The Role of Project Management in Fundraising

by Susan Snider on November 6, 2014

The Role of Project Management in FundraisingIn a previous blog post we talked about what project management is and its importance to fundraising.

This time we’ll discuss several phases of project management in order to give you a sense for the role a project manager plays in the success of your non-profits project.

The first phase of project management is to define the project. Is it a historic preservation project, a building renovation or addition or a summer camp for kids? Write down the project definition, the end goals and objectives and a list of must-haves and desires. Think through how this project fulfills your mission and its value to the community or the beneficiaries of the project. For example, there needs to be a purpose beyond restoring a historic building. Will this be a community gathering place or a museum? These goals need to be defined up front.

Phase two is the planning phase. In this phase you begin to gather information about the project. Building projects will require condition assessments, architectural design, engineering reports and feasibility reports. The purpose of this phase is to compile enough information to begin determining the time and resources necessary to complete the project and its total cost. Establish a committee to manage this activity. The scope of work and project costs will provide valuable information for fundraising. Establish a fundraising committee whose responsibility it is to determine how the funds will be raised. The committee should research and identify grant opportunities and create a time table. Depending upon the amount, you may want to consider a capital campaign, special events or major gifts. Each of these activities are a sub-project and will need to be project managed.

In the next blog post we will discuss the procurement, implementation and evaluation phase of project management.


The Fundraising Plan

by Susan Snider on November 4, 2014

Fundraising PlanAccording to the Giving USA Foundation’s annual study, in 2013 more than $335.17 billion dollars were donated in the United States. The US is the fifth most philanthropic country in the world. Australia, Ireland and Canada are the top three. The world is a generous place.

When creating a fundraising plan it is also important to understand how the donation pie breaks down into types of donors. This will guide your approach and determine your strategy when conducting fundraising campaigns. Giving from individuals makes up 72% of the pie or $241.32 billion. Giving from private foundations makes up 15% of the donation pie, corporate foundations 5% and family bequests 8%.

Building a sustainable and secure non-profit organization requires a strategic plan for raising the funds needed to cover expenses and fulfill the mission. This is typically called a fundraising plan. A fundraising plan outlines the goals, objectives and tactical activities that need to happen to meet fundraising goals. Because individual donors make up the biggest piece of the pie, it makes sense to focus the majority of fundraising efforts on this segment.

Soliciting individual donors can involve a variety of activities. Some of the more common activities include special events, galas, festivals, marathons, bake sales, direct mail campaigns, major gift solicitation, and planned giving. As you can imagine, each activity has its own set of nuances and details that need to be implemented in order to be successful.

Raising funds through corporate, private and government foundations typically involves grants. Grants management is a specialty unto itself. Although grants are only 20% of the overall giving pie, significant time and resources should be allocated to this effort. Diversity in fundraising, like diversity in business, is important to reducing sharp ebbs and flows of funds and helps you build a sustainably and stable non-profit organization.


Project Management and Fundraising

October 30, 2014

Non-profit organizations raise money for many different reasons: general operating support, program support, supplies and equipment, and capital improvements. Fundraising for a historic preservation or building project brings raising money to another other level and involves project management. These types of projects involve raising significant amounts of money over a long period of time, sometimes […]

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Historic Preservation and Project Management

October 28, 2014

Restoring historic buildings can be a complex and long term project. Grant writing and fundraising are only one of many activities of a historic preservation project. If your organization is contemplating preserving a historic building, step back and look at the whole picture. What are all the activities, jobs, and tasks that need to happen […]

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Finding a Grant Which is a Good Fit

October 23, 2014

Applying for a grant which is “almost a good fit” or trying to make your program fit the grant guidelines can be counterproductive. One way to insure your program matches the application is to call the funder and discuss it them. They will give you honest feedback on whether or not it’s a good fit […]

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Grant Myth #3 – Grantmakers are shrouded in secrecy

October 21, 2014

Many of us hesitate to build relationships with grantmakers because of the competitive nature of grants. We feel the grantmakers don’t want to share information. The exact opposite is true. Grantmakers want to give away grants. That is their job. Call the foundation you are interested in applying to. Discuss your project with them. They […]

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Grant Myth #2 – If the program changes we will lose the grant award

October 16, 2014

You wrote an award winning grant proposal, congratulations! However, something happens and there is a significant change to the program as proposed. Grant Myth #2 – If the program changes you will lose the grant award. Not true. Funders have an investment in your program and want you to succeed. Call them, explain the situation […]

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Grant Myth #1 – Grant reviewers are experts in your field

October 14, 2014

Submitting grants is like launching yourself into the great unknown. Understanding the grant making process is key to honing your grant writing skills and increasing the probability of winning grant awards. Grant myth #1 – Grant reviewers are experts in your field. Not true. Grantmakers use many types of people to review grant applications. They […]

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10 Tips for writing a winning grant proposal

October 9, 2014

Do you want to increase the probability of receiving grant awards? Follow these ten steps for writing a winning grant proposal: Only apply for grants which are a perfect fit. Call funder to discuss the project. Plan for plenty of time to complete the application. Follow all the directions of the grant application. Write concisely, […]

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Grant or Donation: What’s the difference?

October 7, 2014

What is the difference between a grant and a donation? A grant is funds that are awarded, typically through a competitive application process. The key to winning grant awards is to target funding that matches the mission and purpose of your organization and submitting a compelling and attractive grant proposal. A donation usually comes from […]

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