Fundraising news, ideas and inspiration for professional charity fundraisers

Challenges in nonprofit fundraising

Posted on 16 February 2008 at 5:46 pm
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  • Anonymous
    16 February 2008 at 5:46 pm #3068

    I am an undergraduate university student doing my dissertation on marketing and fundraising within the nonprofit sector. I am focusing on the challenges and issues which concern fundraising and wondering if anyone can point me in the right direction? Or have any ideas, suggestions or personal experience.

    Thanks for your time 🙂

    17 February 2008 at 11:11 am #10341

    In my opinion the sector continues to be slack in progressing the idea of tax efffecient donating with their existing donors.

    In the last two months I have spoken with three charity CEO’s who have never donated tax effeciently with their own charity!

    In the last month reports suggest that last year close to £1billion was left unclaimed via Gift Aid and Payroll Giving.

    Any other business sector losing this amount of money, every year, wouldn’t survive and I fear for many of the 190,000 charities.

    Many more will chose to merge during the next few years.

    18 February 2008 at 10:08 am #10342

    Hi, Elizabeth

    I don’t know how long you’ve got to do your dissertation, but having a look through the posts here would be quite a good start!

    Your local group of the Institute of Fundraising will have a perspective – you’ll find the contacts at – and you’ll also find Head Office numbers there, for a national perspective.

    Your local CVS will be able to give you the local picture.

    Best of all, if you have the time, go and spend some time volunteering in the fundraising office of a local charity. Hospices, museums and even some schools now have fundraisers on staff, as well as animal shelters and social welfare charities. Most would be happy to have a volunteer for a few hours per week, if you can manage that, or a more focussed but shorter period, maybe helping with an annual appeal or event.

    But bear in mind that your experience in one charity, or even one umbrella group, may not be universally applicable. The funding environment is different for a social welfare group and a hospice, and in Northumberland and London.

    Good luck.


    Gerry Beldon FInstF
    Director, 26-01 CIC

    18 February 2008 at 10:30 am #10343

    As Gerry has suggested, that’s a pretty wide-ranging question!

    Some other issues that might make their way into your research include:

    * public trust and confidence (not the same thing) in charities and fundraisers

    * charities’ reliance on fewer wealthier donors to maintain income

    * recruitment and retention of experienced fundraisers and fundraising managers – on average fundraisers still move on after about 18 months or so in post.

    * the need to make self-regulation work – see the Fund Raising Standards Board:

    * media fixation on whichever successful fundraising method is current bete noire – telephone fundraising 10+ years ago, legacy appeals, face to face fundraising.

    * retreat of government as funder, and move to contracts-based relationship

    I could go on, but as Gerry suggested, members of this forum have collectively been raising a good few issues over the past 13 years so you might get a flavour by exploring it. I can’t say it’s representative of the sector but there’s a fair few fundraisers and organisations who have chipped in.

    Howard Lake

    19 February 2008 at 5:27 pm #10346

    Hi, Elizabeth,

    Something not mentioned specifically in the above posts is the area of online fundraising, which is becoming increasingly common and is very important for some nonprofits.

    You’ll find some some good resources here, for instance this thread

    Which Charities have an e-marketing reach

    You might also like to check out the resources at TechSoup, which is another online community discussion site.
    Some threads of interest there on the topic of online fundraising are
    Use GoodSearch and Google Grants to raise funds, get publicity

    Ceating New Internet Marketing Position

    Hope that helps,

    Sasha Daucus
    donor management software for small to medium size charities

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