Patrick Dwyer of Boston Private has extensive ideas how to best fund-raise for your non-profit.

Fundraising is an essential task for a non-profit. You can have the best idea that meets the greatest need, but without professional fundraising, your non-profit will not succeed. On the other hand, your non-profit could have poor organization and a limited mission with great fundraising, and your organization could last forever. Fundraising is the most critical aspect of a non-profit because, with it, none of your causes or projects will succeed without sufficient funding.


With the importance of fundraising stated, some practices can help your non-profit raise funds necessary to thrive. A lot of how a non-profit raises funds have to do with what they do and who they know. For instance, many organizations that take care of children ask multiple donors to “sponsor” a child for a monthly cost. In contrast, many medical organizations may rely on the deep pockets of hospital administrators and doctors who can give larger donations yearly. The rest of this article will focus on five “best practices” that can help almost any non-profit perform its most important job well.


Identify Potential Donors

The first step is to identify potential donors based on demographics and shared interests. If you are an educational non-profit, then it makes sense to reach out to fellow educators.


Cultivate Relationships

Once you have identified potential donors, build relationships with those people. Figure out ways to get in the same room with them, organize parties to invite them to, and in general, become a part of the same community as your donors.


Explain Your Mission

Do not be shy in sharing what your non-profit does. Be detailed in your explanation, and make sure that your donors see both the need you are meeting and the vision that you have to continue meeting that need.


Communicate Well

Communicate your wins, your challenges, and how you seek to overcome those challenges. No organization is perfect, but you can share with your donors how you are improving and how you understand the issues that you face.


Thank Your Donors

Express sincere gratitude to all of your donors. Your non-profit would not exist without them. Let your donors know that you understand that you do not have the words to thank them for what they do.