What is Fundraising Success?

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In many of my blogs, I have discussed the overall ins-and-outs of fundraising. While there is a multitude of avenues and approaches I can continue highlighting, the one that I want to speak more about is the overall fundraising success of an organization. With the immense amount of stress and high standards for a campaign, it is easy to get lost within the day-to-day operations of the job. In fact, with the financial figures in our mind, many workers within the field measure their fundraising success simply by how much the organization was able to raise. In their minds, success is based on getting from figure $X to figure $Y where Y is greater than X. So a campaign is deemed more successful if the current figure is larger than the last year’s figure, right? In the grand scheme of things, getting that number ahead of last years is only half the battle. There are a multitude of factors that need to be taken into consideration before truly determining the overall success of a campaign. 

To start, there are two different types of money getting raised, unrestricted donations and highly restricted donations. Unrestricted donations are funds that an organization can leverage loosely. This can be funding for specific supplies for the foundation of the mission or specific operational cost for the organization as a whole. Whatever is the case, this financial funding is the oil that truly makes a nonprofit run. In comparison, highly restricted donations are those that have more limitations to their use. While they may be easier to raise, they are not necessarily the most impactful, especially if you are looking to grow a new entity of your nonprofit organization. Because of this, it is important to truly understand the overarching impact both financial donations can have on an organization.

In addition to the type of funding that is raised, you also have to consider a variety of other factors such as the starting point of a campaign, last years numbers, the necessary cost for future goals, and the overarching goal of the organization. Because of this, one question continues to come to mind: What is the true success of a fundraiser? In many ways, the answer is simple. While we analyze, breakdown, compare, and internalize the data of the fundraiser, it is all to translate whether or not that financial figure is enough to deliver the necessary resources of the nonprofit organization in executing its mission. At times, funding may not be as high as it was last year. While we would want to do whatever it takes to push that number higher, we have to realize the vision and goals of our philanthropic efforts. By asking that end-goal of ‘What is our mission?’ you will be able to determine an accurate figure that is representative in gauging the overall success of your campaign.

In addition to that, one piece of advice I like to give other people, especially those in the fundraising sector, is to celebrate the wins, even the small ones. When the results of all actions are taken into account, fundraising can be a very difficult and arduous task. To celebrate these victories, especially through the dark times, you will allow your and your team to persevere effectively, effectively and consistently to your campaign’s end-goal. In addition, there are fewer things more uplifting than knowing that you are creating something that will have a strong potential for change. Constantly keeping that your fundraiser’s mission in mind will help motivate and inspire you in eventually reaching that success.