IUC / Inter University Centre Dubrovnik

June 4 - 16, 2000 / Regina Mueller

Fund Raising Manual


Fundraising is a business which requires commitment and skills. Financial planning, understanding of respective marketing rules, and knowledge of laws which regulate donations in the respective country, are some of the targets to be developed from the outset as a continous process of fundraising.


Public relations and public education may be the most sustainable parts of a fundraising campaign.


Public relations helps to communicate specific information with a specific purpose to a specific target. It is an instrument to recruit volunteers who will serve the organization. It also gives a basisto promote the organization's activities and programs. Public relations leads directly into public education and awareness programs, i.e., education to the public about the aims and goals of the organization's mission, philosophy and projects.


Public relations is a two-way communication, whereas public education, awareness and information programs  are one-way actions.


Once the goals of an organization are determined, interested groups have to be found; these might be individuals, or other organizations, business people, social welfare corporations, government and municipal bodies, city administrations, private non-government organizations (NGOs), and others.


Those have to be contacted best in person face-to-face and addressed with special information, workshops, press meetings, exhibitions, bazaars, folders, leaflets, and newsletters; no limits can be given to the creativity an organization might develop in this regard.


It costs money to raise money !


What is Fund Raising ?


Fundraising is the most important issue of any social program, as there is no natural income-generating product to be sold.

  • The ‘product’ of a social welfare organization is the program it offers to its beneficiaries, i.e., improvement of quality of life, establishing advocacy and counselling services, health services, etc.

  • The ‘product’ must be of a good quality so that the supporter sees his/her contribution to be beneficial and successful.

  • Supporters may be professional business people; therefore, the application must be presented and submitted in a professional way.

  • Professional documents are costly; research has to be undertaken, experts may be hired to compose prints and material such as displays, posters, manuals etc.. Press  and sponsor meetings may be needed: all these have to be included into a budget and into  fundraising planning, respectively.

What has to be 'sold' to the potential sponsors ?

  • Explain the spirit & philosophy of the organization.

  • Submit your area, regional, national or international programs.

  • Specify the structures of the organization, give a brief portrait of board members, describe current events, special promotions, program participants, etc.

  • List the in-kinds needed to run programs.

  • List skills potential volunteers could use in their services in favour of the organisation.

  • Be concise--describe your program in a simple and understandable manner.

Developing a plan to approach potential sponsors

  • List the potential sponsors in your area, region, or nationally or internationally, i.e. firms, enterprises, companies.

  • Specify: banks, communities, transport companies, business and commerce chambers; stationery shops, food producers; computer, press and photocopy centers; photo labs, equipment and material shops; social services such as Lions, Rotary, Round Table, Kiwanis, and others.

  • Establish a separate bank account.

  • Nominate a skilled person to be ready to answer any question: Set up a folder with the "most frequent questions" and give the answers.

  • Be sure you have some recent photos or documents to picture the organization's activity.

Preparing the proposal

  • Determine the form with which to approach potential sponsors, i.e. photocopies of the documents, photos, brochures, folders, which size, how to disseminate, including updated contact-addresses & phone/fax numbers, e-mail addresses.

  • Establish a homepage including a reply-button.

  • List the facts to be mentioned.

  • Describe why a potential sponsor should support the project: What are his/her benefits?; what will be the improvements for the organization and for the sponsors?

  • Be brief in all information.

Frequently asked questions / prepare the specific answers:

  • What makes your organization different from similar organizations ?

  • Why is this special program  carried out ?

  • Who profits from the program ?

  • Who else will contribute?

  • What do the participants contribute themselves (e.g participants' fees, food & accommodation, others) ?

  • Are donations subject to taxation?

Establishing a Budget

To each application for support a budget for the current or upcoming year should be added to inform a potential donor on the needs of the organization and how the funds are supposed to be used.


What kind of information are needed to establish a budget?

  • What is the purpose of the organization?

  • Why has the organization be established?

  • Who are the responsible persons?

  • To whom are the activities  offered?

  • How are the programs carried out?

receivers, beneficiars
mission, philosophy


What items should be mentioned in the budget ?

  • Administration and rooms

  • Material and equipment

  • Transports, food and beverage

  • Rents and taxesthird

  • Salaries and per diems

  • Support granted such as participation

  • Donations in-kind

  • "To raise money costs money"

basic needs
activity needs
participants' needs
parties' needs
staff/volunteers' needs
feesself support
overall needs
fundraising needs


The budget is the message!

A potential sponsor or donor wants to find out the following in the application:

  • How the organization is run.

  • By whom it is run.

  • Who the responsible persons are, such as president, chairperson, CEO, treasurer, etc..

  • To whom the reply should be addressed.

  • Where to send/transfer/deposit the funds.

  • Details on duration, participants, targets, sites etc of the respective event or activity.

  • What the goals are.

  • What the strategies are.

  • What sponsors and donors are suggested to contribute.

  • What he/she profits from through his/her contribution to this specific organization.

Donations in-kind such as providing equipment, office space at lower rent, material for special activities, reduced costs for printings, food and beverage, and whatever else an activity or program held by the organization needs could be covered partly by donations in-kind. These costs should be visible in the budget.


Fundraising is not only shaking hands and receiving money; it is a business.


The following recommendations will guide through the most important targets of a successful fundraising campaign. Take your time to prepare the details; your efforts will be honored by contributions!


Professional ‘selling’ of the organization's activities or needs:

  • Prepare a Fundraising Package which contains the important information.

  • Invite potential sponsors and donors, press, radio and television, affiliates, community officials, and let them earn an insight in person of the profit that they themselves will get by supporting this special event, this special activity, or this special organization.

  • Approach potential sponsors and donors face-to-face to explain about your proposals and your needs.

  • Describe the benefits and improvements of the organization's activities.

Letter of appreciation and thanks to sponsors, donors, contributers in-kind and volunteers:

  • Finalize the financial report.

  • Return all the rented materials and equipment.

  • Collect all the promised funds and contributions.

  • Finalize auditing of the financial report.

  • Update the directory of sponsors, donors,and in-kind contributors volunteers.

  • Send a personal letter of appreciation and thanks to all sponsors, donors, contributers inkind, and volunteers.


Setup a fundraising package adapted to your situation and needs.

Setup a time frame for all actions to be taken for the fund raising campaign.

  • Account of previous year or similar events.

  • Budget of the specific fund raising campaign(Include in the budget fund raising expenditures).

  • Short description about the What, How, Who and Why.

  • Letter of Appreciation and Thanks, possibly added by some recent photos.

  • Directory of approached potential sponsors, donors, contributors in-kind, and volunteers for your file (and for the next fund raising campaign).

  • Be brief in all your explanations.


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Copyright for the I.U.C. Journal of Social Work Theory and Practice is owned by the Social Work Program, Department of Social Relations and Services, Bemidji State University, Bemidji, Minnesota, USA. One copy may be made (printed) for personal use; teachers may make multiple copies for student use if the copies are made available to students without charge. Permission must be secured from the editors for sale of any copies of articles or for any commercial use of the material published in the Journal.

2001 Copyright BSU/IUC Journal of Social Work Theory & Practice