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20. Fundraising: Staying Organized

Staying Organized While Fundraising

Fundraising involves a lot of paper work, a lot of ideas, and a lot of action lists. You can easily become overwhelmed and lose track of the entire project if you allow yourself to become disorganized. This is why it is crucial to stay organized.

The system of organization that is best depends on you. Financial software is ideal for some, while others prefer organized files. It does not matter which organizing method you choose. What does matter is that you use it faithfully to stay organized. Among the items you will need to keep organized during fundraising:

  • Income tax receipts - Your donors will want to receive income tax slips to claim their gifts on their tax forms. In some cases, they may write to you again during tax season for another slip. Also, you will need to keep good records of the money donated for your group's income tax and other assessments.
  • Volunteer information - Contact information, emergency information, and any other items of interest will need to be stored so that you can contact your workers or help them in case of an emergency.
  • Donor Information - You will need to file away information about those who have donated to your fundraising - not only will you want to take care not to contact those people again too soon, but you will want to contact the same donors again some time later as they are likely to contribute again. You will need a very good organizational system to keep track of who you should be contacting them and when. For each donor, you will want to keep contact information, amounts donated, times when the donor donated money, the donor's preferred method of being contacted, and the time you should contact them again. It is important that you keep this information and use it.
  • Market Research - You need to file all the information you gather about potential donors and potential fundraising ideas. This information needs to be quickly accessible when you start fundraising in earnest.
  • Research - You will want to keep information about other similar non-profit groups with successful fundraising ideas.
  • Grant applications - You will want to keep grant application deadlines in a visible place so that you will be able to put in the applications for grants that you qualify for in time. You will also want to keep copies of these completed applications on file to help you with future applications.
  • Letters - Keep track of any letters you send and the responses you get. You will want to keep letters from donors and from companies who are willing to help your fundraising efforts, for example. You may be able to use part of their letter in your fundraising leaflets.  
  • Legal Issues - You will need to file deeds or leases for your group's space, licensing agreements, proof that your group is a registered non-profit organization, and other legal papers that might be crucial at a later date. 
  • Meeting Minutes - Keeping your group's records and ideas together will make it easier for you to see who needs to be doing what. You can also refer to earlier brainstorming sessions if you need to be reminded why a certain idea was turned down or why someone was scheduled for a specific task.
  • Operations of Your Non-Profit - Non-profit organizations have lots of paper work - utility bills, legal bills, notices from government about changing laws, and so on. You need to keep these records organized and together so that any disputes can be resolved quickly.
  • Expenses and Income- Keeping track of money is crucial in proving that your business is fundraising in a fair way and in order to prove that your group really is non-profit. Some charitable groups think that their records cannot be seized or audited, but this is not true. Keep excellent financial records and check them twice - a non-profit organization accused to misusing donor funds will have a very tough time trying to fundraise again. Keep track of every penny you spend on your group to offset any such unpleasant problems.
  • Time - For a non-profit group, keeping track of time is important too. Volunteers may request letters of reference, and if you have kept track of the time your volunteers have donated, you will be able to write a more accurate reference. It can also enable you to look back and see whether the time involved in a particular fundraiser was worth it financially.
  • Records -There are many records and papers that need to be tracked for the optimization of time and money. Medium-sized and larger non-profits often find that they require the help of an accountant and one or more office assistants to keep track of the paperwork. Even in smaller non-profit groups, having one secretary or office manager can be a big help. One person should interact with all the incoming papers and information each day and should either file papers or act on them. Money spent and donated needs to be recorded accurately each day. Workers should always return papers to the same files after each use. A once-weekly meeting during fundraising can help keep papers and ideas better organized. Purchasing a fundraising software package (even a basic one) can help you keep track of donors, grant applications, and the other important details of your non-profit fundraising. 

Next page: 21. Fundraising - Communicating With Your Donors

Practical Fundraising Ebook - Table Of Contents

  1. Fundraising - The Basics  
  2. Fundraising - Terminology 
  3. Fundraising - Money 
  4. Fundraising - Where to Find Donors and How to Reach Them 
  5. Fundraising - Targeting Your Donors 
  6. Fundraising - Research 
  7. Fundraising - Your Donors' Needs 
  8. Fundraising - Ideas 
  9. Fundraising - Donated Products 
  10. Fundraising - Bought Products 
  11. Fundraising - Marathons 
  12. Fundraising - Lotteries, raffles and more 
  13. Fundraising - Fairs, Auctions and Bazaars 
  14. Fundraising - Fun Events 
  15. Fundraising - Drives 
  16. Fundraising - Services 
  17. Fundraising - Tips for Choosing a Fundraising Idea 
  18. Fundraising - Your Plan 
  19. Fundraising - Your Team 
  20. Fundraising - Staying Organized 
  21. Fundraising - Communicating With Your Donors 
  22. Fundraising - Advertising 
  23. Fundraising - Letters 
  24. Fundraising - Emails and more 
  25. Fundraising - Person to Person 
  26. Fundraising - Thank You Notes 
  27. Fundraising - Grant Proposals 
  28. Fundraising - Press Releases 
  29. Fundraising - With Computers 
  30. Fundraising - Secrets to Success 
  31. Fundraising - Problems 
  32. Fundraising - Conclusions 


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