Manual: Resource development tips


  • It’s all about relationships
  • If you want money ask for advice; if you want advice, ask for money
  • Identify someone as the point person/committee chair
  • Have a Resource Development committee (the entire board?)
  • Everyone—board and staff—needs to be engaged in fund raising
  • Donors need to know that you exist—be bold in promoting your work
  • Make it positive—donors want to be part of a winning operation. Never use desperation as a fund raising hook


  • Personal solicitation
  • Make the conversation about the donor
  • What inspired your gift?
  • What part of our work most interests you?
  • Ask for advice and input
  • Listen more than talk!
  • Direct mail
  • Commercial mailing requires a fairly large donor pool
  • You can still have a successful mail campaign—do it yourself!
  • Successful appeals are as much art as science
  • Successful appeals are ‘you’ rather than ‘we’ directed
  • Successful appeals touch the donors’ hearts and minds
  • Use newsletters as fund raisers
  • Special events
  • Require dedication of time and energy
  • Make it good or don’t bother
  • Recurring annual/signature events can build name identification/loyalty
  • Small, more intimate events can be very effective
  • Year end—the most important fund raising season
  • Create and follow a year-end plan
  • Personal contact
  • Christmas Cards
  • Letters
  • Social media push—especially at the end of the year

Follow up

  • Thank-you letters within 48 hours
  • Focus on the donor rather than your work—more you’s than we’s
  • Let the donor know how their gift has impacted lives
  • Consider including a note from a beneficiary
  • Phone calls
  • Personal visits
  • Annual thank-a-thon


  • Planned Giving
  • Bequests, remainder trusts, annuities, etc.
  • Identify a support agency (e.g. Everance)
  • Include Legacy brochure in mailings
  • Gifts and Services in Kind
  • Great engagement opportunity for local suppliers
  • Require the same level of nurture as donors
  • Grants
  • Many foundations give locally
  • The Foundation Center is an excellent resource
  • We can help identify potential grantors in your area
  • Grant writing is as much common sense as science
  • Grant writing requires good and current record keeping
  • Financials
  • Families/Individuals/Demographics served
  • Communications tips
  • It’s not about you, it’s about them
  • Donors like to feel that they are part of something
  • Stay in regular, but not invasive, communications
  • Learn how to use social media to stay in touch
  • Focus on results rather than just the need

(Downloadable Word version of this document)

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