As 2014 comes to an end, we find ourselves reflecting on our work and this column. They are both intertwined: FUNdraising Good Times is one way we help nonprofit organizations and institutions position themselves for fundraising success. To the uninitiated, fundraising can appear either easy or hard. Confidence and fear typically drive these stances. What is needed is a healthy dose of both, and lots of planning. In our work locally and across the country we help organizations large and small build the prerequisites for fundraising success. We help bring together board members, executive directors, fundraising professionals, and volunteers for the purpose of honestly assessing where they are, what they need, and where they want to go.
That’s what we seek to accomplish with this column as well. We write to stimulate healthy conversation, to encourage volunteer leaders and nonprofit executives to hold each other accountable, and to share some of the technical or how-to information specific to fundraising.
We began writing FUNdraising Good Times in October of 2005 when we lived in the San Francisco, CA Bay Area. We approached Vernon Whitmore and Eleanor Boswell Raine of The Globe Newspaper Group with the column concept. We knew that many of their readers worked for nonprofits, made financial contributions, and depended on the work of these organizations. We also knew that readers served as board members, were called upon to lead fundraising campaigns, and were forced to make difficult decisions when adequate funding could not be secured. We also knew that many struggled without access fundraising counsel. We wanted to fill the gap, for free, 500 words at a time.
As we anticipate our 10th year writing this column we remain ever grateful to Vernon and Eleanor for our launch. We now reach readers across the country through 28 papers, two magazines and our blog FUNdraisingGoodTimes.com. The issues that drove us to begin writing this column are those that sustain us in all aspects of our work. We want to help nonprofit organizations and institutions bring their visions and missions to life. We want them to succeed. And we want them to be thoughtful stewards of the resources they have access to.
We encourage board members to increase their involvement, and we encourage nonprofit staff to invite board members into the fundraising process from the very beginning. Most importantly we encourage all nonprofit leaders to ask the hard questions: is our work making an impact? What if we invested in new technology or marketing? Do we need to do things differently, to innovate? Are we meeting a need? And critical to fundraising, where will the money come from?
You are our readers. We appreciate your work. We want you to succeed. Tell us what you want us to write about in 2015. We’ll get busy.
Image courtesy of njaj at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Mel and Pearl Shaw are the authors of “Prerequisites for Fundraising Success” and “The Fundraiser’s Guide to Soliciting Gifts.” They provide fundraising counsel to nonprofits. Visit them at www.saadandshaw.com. Follow them on Twitter: @saadshaw.