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Benefit the Benefactor: Raising Funds and Gaining Awareness for Your NPO


Startup funds, investmentFundraising is different from philanthropy. While many nonprofit organizations set financial goals and measure their success based upon funds raised, they seem to forget that, without a worthy vision to invest in, donors will not flock to their side. Charitable giving hit a record high in 2014, with most funds coming from individuals; but without engaging donors with your story, they aren’t likely to give.

On February 17, Dan Reynolds spoke to this idea and more at the Brown Smith Wallace NPO Speaker Series, “Fundraising Fundamentals.”  “You can find the wealthiest people, but if they aren’t connected to you, they can’t do anything for you,” said Reynolds.

Identifying sources for support and understanding your fundraising potential are key to success. One way to gather this information is by incorporating a planning and feasibility study into your pre-campaign strategy.

“A study can’t be an afterthought,” said Reynolds. “It has to be part of the planning.”

A planning and feasibility study will help you understand what motivates your potential benefactors and how to best advance your philanthropy. You’ll also gain better insight into your organization’s time table, your staffing and volunteer needs and issues that might affect your fundraising.

An often overlooked but important aspect of such a study is how you are perceived within the community. How your nonprofit organization is positioned will have a lot to do with the type and amount of donations that come in. Benefactors that play a role in your philanthropy and have an understanding of how their donations were used/spent are more likely to engage further.

“Don’t be the best kept secret in St. Louis,” said Reynolds. Check your image and reputation and make sure people know who you are. The more people know about your mission, and the easier you are to identify, the more likely they are to give.

Finally, the main reason people don’t give is they weren’t asked. It never hurts to reach out, share your vision, and ask for support.

Ramey_JanetFor more information on not-for-profit organizations, please contact Janet Ramey at 636.754.0231 or



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