Successful fundraising is not necessarily about the amount of money raised. It’s about raising the right kinds of funds that enable an NPO to make good on its mission, and thus make a difference. Blogger Richard Turner explains why in his recent post, "What is fundraising success?"
Not all money raised can be treated equally. For example, does the money come with strings? Unrestricted funds gives an organisation the flexibility to cover such things as overheads and running costs that many funders shy away from.
Timing counts too. How and when you receive the money determines how to plan your finances and operations. As Turner points out, “Money received is not the same as money raised.”
Raising funds from scratch with little upfront investment is far more difficult than building on existing fundraising programmes and infrastructures. If your situation is the former, better to set a realistic goal so that you can demonstrate an ability to reach (or even exceed) your fundraising targets. Why hamstring future fundraising efforts by broadcasting the perception that you can't raise money?
Follow the right kind of money
Turner believes that focusing on your true mission rather than simply chasing funds will improve your overall chances of raising money in the long run. It’s not just about the money, but raising the right money!
So many organisations are tempted to chase down any low-hanging grant opportunity, only to wander into areas that fall outside of their original mission scope, and predictably, beyond their organisational skill-set. It is better to develop a good reputation and build good relationships in areas best suited to your organisational success. Such will help develop your brand and increase the likelyhood that funders will want ro work with your in the future.
Simply put, says Turner, “Fundraising is a success when it delivers on the mission.”