Tip #7: Have a Fundraising Budget

Kindly provided by Kerri Tilby-Price from Exult (helping non-profits grow).

Over the last few years there has been growing discussion about how much money organisations spend on fundraising, overheads and administration. While some non-profits claim that 100% of donations go directly to the cause, there is no real definition as to what ‘the cause’ includes.

Does it include wages for the programme co-ordinator or the administrator who pulls the whole project together? Does it include the rent required to house the programme, or the brochures required to encourage people to take part? Are these things considered a part of ‘the cause’?

Unfortunately overheads and fundraising expenses have been given a bad rap, and as a result some organisations are scared to spend money on things that are not directly related to the cause. While this might look good on paper, in the long run it will do nothing to help you raise more funds or grow your services.

If you are serious about raising more money, you need to properly invest in fundraising. Just like businesses spend money to market their products and make more sales, you need to spend money to market your organisation and encourage more donations.

To paraphrase Dan Pallotta: “Who cares if the bake sale has 0% overheads if it only makes $100. We need to stop looking at how much of the pie is going to overheads, and start looking at the size of the pie!”

If pushing for an increase in your fundraising budget (or getting one to start with) seems out of the question, I encourage you to watch Dan Pallotta’s TED Talk: The Way We Think about Charity is All Wrong. Then once you’ve watched it, share it with your Board.

Click here for the next great tip on raising more funds or here for all available tips.