Fundraising Strategies

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2.1.1 Introduction

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Fundraising has been defined in the Developing Fundraising Strategy Module for Rwanda as the procedure of soliciting and gathering aids as funds or other resources by requesting contributions from individuals, businesses, charitable foundations, or governmental agencies. The same module has described fundraising Strategy as a long term plan of action intended to accomplish a particular fundraising goal. Teegan et al. (2004, p. 466) define NGO as any non-profit, citizens' group that operates on a voluntary basis that is organized on a local, national or international level and is task-orientated and propelled by people with a common goal and interest. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) today form an essential part of our societies offering a range of services and products that may not otherwise be available. Today, non-profit sector has been acknowledged widely as an enormous area that has grown tremendously. Take, for instance in the US, by 2001, nonprofit revenues surpassed $700 billion, and the assets hit the $2 trillion mark ("The nonprofit almanac, 2008", 2008). During the 1990s, the number of NGOs shot up and in some states like the US it even doubled. Therefore, the number of people finding employment opportunities in this sector increased too. Today, over ten million people are working in this sector in the US alone (Weil, Reisch, and Ohmer, 2013). It is because of the increasing number and increasing scope of NGOs that most of these organizations become more complex and wide especially for the international agencies and organizations (Schroeder, 2015). It has led to challenges in the way such NGOs are managed. These setbacks are several and are inclusive of but not limited to, lack of effective fundraising strategy, poor management, lack of clear mobilization framework (Jha, 2009).

There are a variety of strategies that can be employed by NGOs to mobilize resources to facilitate service delivery (, 2016). Some NGOs have experienced the setback of coming up with a clear framework for fundraising (Jha, 2009). Partners In Health is just but an example of the NGOs that have faced a myriad of drawbacks in stipulating a blueprint of actions for successful fundraising especially at the sites (Best, 2014). Quite often than not do NGOs complain about not having adequate resources and funding to achieve their objectives, goals, and visions (, 2016). It is also quite crucial to note that most NGOs locally depend on singular funding streams from funders and or sponsors that are in provision over limited timeframe (Weil, Reisch and Ohmer, 2013).

Recent studies have focused much on understanding NGOs management strategies. This is not the framework for this study but it is important to note that solid information regarding fundraising strategies has been illustrated (Bannister and Smith, 2014). Many studies have also focused on those who donate to charitable causes and the outcome typically offers solid fundraising strategy information for this matter (Weil, Reisch and Ohmer, 2013). A group of scholars has vested their interest in delving into research in this field especially in this topic in light with the motivation of donors as a fundamental element in fundraising strategy (Ritchie, 1999).

In my suggestions, there is not nearly enough research to explain fundraising strategies for NGOs (Boenigk and Scherhag, 2013). Bennet suggest that a critical review of relevant academic literature material acknowledges that, even though scholars have investigated strategies that can be out in place by NGOs for successful fundraising, plentiful research have not been emphasized in to give a clear picture of these strategies that would work both at grassroots level and internationally (Bennet, 2013).

Historically, fundraising strategies was a discipline found primarily in the for-profit sector, where traditional competition that arose between organizations required promotional activities to distinguish one from another. Today, fundraising and strategies are no longer becoming optional for these organizations success in effective implementation of its activities (Betzler and Gmuer, 2014). Just like in the focus of this dissertation acknowledged that PHI Rwanda had experienced failure due to lack of a proper fundraising strategy (Bannister and Smith, 2014). PIH Rwanda had always failed to implement some of its projects and deliver on some of its commitments made to its Rwanda Ministry of health partners (, 2016). It was set to benefit from the applied solution of forming its dedicated site based fundraising team despite the lack of a strategy to guide the functioning of the site based fundraising teams (Epstein, 2010).

2.1.2 The Sources of Donations and Avenues for Fundraising

Researchers have studied and established literature about donations to charitable and nonprofit organizations. It is important to note that most of them have categorized the sources into similar sections (Rao, 2015). Even though this is not the primary focus of this dissertation, it is an important element of understanding the broader aspect of fundraising strategy. It boils down to the source of the funds and resources (Masaoka, Zimmerman, and Bell, 2013). Many NGOs have relied on donations from individuals, foundations, bequests, governmental agencies and corporations (Rao, 2015). However, without a sound fundraising strategy, there would be a gap in internal mechanism for maintaining financial stability and also a lack of strategic directions (Bannister & Smith, 2014).

Scholars agree that at least 65% of households donate funds to NGOs and other charitable causes (Fisman, Kariv, and Markovits, n.d.). Some study claim that in more recent years that the number of these households has increased to 89% this is good news for Resource Mobilizers, who are tasked with the duty of establishing an implementable fundraising strategy (AlTabbaa, Gadd & Ankrah, 2013).

2.1.3 Non-profit Fundraising Strategies

There are several articles, books, blogs, journals and many other materials that suggest different fundraising strategies non-profits can use to solicit for funds and resources. Fundraising is, therefore, considered a very wide topic. Most crucial for this research is an examination and investigation of the best practices or integrated fundraising strategies practices used in fundraising (Masaoka, Zimmerman, and Bell, 2013). One well-written book that frameworks best practices, and one that has received massive reviews from fundraising scholars, is Johnsons The Eight Principles of sustainable Fundraising (Johnson, 2011). In his book, the author frames eights significant areas that non-profit organizations should address to achieve both successful and sustainable fundraising (Johnson, 2011). His notion is on the basis that establishing and nurturing relationships is the most effective and efficient way to strategic fundraising that is integrated. This idea is predominant in other articles and books such as Burkes (2003) Donor-Centered Fundraising. It is an important product of six years of study on fundraising that entailed survey and interviews of up to two hundred and sixty-seven non-profit organizations (Burke, 2003).

To begin, the first principle deliberated by Johnson (2011) is donors are the drivers (p.21). He discusses how NGOs need to assess donors values and why and how reciprocations is of a great deal for integrated and successful fundraising. In other words, donors want to be engaged in the entire process and not just enticed (Johnson, 2011). They should also be treated as people and not just as mere money givers. He further explains that, frequently, NGOs approaches to donors are on the trial and error basis that appears to be only marginally operative (Johnson, 2011). To facilitate capacity for donors, NGOs must understand their donors/funders first. Burke makes a comparable idea in her book (Burke, 2003).

On to the second principle, Johnson defines is begin at the beginning. The aim is for organizations to establish self-knowledge and transform their documented mission into the practical framework to the prospective donors. In this argument, Johnson stipulates that a categorical mission statement is needed for any NGO that wishes to achieve successful sustainable and strategical fundraising framework (Best, 2014). Particularly, the NGOs should describe to donors why this, why us and why now. (Johnson, 2011).

Recently, the emphasis is shifted in the sector of fundraising towards individual donors and donor retention. A research by Reddrick (2012) shows that individual donors are a vital element to non-profits financial endurance and health. On the same note, she cites information from Giving USA 2010 that approximates that individual donation to charitable discourse in the US has accounted for up to 75% of all the benevolent giving (Fisman, Kariv, and Markovits, n.d.). On the other hand, foundation giving accounts for mere 14% of such philanthropic course. For NGOs to harness those individual donors, Johnson recommends with this opinion the necessity for nonprofits to distinguish their wants from the rest (Johnson, 2011). Reiteration is made by Burke by emphasizing on the urge to make communications coherent with the prospective donors. The under-performance of fundraising strategy is as a failure of the communication process (Burke, 2003).

The third principle described by Johnson is centered on leadership and its role. Fundamentally, this principle posits that Non-Profit organization needs a strong, transparent and accountable board that is explicitly intended for fundraising purposes (Johnson, 2011). The obligation of the board is further reinforced by Burke (2003) during her interview about her book; she gave directions and illustrations that the board is a good idea and should vastly act as the link, and also they are vital in information disseminations to the potential donors (Burke, 2003). Many scholars felt the importance of this board in successful fundraising. There monumental role in assessing the level of fundraising needs, contacting donors, building linkages, and maintaining the positive relationship is of foremost importance (Epstein, 2010). It is not all about money through it is all about keeping in touch for the sake of continuity of common goal (Burke, 2003).

Additionally, the fourth principle by Johnson (2011) sheds light on donors acquisition in nonprofit. It is formal to learn and to plan. Research shows that, Johnsons aim was to elucidate that any charitys undertaking when identified, determines who will give, and therefore, for this reason, NGO can identify those individuals, plan appropriately, builds the relationship and act in that course of action guided by clear frameworks (Fisman, Kariv, and Markovits, n.d.). To do this, Johnson further clarifies that NGOs ought to comprehend why their donors give, in light of the fact that most giving are for some reason. Johnson expresses the significance of saying so by acknowledging that "when there are no connections with the fundamental values of the donors and contributors there is feeble philanthropic intent and practically little or no loyalty" (p. 78). Understanding why benefactors are giving permits NGOs the capacity to report back to those benefactors as to the desired impact, their gift has had. This finding is supported by various scholars among them Burke (Sargeant and Jay, 2004). She found out that 46% of donors stop their contribution towards a charity due to lack of lack of meaningful information. Again, the PHI strategies dont have a guideline policy that gives information back to the donors. There is nothing at PHI to show if they understand why donors giv...

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