today in black history

July 23, 2024

Civil unrest over the city's condition ignites Detroit in 1967, resulting in 43 deaths, 7,000 arrests and $50 million in damage.

FUNdraising Good Times

POSTED: September 17, 2021, 10:45 am

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Yes, it’s true – the actual “work” of your nonprofit is the most important activity that must be kept in focus at all times. But how are you funding your work? For those of us not fortunate enough to be endowed with funds that cover all our costs, the answer is fundraising. You can’t wait until the end of the year to start this: you have to make it a consistent priority so that you have the resources you need to focus on your work instead of focusing on how to do more with less, or “make do.” You’re worthy of the resources you need to live into your mission and vision. What you need is focus, and that can be accomplished by establishing milestones and referencing them as a guide.

Think about it this way: for some organizations a project can last six months; for others the duration can be five years. When you have milestones in place you give your team an incentive, a sense of accomplishment, and a reason to stay committed.

Here are a few items that you can consider as you develop your milestones. Review these, use those that will work for you, and add to the list. Most importantly, set a date for each milestone, and define who will take the lead in ensuring you are on track to reach these. Download this document and use it as a starting point. Keep it simple and stay focused.

Suggested Milestones – pick those that work for you!

We’ve secured complete buy-in from our board, staff, and supporters; and our data management system is up-to-date with information that can guide our fundraising. All members of our organization have participated in a fundraising orientation session; we have recruited volunteer fundraising leaders; and our board is actively engaged, with 100% of members giving, and the board as a whole raising 20% of our annual budget. Our organization is on its way to becoming a household name, in the most positive sense, and our fundraising costs are less than 30%.

Knowing that not everyone who we ask will give, we have a pool of prospective donors and funders who can collectively give three times the amount of our fundraising goal. We have produced a virtual VIP tour that shares our work, and we communicate with our constituents at least four times a year sharing information about our impact and our vision.

We reconcile our fundraising receipts with the finance department and there is a common understanding of what has been raised and from who; we have secured a lead gift that represents 20% of our fundraising goal; 50% of our donors are individuals; we have established a legacy giving (or planned giving) program; and we are ready to participate in Giving Tuesday and have our strategies and materials developed in advance.

Minutes from our board, committee, and working group sessions are sent out to participants within 48 hours and these include action items and next steps that people have agreed to.

You can do it! Download your milestone starter pack at

Copyright 2021

Mel and Pearl Shaw of Saad&Shaw – Comprehensive Fund Development Services. Video and phone conferencing services always available. Let us help you grow your fundraising. Call us at (901) 522-8727.

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