The Importance of a Fundraising Committee: How to Strategize With Your Staff, Volunteers and Board – Part One

While non-profits continue their tremendous work on ever-tighter budgets, there is a demand for sustainability not supported by one-time grants and a greater competition for scarce resources. There are more groups today in the social profit sector than ever, and to respond, organizations must innovate, identify and utilize their assets, seek and learn new skills, utilize social media, and shorten the idea to implementation curve.

Board members can be an asset in this process or just a titleholder. A fundraising committee (FC) can be most useful as a consistent element. Often times, the Board is called on to fulfill many of the FC roles, and so supporting the board to encourage diversified and new ways to broaden reach, enabling productive uses of time, encouraging involvement, and limit crisis funding – are all vital reasons to enable effective and healthy organizations meet their fundraising goals. However in reality, making strategic planning for each of those elements a priority gets trumped by the day to day tasks and responsibilities, where staff oftentimes wear many hats as: program coordinator, outreach, trainer, curriculum development, evaluator and grant writer– where does an organization find the time?

The best time to implement a deliberate fundraising committee is alongside the strategic plan or end of year program evaluation and new year work plan. Since funds are a core part of an organization, the motivation to invest time and energy should pay off if the key ingredients are appropriately measured and collectively supported.

Some of the benefits of a fundraising committee (FC) include:

  1. Added resources – assets, connections, power and legwork.
  2. Positive representation – provide the organization with an additional reason to invest and get involved in their group through their relationships, enthusiasm and promotion.
  3. Providing Accountability – required or expected to justify actions or decisions; responsible to the mission, vision and decisions of the committee and staff.
  4. Promoting a Learning Culture – constantly improving and re-creating your organization is a must in a world where attention is difficult to maintain. If the organization uses a ‘if it’s not broke don’t fix it’ mentality, then it will remain exactly where it is.
  5. Creating a Case statement – A compelling argument, passionate, important and consistent message, to support your organization/program(s).
  6. Prioritized planning – often we spread ourselves thin on the new, the trendy or what is within reach, sometimes in crisis mode. A plan will provide a firmer ground to jump off of. Prioritizing what is most realistic for your organization given your needs, potential to build relationships and a financial payoff – not just the dollar amount alone.

It is wrong to assume that “people who understand your organization’s priorities and enjoy asking for money!” (Charity Village, 2010) is the only driving factor in a successful fundraising committee. In a time where there are countless social good organizations, locally and globally, if we do not invest in relationships, of the board, neighbors, clients and participants – then another committee will feel just like that, another committee.