Here are eight of my favorite fundraising resources.
In 2006, I helped start two new ministries. We didn’t have a clue how to set up a nonprofit, but we did it. What I typically do, when I face a new challenge, is I try to learn as much as I can about the topic. I dive in deep, and try to identify the most important concepts. And I do this for everything. Probably too much, but if you listen to this podcast as we move into the new year, you’ll benefit from this.
As an example, I have a friend who told me she was starting to write her memoir. What did I do? I asked friends in the writing world the best books were to read on memoirs. I read three books about memoir writing, and almost every post on Marion Roach Smith’s blog, all so I could help when my friend asked.
I love to learn, and I have a knack for taking information, distilling it down, and breaking complex things down and simplifying them. That’s one of the things I hope to do going forward with the Life and Mission podcast.
Our tagline is “Find your voice. Tell your story. Change the world.” But how? I’m going to break those down, and we’ll explore different aspects of each one.
How do you find your voice, anyway? We’re going to look at that from different angles, sometimes looking at practical steps, and at other times, we’ll hear from people sharing their own stories. So we’ll have a combination of solo episodes and interviews. And what I hope to do is to be more focused on really helping you do those three things: Find your voice, your unique voice. Tell your story, whether that’s through media or in the way you live. And what about changing the world? It’s all about impact.
That’s what we’re doing on this podcast, moving forward.
My Top 8 Fundraising Resources
Today I’d like to take my 14 years experience managing a nonprofits and offer help for leaders in this area. If you’re in the nonprofit world, or in the ministry world, you are in the business of changing the world. And you’re doing that under a specific set of rules, and usually, a lot of mindset issues!
When we started our organization back in 2006, I dove in. I took a nonprofit management course at the local community college. I bought dozens of books, subscribed to blogs and magazines, and all that stuff.
So many voices! So many people telling what to do! And over the years, I’ve culled that list down to about a dozen resources that I STILL go back to over and over, because they actually work! They actually help me. I am the wearer of all the hats, like so many of you are. You’re doing the programs; you’re doing the marketing; you’re doing the fundraising.
So this list is to help you with mindset, and strategy for programs, fundraising, and marketing, so you can focus on the activities that can actually move you toward the outcomes you want and need.
If you’re like me, you’re driving while you listen and it’s a little hard to take notes. So I’ve put everything I’m about to talk about here into a PDF you can download from my website kayhelm.com/npguide (also available at the bottom of this post).
In fact, the download has more resources than the ones I mention here. But for the ones I talk about in this episode, I’ll tell you why they’re on this list and how I use them.
Let’s start with the top books. If you only read 2 books, these are the ones.
1) A Spirituality of Fundraising, by Henri J.M. Nouwen
You can read this through in one sitting. It’s only 50-60 pages. And it deals with the most important part of your fundraising–your mind. So many people start because of passion, but then run into a wall because fundraising feels like begging. So we’ve got to change our mindset. This book gives a biblical understanding of the role money and raising money plays in ministry. We don’t want to miss opportunities for deep and meaningful relationships that make fundraising so rewarding. Most of us need a mindset shift as we examine our relationships with success, comfort, and money. This is a book that invites us to examine our hearts, motives, and methods and align these with God’s word.
If you come to me for fundraising coaching, Session One homework is to read this book.
2) Fundraising Freedom: 7 Steps to Build and Sustain Your Next Campaign, by Mary Valloni
This book outlines Mary’s FREEDOM Fundraising Framework. Raising funds successfully and consistently requires strategy! The Freedom framework gives you that strategy, from clarifying your mission and message to building and deploying your teams and making your difference! You don’t need to chase after everybody’s tips and tricks – build on this effective framework to engage more donors and volunteers.
3) Fully Funded Academy
This resource is specifically for missionaries raising support. Fully Funded Academy is a monthly membership training program that gives you the clarity and confidence to launch, grow, and scale your financial support base. Mike Kim is a marketing genius; Mary Valloni has the fundraising strategy. Put those two together, along with a library of teaching, two monthly live calls, templates for letters and blog posts, all kinds of training for developing your website, emails, and print assets, and an amazing community – you will never be alone and never not know what to do next in your fundraising. The fund-raising strategy is based on Mary’s FREEDOM Fundraising framework.
There is also a Fully Funded Academy podcast! I’ve been a part of this community now for two years, and I am a Fully Funded Certified Coach, so if you want 1:1 attention as you put this into practice I can help you with that.
4) Cairification, from Claire Axelrad
There are really only two blogs you need to follow. The first one is “Clairification” from Claire Axelrad. This blog is a tremendous source of knowledge on all things fundraising and philanthropy. Claire teaches the CFRE course that certifies professional fundraisers, and her posts are packed with useful, practical how-to’s and why’s for key aspects of fundraising and donor communication.
5) The Storytelling Nonprofit
The next blog is the Storytelling Nonprofit, from Vanessa Chase Lockshin. I interviewed Vanessa in episode 27, and Claire put that interview in her weekly list oof favorite resources – so, there ya go! As the Storytelling Nonprofit, Vanessa’s focus is on recognizing, collecting and telling stories that help donors connect with our cause. She’s got the blog, YouTube channels and regular, really helpful emails with storytelling techniques you can use immediately. Stories are powerful! You absolutely have to tell stories effectively to raise funds. The Storytelling Nonprofit will help you do that.
I want to include these next resources because I’ve been surprised at how many smaller nonprofits don’t know about them.
6) GuideStar (now part of Candid)
You need to be sure your organization is listed on GuideStar, and that you keep your listing updated each year. We make sure to update our profile, and put the GuideStar seal on our website to help build trust and confidence with donors. Here’s the thing you need need to know. Listing on GuideStar is free. You need to have all your nonprofit paperwork in order, and take the time to complete your profile with all the details. GuideStar will actually pull your 990s in from the IRS, so funders can see what you’re doing with finances. This is the place where most foundations and funders will look to verify your information, got make sure you are a legit 501c3. So when you apply for a grant, and when you apply to get listed on other nonprofit sites like GlobalGiving, they need to find you here.
This next one will save you TONS of money. TechSoup.org. Once you’re listed on GuideStar, apply with TechSoup so you can get discounts on software and hardware for your nonprofit. So, no. you do not need to pay $500 for Quickbooks Nonprofit. I think it’s something like $60 through TechSoup. Do NOT go to sketchy discount software stores where you could end up with pirated software, or malware. Get the real deal. Top software packages including Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Suite, anti virus software, and all kinds of tech deals. These are real, licensed agreements for great deals.
For Christian nonprofit organizations, I want to mention ECFA. Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability. You’ve seen the blue ECFA seal on materials from Christian organizations. This means they’re accredited by the ECFA, and that they adhere to the ECFA’s Seven Standards of Responsible Stewardship. If you’re a smaller organization, you might think you can’t afford to pursue ECFA accreditation, but take heart! Once you apply, they have people to help walk you through the process. In addition, they produce some of the best resources (books, guides, webinars, and more) to guide your organization in areas of good governance and financial accountability. If you are just beginning the process of starting a nonprofit, start here! Use their resources for building a strong board and organizational structure that will serve you well for many years. You’ll save yourself so much hassle by starting off right!
Those are my eight top nonprofit fundraising resources. I have 11 more in my nonprofit fundraising guide (sign up for emails and I’ll send it to you for free. You can always unsubscribe later).
As always, we’re talking about all of these and more in the Life and Mission Podcast community over on Facebook.
Thanks for listening to the Life and Mission podcast – Find your Voice, Tell your story. Change the world!
Get the resource list as a PDF download – with more resources and helpful tips!