Don’t waste thousands of dollars in planning and hundreds of hours going after the wrong funding opportunities! Take our quick quiz to determine what a good fundraising mix is for your particular organization:
Question 1: How have you supported your organization to date?
- We haven’t! We’re just getting started. (1 point)
- We have received one or two large grants for our work and rely on the in-kind support of volunteers and small donations to fill in the gaps. (2 points)
- We have a handful of major donors, mostly from an actively giving board of directors, and a few grants from local foundations and corporate sponsors. (3 points)
- We are mostly supported by major gifts from individual donors and have a few grants and sponsorships. (4 points)
Question 2: How would you describe the fundraising ability of your staff?
- We don’t have much or any staff! Just a founder/executive director that barely gets paid herself. (1 point)
- We have been successful in the past getting some sponsorships, and volunteers help stuff mailers and write grants. (2 points)
- We have an annual appeal for major donors run by a development-trained staff person, and a handful of our program staff and/or executive director writes grants. (3 points)
- We have an active development department with at least a development director or a development consultancy firm contracted with a dedicated budget for fundraising. (4 points)
Question 3: How would you describe the fundraising ability of your board of directors?
- We don’t have a board of directors yet or they have never given or fundraised. (1 point)
- Our board chair gives us a good sized gift every year and signs grants when asked. (2 points)
- All of our board members give, but no one helps fundraise. (3 points)
- Our board is actively engaged in fundraising with an established development committee and fundraising goals to pull in friends and supporters to our cause. (4 points)
Question 4: How would you describe your external relationships in the community?
- We only have one or two partners so far. (1 point)
- We work with at least 5 key partners, and we have a sizeable group of dedicated volunteers. (2 points)
- We actively market ourselves to the community with a marketing budget, and we have at least a dozen partnerships with other community organizations in our area of expertise. (3 points)
- We have an active marketing budget, at least a dozen partnerships in the community, and we are viewed as a key advisor/expert in our field as a consultant for government officials, other nonprofits, schools, and/or community organizations. (4 points)
Question 5: What does your membership base look like?
- We have a handful of interested members/supporters. (1 point)
- We are actively building a membership community via social media (Facebook, twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc.) and word of mouth in the community. (2 points)
- We have an active social media base of at least 5,000 and at least 2,000 members or people signed into our media alerts or subscribers to our magazine/newsletter. (3 points)
- We have at least 20,000 members and 100,000 social media members, all who actively support us with at least a small gift. (4 points)
Question 6: What does your budget look like?
- It is under $50,000. (1 point)
- It is between $50,000 and $250,000, and less than 10% goes to administrative costs. (2 points)
- It is more than $250,000 and up to 20% is for administrative costs. (3 points)
- It is more than $250,000 and only 10% is for administrative costs. (4 points)
Question 7: Who do you serve with your work?
- One or two particular community groups/schools. (1 point)
- At least 500 people from a typically disadvantaged segment (women, minorities, children with disabilities, economically disadvantaged, etc.). (2 points)
- At least 1,000 people from a typically disadvantaged segment and thousands more generally. (3 points)
- More than 1,000 people from a disadvantaged segment of the community addressing a particular problem that affects everyone or nearly everyone (i.e., helping children with cancer mainly helps the children themselves, whereas helping minority women get jobs has ripple effects for the entire community).(4 points)
Question 8: What kinds of philanthropic resources are in your area?
- There are some large community foundations and a handful of corporations, but the majority of people are economically disadvantaged. (1 point)
- About 5% of the population gives at a level of $500 or more to local charities, but most people are somewhat disadvantaged. (2 points)
- There are dozens of foundations and corporate foundations with open grant programs for our work, and at least 10% of the population gives at a level of $500 or more to local charity. (3 points)
- There are at least 100 foundations and a handful of Forbes 500 corporations, and up to 15% of an urban population that we fall within gives at least $500 to charity annually. (4 points)
Fundraising Mix Score
Add up the numbers corresponding to your answers (1-4) for each question.
- If you scored 8-12: Focus on developing a good fundraising board and volunteer group, and build up your major gift base by engaging them in helping you with individual, grassroots fundraising campaigns. They can use a handful of online fundraising tools toward that end or mail appeal letters! Try to complete one good model project first to gather up the experience you need to get grants and larger gifts. You can start developing relationships with key foundation and corporate givers in your area as well, but hold off on an ask until you have support from individuals.
- If you scored 13-19: You can mix up your fundraising strategy a bit, but focus mostly on building your major donor base. Get a few of your dedicated board members or volunteers to host donor parties, or throw a modest fundraising event to gather new support. If you don’t have a development staffer, you might invest modestly for a major gifts officer to help you manage relationships. You can also dedicate a bit of staff time or invest in a consultant to send out proposals for new corporate sponsorship and grants for your operating support and project expansions.
- If you scored 20-26: You’re doing well and should expand on your success! Try building up your major donor base by sending additional appeals to your members and social media network requesting larger gifts or more frequent giving. You should also be branching out and improving your board and/or volunteer fundraising abilities by developing a fundraising committee if you don’t have one already. You are probably ready to invest in a fundraising consultant or a part-time staffer to find and solicit additional grants and corporate sponsors for your programs, as you have the experience and the community niche to recruit open opportunities.
- If you scored 27-32: You are rocking it already! You most likely know what you are doing and have a dedicated staff in fundraising and development planning. Work on expanding your communications and marketing to take advantage of new online giving opportunities, and ever improving your already great resource network. You might think about developing more sustainable solutions for your nonprofit beyond fundraising – i.e. developing a revenue source – to phase out your need for fundraising altogether.