From their living room televisions, viewers around the world watched the importance of giving in real time, with Wal-Mart emerging as the impressive and organized leader, distributing much-needed cases of water to American storm victims in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Wal-Mart demonstrated that the spirit of giving is not only alive and well, but also patriotic and necessary. Inspiring as the spirit is, however, one fundraising challenge remains: competition for donor dollars is fierce.
Money is fundamental to researching serious illnesses, fighting drug abuse and domestic violence, finding ways to stop global warming, supplying urban schools with necessary programs and equipment, sheltering the homeless, and helping those affected by violent crime and acts of terrorism. No matter what your cause, you will likely need to raise money at some point.
This book focuses not only on how the modern fundraiser goes about procuring money in a highly competitive world, but also on how to reach out and touch individuals in a manner that will provoke them to think, feel, and give.
Fundraising has become an art, and it can be very complex, involving software, advanced communications systems, marketing strategy, and corporate grant proposals. At the root of it all is the same basic need — to raise money for your cause, whatever that may be. Keep in mind that the most comprehensive fundraising software program or websites still have not matched the success of ninety-plus years of Girl Scout cookie sales.
It is important, therefore, to take a simplified approach to raising funds, no matter how creative or complex your upcoming fundraising plan may be. This book takes a practical, hands-on approach that can meet the needs of both the multimillion-dollar nonprofit organization and the local 22 member PTO. When everyone is playing by the same set of rules, there is no right or wrong means of fundraising, only the means of being successful in reaching your goals.
The key to successful fundraising is not whether you sell wrapping paper or scented candles; it's your inner desire to make a difference. If you have a passion and can convince others that you are working for a worthwhile cause — be it finding a cure for asthma or supporting orphaned children — you will inspire others to step forward and pitch in with goods, supplies, volunteer hours, or money.
This book highlights examples of many small-scale fundraising efforts and builds on the theme that fundraising is doable at any level. The focus is at the local level, because fundraising really begins when a child asks his mom to buy candy or wrapping paper to help raise money for school, or when the Key Club offers to wash cars for the local community. Perhaps that's what is meant by the expression, “Charity begins at home.”