.
Another reason is that many agency employees are busy as well as their volunteer board members. Employees have a tough enough time keeping the operation going. Add the additional responsibility of raising funds primarily through grants and government contracts and you will see one set of overwhelmed and frustrated folks. Some boards do not meet frequent enough to truly understand the agency's programming and services to even begin to start tackling fundraising.
Many agencies hire, retain and/ or contract with an outsider for writing grants or developing a fundraising plan. In many cases, such individuals are freelancers acting as independent contractors or consultants. They gather data on the organization, research potential grant matches and plug in the data from the agency into a boilerplate or template, awaiting the next installment on their retainer for services rendered based upon an emailed or hand delivered invoice due within 30 days upon receipt.
Put the fun back into fundraising. Go ahead and let your team gather for chips and salsa or pizza and wings as they devise a fun way to raise money for your cause in general and your agency specifically. Let your ideas run wild and free. Spend some time brainstorming and tossing around ideas. Make note of ideas that resonate with the group, then start researching the possibilities and potential of putting some of these ideas into action.
Maybe a grant would help you out, but a bowl-a-thon might be a little more memorable and you maybe could use a boost in morale around the office if you include staff, volunteers, clients and board members as well as the surrounding community.
Put the fun back into fundraising.