Thoughts on Fundraising: Part 1

I was thinking about the concept of “support raising” or “fundraising” and wondering about the general response of people who hear that term.

I’m sure that many have no idea what it means and others are actually offended by it, feeling as if its all about people begging for money… particularly people who can’t find a “real job.”

Still others debate that they work hard for their money… so should everyone else etc…

As a result of these kind of issues and confusions I figured I would explore the topic a little bit, both for myself and for those wondering about what it all means. After all, I need to have a solid rationale for my own thoughts and current position. So, I thought I would write a little series of thoughts/articles on the topic that you can process, debate or argue with. This is Part 1.

First, I will give a little insight into what the concept actually is. Essentially every charitable organization is run based on the “generous donations” of those who support that organization, whether it be individuals, businesses or whatever, even in the context of fundraisers they are reliant on money that others give, out of the goodness of their hearts and as they buy into what is going on or believe in the cause.

Public television is another example of this. When you think of this example the contrast really is that you have two options. Either you pay for the television channel through your monthly cable bill, or through being forced to sit through commercials (or both), either way you are paying for what you are watching. Of course, there are a number of ways to save on your cable bill, but this will often require some initiative on your behalf. Or, you can choose to watch Public TV and if you believe in it enough, send in a donation. Neither channel “works” harder than the others, they simply have a different value set or perspective on how to get paid for the same amount of work that they do. Often times the product can be better because it is done out of the passion and love for the work rather than the potential “riches” that is the risk of many businesses.

Many larger organizations will raise enough money as an overall organization so that those they hire can be paid out of the general fund, a church is an example of this, but this is not always possible/easy particularly in the case with smaller non-profit structures.

Let’s just go back to the idea of the church for a minute. You may not think it, but churches need to raise money to be able to operate like other organizations need to. And to make this possible, they decide to go down the fundraising route, as well as looking at these Church Fundraising Ideas to mix things up a bit and to provide the people with something different. This is actually a positive in itself, as not only will they be raising vital funds, but they could attract more attention to the church as well. Who knew that fundraising for a church would be so essential? But, as I’ve already said, it’s a lot harder to do this with smaller structures.

Doing this can require full time fund raisers, or if done by each staff member, takes time away from the work itself. Not to mention adding undo stress to those whose “gifts” or “abilities” don’t naturally fall in the category of “asking for money”, “fundraising” or whatever else you might want to call it. And yet many do it anyway, because they believe enough in what they are doing to put themselves out there.

So, as an opening thought, to those of you who know of non-profit organizations and people who have to ask for financial support in their jobs, can you honestly say that they are not working as hard as other organizations? Or that what they are doing isn’t valuable? Does it mean that they and their work are worth less because they choose to give their product or services to many without being directly paid for it?

I’m not saying that we necessarily need to pay them, or donate. But on the other hand maybe we should take the time to consider whether or not we believe in what’s going on and what they are doing and ask ourselves if we would like to be a part of supporting that product or activity.

After all, we are paying for a lot of things that we don’t agree with anyway, through taxes, with our time (commercials), cable bills etc… Why not take some of that tax money and put it into something we believe in… we’ll get some of it back at the end of the year as we can write it off anyway.

What do you think?

This article has 2 Comments

  1. Just thinking about this…wouldn’t it make sense for a non-profit organization to have someone on staff who is gifted and trained in fundraising, raising funds/securing funding etc. to support the organization (or ministry in your case)? Then, the person who has the passion for ministry or counselling or other gifting, can spend his time and energy in fulfilling his role in the ministry instead of spending it fundraising.

    1. Absolutely, our ministry has considered that too, a lot of work and it requires a lot more money though.
      The added problem though is that having someone to fundraiser potentially takes the opportunity away from all of the people who would be a part of it. They could be part of the foundation. Rather than individuals being approached to support us only extremely wealthy people are approached to support the ministry as a whole and that can dampen the overall impact.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.