Effective fundraising committees are vital to the life and financial well-being of organizations. Committees range from the board of directors to ad hoc or standing teams enlisted to help raise awareness and funds. The functions of these groups are varied but center around information, building relationships and raising money to meet the specific organization's special or ongoing needs.
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)
Fundraising committees ensure that nonprofit organizations have the funding they need to fulfill their missions.
Why Are Fundraising Committees Important?
Many organizations were founded to promote sports, education, religion, visual and performance arts, politics, health and social awareness, and many other causes. Fundraising is a valuable component of the ongoing work of these groups, and a fundraising committee mission statement should reflect that. An active, productive and dedicated committee ensures a successful project. Invite members of the community who have a keen interest in the organization to be part of your fundraising efforts.
For example, an orchestra may look at ticket sales, find those who attend the most concerts, then invite them to a fun, informational event centered around music. Enlist the help of board members to recruit new fundraising committee members.Their interest in the organization is a key element to a successful fundraiser.
What Do Fundraising Committees Do?
There is no single fundraising committee job description. Boards and fundraising committees hold many important roles in an organization. Boards determine budgets, terms of employment, mission and purpose statements, goals and more. Together with the CEO or president, boards and committees are the "faces" of the organization in the community. A positive relationship with the media and influential people in the community is important for a fundraising committee and an expected part of fundraising committee expectations.
Ask tough questions about your plans – a feasibility study should precede any fundraising project. Find out who will support the project and how much can you realistically ask for and receive. Developing a strategic plan with kick-off and ending dates, and getting the information out to the community are important functions of the board and committee.
What Skills Are Needed?
The task force has the challenge of vying with other organizations for local philanthropic dollars, and must schedule fundraising efforts that best capture the attention, hearts and funds of the community. Your committee members must be knowledgeable about the organization and its projects, so they can tell prospective donors why money should be given to you rather than another worthy organization.
Grant writing is an arm of fundraising. Many organizations employ a grant writer, but many cannot and must rely on the abilities of the board and committee to compose grant proposals. The proposal expresses the organization's purpose, mission, plans and financial needs. Always follow the foundation's proposal guidelines and meet their requirements in your grant requests.
Determining Committee Size
The size of a fundraising committee is not as important as the drive of its members and the effectiveness of its leaders. An enthusiastic team of four may accomplish more than a group of 12 who lack the energy or time to devote to the project.
Determine the needs of the project, the amount of money needed, and the kinds of events or appeals to be made. Then divide the duties among the members. Committee members should be matched to their strengths and be encouraged to invite others to join them. The board's size is determined at the time of establishing the organization and is outlined in its by-laws.
Recruiting New Members
To recruit new volunteers, ask interested individuals to be on your team. Give new members short-term and simplified tasks to start with, then add responsibilities as they meet their goals and express willingness to continue. Congratulate them on successes, yet leave room for growth and development.
All board and committee members are expected to present a unified front to the public, and to "put their money where their mouth is" by donating to the project.
Rose Darling has been writing since 1984, covering entertainment, travel and home-and-family topics. Her articles have appeared in publications in Ohio and New Zealand, as well as online. Darling graduated from Western Illinois University, earning a B.A. with emphasis on anthropology, and is currently completing her master's degree.