[permaculture] 'Fun'draising Toolkit - A template [which is somehow strangely obvious]

Keith Johnson keithdj at mindspring.com
Sat Sep 30 13:49:58 EDT 2006

Gee, I wish someone had handed me a set of tools like this to work with 
when I was younger. Feel free to bend and shape your own requirements.


    Fundraising can be daunting for those who are not used to it.
    However, it is crucial to the development of any non-profit
    organization, including Post Carbon Institute and the Local Groups
    within the Relocalization Network. For this reason,
    we want to make sure that all Local Post Carbon Groups are set up
    for success!

    The Fundraising Toolkit for Local Post Carbon Groups contains
    advice, templates and examples based on successful
    fundraising techniques. This package is designed to help your Group
    set up fundraising systems which will allow you to
    tap into the resources required to make your vision a reality.

*The Basics: If You Need Money [or just an Income] , You Have To Ask For It*

    *The number one impetus for people who have contributed to
    non-profit organizations
    [or to your personal well-being] is that they are asked!*

    Create a fundraising plan

        The more proactive, organized and prepared you are, the more
        opportunity you will have to successfully
        engage potential donors. Every plan is different but you may
        want to start by:

            . Defining what you want to achieve and by when. Work
            backwards from these goals
            . Establishing how much money you need to achieve your goals
            . Developing Wish Lists of items that your Group needs
            . Creating a basic fundraising proposal that you can tailor
            for different potential funders

    Do Not Fear Rejection

        We have been raised to be anxious about money, so it is natural
        that many of us get anxious about fundraising. The fact of
        the matter is that some people will say no when you approach
        them for money. You can assume that for every three to ten
        people you ask, only one person will actually donate...and that
        is a generous estimate. There is no way of getting around
        rejection in the fundraising arena. The only way to deal with
        rejection is to:

            . Have high hopes and low expectations
            . Maintain an unwavering belief in your cause. Keep the faith!
            . Stay close to your purpose. Do not switch gears as a last
            ditch effort to keep the potential donor interested.
            . Gracefully accept rejection when you encounter it.

    Build Relationships With Donors

        This is the essence of fundraising: it is an exchange between
        people who care about a cause and want to address it. Your
        group is doing work that other people could not do alone and
        donors are, in a sense, compensating you to do that work.
        Foster those relationships and turn donors into lifetime friends
        of your Local Post Carbon Group. This important aspect of
        fundraising is touched upon in more detail later in this package.

    Funding sources

        There are several ways for an organization to generate funding.
        This includes securing money through:

            . An Earned Income
            . The Public Sector
            . The Private Sector

    Earned Income

        Some organizations secure some of their funding through earned
        income, such as the sale of books, buttons, t-shirts or other
        related items. This can help organizations increase their
        financial stability and reduce their reliance on grants and

        However, please be aware that for non-profit organizations,
        earned income can only constitute a small percentage of total
        income. Please consult your federal tax laws for more detailed

        Accounting for your current sources of earned income will help
        you to understand what type of funding you will need to
        pursue in order to close the gap between what you have and what
        you need. This is an important step in preparing a
        funding proposal to present to potential donors in the public
        and private sectors.

    Public Sector

        Funding under this category comes from the government. You will
        most likely be asking for funding from local and, possibly,
        national government entities through grant applications. Only
        apply to grants that are in line with your Local Group's vision.
        *The last thing you want is to receive a grant that requires you
        do work in an area that takes your focus away from your
        identified goals.* Applying to grants is addressed in more
        detail later in this information package.

    Private Sector

        This category includes individuals, businesses, foundations and
        other grantmaking organizations. The majority of funding
        for most Local Post Carbon Groups will come from the private
        sector. Individual donations are particularly important, as
        approximately 85% of all contributions to charitable
        organizations in the U.S. come from individuals. For this reason
        it is
        worth developing a good system for attracting and maintaining
        individual donors. The rest of this information package
        focuses on private sector donations.

          Building your donor base

    Current Donors

        Current donors have already expressed an interest in helping
        your Group (and Post Carbon Institute as a whole) achieve
        its goals. Statistics show that if someone has donated to an
        organization before, they will most likely donate to that
        organization again. This is an important piece of information to
        cultivate in the fundraising process because lifetime donors
        to an organization make up a huge chunk of individual donations
        to non-profit organizations.
        The key to encouraging people to become lifetime donors is
        creating relationships with existing donors that tie them further
        to your Group and its overall purpose. Customize a highly
        personalized approach to engage in a give-and-take dialogue with
        your donors by:

            . Inviting them to Group events
            . Giving them a call on a regular basis or when you come
            across something that might be of interest to them
            . Meeting them for coffee and a chat about what is going on
            with the Group
            . Sending them newsletters or regular updates
            . Thanking them for their contributions in a timely fashion
            [See the Thank You Template included in this package]
            . Holding free feel-good cultivation events to show them
            your appreciation (and to meet their friends -- potential
            . Getting creative with how you engage in dialogue with them

        You can get as creative as you want in regards to how you engage
        in dialogue with your current donors. Just ensure the
        dialogue allows you to:

            . Keep track of their preferences and actions
            . Ask for feedback
            . Incorporate what you have learned into your next
            conversation with them
            . Keep donors up-to-date on everything about your Local
            Group and the Relocalization Network including, but not
            limited to, what type of funding is needed to attain your
            specific goals

    New Donors

        The first step in getting potential first-time donors is to
        educate them about your organization. This education should

            . A brief history of your Local Post Carbon Group, the
            Relocalizaton Network and Post Carbon Institute
            . A basic statement of programs and services offered
            . A breakdown of numbers (ex. people served, budget size)
            . A Group and organization vision for the future and an
            outline of what is required to achieve that vision. Identify
            the gap.
            . An emotional hoo

        Initial contact with potential first-time donors can take place
        in a number of ways including, but not limited to:

            . Public screenings of the End of Suburbia (see
            www.endofsuburbia.com for more information)
            . Presentations aimed at raising awareness
            . Lunch meetings with member(s) of your group
            . One-on-one meetings
            . Following up thoroughly on a request for information
            . Guiding them through the website

        Always ensure you have a system of capturing names, addresses
        and e-mails (with permission, of course).
        Follow up with potential first-time donors within a week of
        their education. This will provide you with the opportunity to:

            . Thank them for participating in the educational session
            . Ask them to share their thoughts about the session
            . Listen to what their specific interests are in the Group
            . Ask whether they see themselves being involved in the Group
            . Ask whether they know of anyone else who would be
            interested in hearing about the Group and its mission

        Make the ask....i.e. ask. Timing counts a lot at this stage.
        Once a potential first-time donor has been educated and you have
        followed up with them, you are at an appropriate stage to ask
        for money. Use the information you have gathered about them so
        far in order to determine how their contribution can best serve
        both the Group and the donor. Lay out the different methods of

            . Specific Amounts: explain your financial needs in general
            and specify which ones are related to their interests
            . Levels of Donation: explain what certain contribution
            levels can typically do for the Group
            . Multiple Year Pledges: explain how this type of funding is
            best for helping to support the operating needs of the

        To help with the collection of pledged donations, you may wish
        to create a donor pledge sheet. Just remember that the
        donations you collect will not be tax-deductible unless your
        group has charitable status or can find a fiscal sponsor who

See our Post Carbon Institute Sample Funding Pledge Sheet for ideas on
how to set up your own pledge sheet.

        Keep track of your donors. Make sure that you maintain a donor
        tracking system. Knowing who speaks to donors
        in what way and how often will help you learn more about how
        your Local Group relates to its donors. This, in turn, will help
        you learn how to develop and maintain strong relationships with
        loyal donors. It will also give you a list of regular donors,
        who you can use to ask for future support and link you to more
        potential-first time donors. Tracking donors over time
        increases the likelhood of developing a strong base of lifetime

        Foundations and other grantmaking organizations

            Fundraising tactics aimed at foundations and other grant
            making organizations require finding a 'good fit' between
            the goals
            of your Group and the requirements of the particular
            foundation or organization. Remembering the common principle
            not all of your fundraising attempts will be successful, you
            will need to ask as many potential donors for money as possible.
            Finding foundations that fit. In order to find a 'good fit'
            there are a few things that you can do:

                . Develop, maintain and update a list of potential 'good
                fits' in your area.
                . Subscribe to a server that lists foundation profiles
                [A good example is the Foundation Center at
                http://fdncenter.org ]
                . Mine your contacts to find out whether they know
                anyone influential who could help achieve the goals of the
                organization; ask for an introduction.
                . Make sure that you discuss the mission and goals of
                the Group candidly with your own contacts so that they are
                well-versed when talking to others.
                . Approach community funds through one of its members
                who would likely advocate the goals of your Local Group
                and Post Carbon Institute. Use your contacts for an
                introduction and remember that grants or donations
                typically go
                to organizations that the community fund is tied to in
                some way.
                . Remember that foundations want their contributions to
                have the largest possible impact. For this reason, you
                may want to emphasize that your group's resources will
                be shared among an international network of over 100
                other Loc al Post Carbon Groups and that, in this way,
                your successes will help many other communities.
                Once you have made and cultivated contacts for potential
                'good fits', it is time to write and send them funding
                Don't forget to tailor your proposals to each individual

See our Post Carbon Institute funding proposal template for more help 
writing funding proposals.


            Soliciting funding from businesses can be tricky because
            they often have a large set of criteria that an organization
            meet before they commit to a donation. They may not view a
            potential partnership with the Post Carbon Institute and your
            Group as beneficial to their overall image or may not find
            our mission conducive to the way they wish to continue running
            their business. You can start by making a list of local
            businesses that have demonstrated a concern related to any
            of the issues
            that your Local Group addresses.


        This information should help to start you and your Local Group
        on the path to fundraising success. If you have any questions
        about this package or need more fundraising support, please
        contact our Development Coordinator at
        members at postcarbon.org or by phone at 604-736-9000.
        Good luck!!

Appendix A:


        Profiled by:



            . Include a brief statement about the relationship between
            the potential donor & your organization (i.e. who referred
            them to you or how they became interested in your Local Group)

        Current activities:

            . Include the donor's current jobs, volunteer activities

        Boards he/she currently sits on:

        Organizations he/she currently funds:

            . Include all charitable donations, political contributions,
            and anything else you can find

        Past activities:

            . Old jobs, past involvement with other organizations, books
            written, talks given, etc.


        . Include anything else that is relevant to your donor's
        interest in your Local Group

Appendix B:


        [Print on your Group's letterhead, if you have one]


        Dear [addressee],
        Thank you so much for your generous donation to [Local Group
        name here]. We are extremely appreciative of the support
        you have shown for our group.
        With your gift, we will be able to [insert use of funds here].
        The ability to [sum up outcomes and/or positive benefit of the
        activity which you will be undertaking] is critical, and we are
        grateful for the opportunity to continue doing so. Thank you for
        helping to ensure the success of our group's mission. Your
        invaluable support helps us grow and develop.
        We will be sending you an update in [date 9 months from receipt
        of funds, if the donor is reasonably large] to let you know
        how we have been making use of the funds you so kindly provided.
        Please do not hesitate to contact me personally at any
        time if you have any questions or would like further information.
        Yours truly,
        [Contact person]
        [Contact information]

Appendix C:


        Post Carbon Institute

        Post Carbon Institute is a non-profit think, action and
        education tank offering research, project tools, education and
        information to implement proactive strategies to adapt to an
        energy constrained world. The development of Post Carbon
        Institute came out of a concern for the environmental, social,
        political and economic ramifications of global over-reliance on
        cheap energy. Our main response to these concerns is the
        strategy of Relocalization, which aims to rebuild societies based on
        the local production of food, manufactured goods and energy, and
        the Relocalization of currency, governance and culture.
        The main goals of Relocalization are to increase community
        energy security, strengthen local economies, dramatically improve
        environmental conditions and foster social equity.

        An Imperative to Act

        Relying on a system of cheap energy and globalized trade has
        many negative implications. These include climate change
        and environmental degradation; the erosion of small businesses
        and the diversion of profits away from local communities;
        loss of energy security and increased geo-political conflict;
        the proliferation of suburbs and resulting social dislocation; and
        increased dependence on oil, a finite resource which many
        experts predict will hit its global production peak before the end
        of this decade.

            [You may want to add more information to this section which
            addresses the foundation's
            area of focus. For example, if a potential funder is
            concerned about local food production, you
            might want to talk about the fuel used in fertilizer &
            transportation and the environmental
            benefits of local farming. If a funder is concerned about
            climate change, you can focus on the
            emissions reductions that come from decreased energy

        The Response- Relocalization

        Relocalization provides community solutions to these significant
        challenges by allowing community members to source
        essential goods and services much closer to home and, as a
        result, dramatically reduce their overall energy consumption.
        Each individual Relocalization response has additional positive
        benefits. For example, making food or manufactured goods
        locally reduces the amount of energy intensive long-distance
        shipping that is required to bring products to consumers.
        Producing local renewable energy decreases the need for
        large-scale polluting sources of energy, such as oil, nuclear,
        gas and coal. In addition, linking communities' outputs to their
        capacity for local energy production will encourage them to
        stay within their local limits to growth, reducing environmental
        degradation and climate change.

    The Relocalization Network

        Post Carbon Institute supports the Relocalization Network, a
        growing network of Local Post Carbon Groups and
        Relocalization Network affiliates all over the world which are
        working to prepare their communities for an energy-constrained
        future. These community-based groups receive guidance,
        educational resources and electronic infrastructure from Post
        Carbon Institute. The Groups work within their communities in
        cooperation with local governments, businesses, nongovernmental
        organizations and educational institutions to put the concept of
        Relocalization into practice.

        While working primarily within their communities, these groups
        also share knowledge, experience, and educational resources
        with the all of the other Local Groups within the global
        Relocalization Network. Local Post Carbon Groups are experimenting
        with Relocalization projects with the aim of developing viable
        solutions to the challenges of peak oil. All successes and
        failures are valuable contributions, helping the network develop
        a comprehensive Relocalization strategy.

        [Insert your Local Group's name here]

            [Here, you will want to describe a bit about your group
            including its most recent
            accomplishments, current activities and future plans. Make
            sure to tailor the information to
            appeal to the particular funder you have in mind each time
            you write an application.]


            [You should include a copy of your project's budget, overall
            goals, timeline, specific tasks and
            deliverables, along with a listing of key project staff or
            board members and their relevant
            qualifications. You may also want to include a list of past
            funders and information about your
            fiscal sponsor or charitable status**.]

            ** Note: Fiscal sponsorship is when a charitable
            organization contracts another nonprofit
            organization without charitable status to do some of its
            charitable work. This allows
            organizations without charitable status to accept tax-exempt
            grants. For more information
            about fiscal sponsorship or charitable status, please
            consult a lawyer specializing in non-profit
            tax law.

Keith Johnson
Permaculture Activist Magazine
PO Box 5516
Bloomington, IN 47408
(812) 335-0383
also Patterns for Abundance Design & Consulting

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