Nonprofit Model Fund Development

Creating A Culture of Asking Series

If leadership is the conditio sine qua non for success in the nonprofit enterprise—as it is in any endeavor—then that leadership has to be committed to a program that is a model of best practice in fund development.  Only in this way will you be able to exceed your fundraising goals.

There are six elements to nonprofit model fund development.

  1. First, development must be understood to be a community-building initiative.  Each and every donor is cherished as a valued contributor who in collaboration with others enables the organization to fulfill its mission and achieve its vision—all in keeping with the core values.
  2. Development is the means by which any organization maintains the relationships with all of its stakeholders.  And through those relationships, the programs and services of the agency serve as the fulfillment of the individual and collective aspirations of the community of funders and donors, clients and vendors, staff and volunteer leadership, who make-up this unique community.
  3. Even as a program of model fund development creates and strengthens community, it does so based upon respect for the diversity and individuality of each donor and prospect.  Whether writing an email solicitation or crafting an invitation to a special event, the organization is best served by envisioning the individual for whom the communication—in whatever form—is intended.  In that way, a positive response from repeat donors or first-time contributors is more likely to be assured.
  4. Through donor cultivation, individuals form bonds with the mission, vision and values of the enterprise—and with each other.  People are drawn closer and closer to a better world of which they are the architects as well as the builders.
  5. At every level possible, a program of model fund development aspires to engage with people through face-to-face encounter.  In a world in which we communicate in 140 character bursts and spend our time looking at screens small and large, development is committed to high touch, deeply personal connections.  How else can we validate one another’s worth to a more civil society?
  6. Finally, the outcome of model fund development is to instill in every donor—and those who engage with them, donors themselves—the joy of giving and living.  No one said it better than Winston Churchill, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”

NEXT MONTH: The Development Cycle