The Five Fingers of Fundraising Strategy

The holiday season of November & December has nonprofits both excited and nervous at the same time. Gaily Perry writes that:

For many nonprofits, one out of every two gifts comes in the last three months of the year…Online Giving is even more important at year-end. About 40 percent of online gifts are made in December. And 40-60 percent of those gifts are made the last two days of the year.

So naturally, everyone is rushing to find the best fundraising medium that will net their organization the most donations possible.  But charities need to take a step back because, believe it or not, proper fundraising encompasses more than just “direct mail vs. email solicitations” and even “Facebook vs. Twitter.”

A few weeks ago I was sitting with Nirit Roessler, Director of the Pradler Empowerment Program.  During the meeting she summarized her five strategic sources of fundraising, or what she calls the chamsa of fundraising (referring to the five fingers of the hand incorporated into the chamsa symbol).  They are:

  1. COMMUNITY – private donations from individuals that identify with or benefit from a particular charity.
  2. BUSINESS – funding from companies that either agree with a cause or see value in the publicity gained by associating with a cause or organization.
  3. INCOME – revenue gained from selling a product or service that benefits others and that advances the mission of the organization.
  4. FOUNDATION – grants from local/international foundations and institutions.
  5. GOVERNMENT – grants or contracts from either local or federal governments where the nonprofit operates.

These are the points that should be driving the fundraising policy of an organization; these different areas can help an organization decide whether to play to its  strengths or work on its weaknesses.  As with anything else, fundraising after all,  is a question of strategy. Only after a well thought out approach should the medium or mediums to carry out this plan be discussed.

Is it too late for this holiday to rethink strategy? Perhaps.  But with the world’s economies seemingly on the rise and organizations rethinking their fundraising goals and focus, it is vital next year to adopt a pertinent and responsible fundraising strategy.  But don’t be too lazy, next year is only three weeks away.

Good hunting and happy Holidays.

Tizku LeMitzvot [May you continue to merit doing good deeds],


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