How to Set Up a Fundraising Business

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Fundraising consulting can be done with little overhead
Fundraising consulting can be done with little overhead (Image: consultancy image by Andrey Kiselev from Fotolia.com)

A reputable fundraising business plays a vital role in keeping nonprofit organizations operating and providing needed services to communities. Consulting and distributing products help organizations raise operating funds or generate cash flow for capital projects. Fundraising businesses that adhere to industry standards build trust and become positioned to generate repeat business from satisfied clients. Successful fundraisers can take satisfaction knowing they contribute to the quality of life in a community.

Things You'll Need

  • Fact sheet
  • Personal bio
  • Executive director contacts
  • Fundraising products (optional)

Consulting

List personal experience in fundraising either in a paid position or volunteer position for a church, school, scouting group or other non-profit organization. Develop skills through in-person training or online classes for writing grant proposals, obtaining major donations, or planning a fundraising event. Join the Association of Fundraising Professionals (Afpnet.org) to establish credibility. Write a one-page fact sheet outlining the specific approach used for fundraising; write a one-half page biography stating why fundraising is a personal passion; then include a listing of accomplishments and training. Attach copies of reference letters from either paid or volunteer positions.

Volunteer accomplishments are valid
Volunteer accomplishments are valid (Image: woman hands typing on laptop keyboard image by .shock from Fotolia.com)

Approach nonprofit organizations and offer help as an independent fundraising consultant. Tell organizations how hiring an independent consultant reduces payroll costs. Write a proposal stating a flat fee to perform specific tasks like networking with local business organizations and writing grant proposals. Propose helping an organization at no charge for up to six months for limited professional fundraising experience.

Choose a nonprofit organization to assist that adheres to principles listed by Guidestar.org and “Will discuss their programs and finances and [does not] use pressure tactics”. Schedule a meeting and then ask the executive director and board members who serve on a fundraising committee what they see as their greatest need in fundraising. List their concerns and then ask permission to develop a proposal that provides solutions.

Product Distribution

Spend time developing a business plan to find appropriate suppliers and products that sell well since “research has found 75 percent of Americans - and eight out of 10 parents - purchase fundraising products,” according to the Association of Fundraising Distributors and Suppliers, Afrds.org. Categorize products for seasonal sales. Review the business plan even after launching, advises Harold Tan founder of Fasttrack Fundraising who says, “Planning the business model is a continual, never-ending process; it has taken over 6 years so far for our company.”

Food is a popular fundraising product
Food is a popular fundraising product (Image: Popcorn image by Yvonne Bogdanski from Fotolia.com)

Schedule appointments with fundraising officers and executive directors at local non-profits to show the products and explain the plan. Propose an agreement that the organization does not have to make upfront purchases of products; instead, as individuals order and pay the organization keeps an agreed-upon percentage of the profits.

Take pictures of the products, list them on computer software, print a one-sheet with the price, name of the organization, its fundraising permit, and all contact information to show prospective buyers. Ask the organization to provide a testimonial letter for use in contacting additional non-profit organizations.

Tips & Warnings

  • Develop a specific area of expertise such as grant writing or major donor relations.
  • Do not operate on commissions from money raised; instead insist on a flat fee regardless of the donations acquired.

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