Not-for-profit organisations are always born out of the great ideas from the good people and then grow organically. Beyond good intentions, any Not-for-profit organisation need fund to achieve the goals of the mission. Fundraising determines the future and survival of any not-for-profit organisation.
Asking for money is never easy but necessary for fundraising and Traditional sources of fundraising are :
- Grants and sponsorships – There are grants allocated by state and federal government for particular causes. Also philanthropists and corporate do contributes to the organisations involved in specific activities like Bill Gate foundation involved in the Polio eradication.
- Subscriptions– Organisations can collect donation in form of subscriptions from the donor. These subscriptions can be multi tired or single level where organisations get regular donations. Save a child is great example of this model.
- Donations – Make appeal for direct donation to existing and new donors. You can make personal appeal or general appeal through face to face campaign, direct mail, email campaigns, TV campaigns and Newspaper campaigns.
- Fundraising Event – Fundraising events are tried and tested method and there are a huge variety of fundraising opportunities like – dinners, functions, awards nights, , fairs, fetes , grand openings, launches, walkathons, etc.
- Sales/merchandising– Other successful method of raising funding is selling goods and/or services carrying organizations’ name and logo. These product cost very less to procure and have huge margins. Greeting cards are fine examples in this category.
Along with above mentioned methods, there are many other way to raise funding. These methods help organisations in raising funding but there are many problems effecting the fundraising efforts.
- Lack of expertise: Fundraising is like selling product/service to customers. The good samaritans who form a not-for-profit organisation are great at helping people but not so great at selling the good work to potential donors. This lack expertise adversely affect the fundraising efforts .
- Time consumption: Fundraising is a full time job and consume significant time of organisations.
- Lack of Consistency : The funding for the organisations fluctuate due to different reasons.
These problems causes many challenges to the organisations and the biggest one of these is sustainability for not-for-profit organisations. There may organisation that is running great operation and then suddenly the funding starts drying up due to different reasons and the organisation start to crumble. This disruption can endanger our credibility with clients and donors.
One other issues with the not-for-profit organisations is that often people who are running the operation are also the ones doing fundraising. This creates the problem of which to prioritize and lead to a catch 22 situation. As prioritizing is difficult because each job depends on the other. Proper operation cannot be run without funding and funding cannot be raised without running proper operation.
At smiling square, we are looking at more sustainable sources of funding and looking to develop a way of getting regular contributions from companies and people through community projects like Building Inspection Council. We are also careful with our investments to be minimum and are always mindful about our options with regard to public trust.