Fundraising Guide for Nonprofit Organizations
Fundraising activities are activities that involve the solicitation of monetary contributions for a specific purpose. This purpose may serve an individual cause, a community, or a specific group and is frequently associated with nonprofit organizations that depend on contributions from outside sources. While most people are familiar with fundraising, they may not be aware of all that it entails. To best understand and get the most out of this activity, it is important to understand what a nonprofit organization is and the various fundraising option that are available.
A nonprofit organization is one that operates in a capacity that is beneficial to the community, either as a whole or to a specific group or cause. These organizations are often charitable, educational, religious, artistic, or scientific. For example, churches are religious organizations that are usually classified as nonprofit organizations. Certain colleges and schools are nonprofits, as are some scientific research groups. They are not meant to make a profit and any money that is received goes toward maintaining the organization or toward the purpose for which it was created. In this respect, they are different from for-profit organizations; however, this is not the only way in which they differ. The operation of the nonprofit also differs from the operation of a for-profit organization. Nonprofits work primarily with volunteers, although some nonprofits may have a limited number of employees who are salaried. They must also have a board of directors who governs the actions of the organization and is tasked with ensuring that the organization is using its funding properly. Unlike for-profit organizations that must always pay taxes on profits, non-profits may apply for tax-exempt status provided they meet the necessary requirements set by the Internal Revenue Service section 501(c)(3). Because they are accountable to the public, nonprofits must file an annual form with the IRS that reports information regarding their finances, including how much was paid in salaries for the top five highest paid non-officers in the organization. This information must be made public either at the nonprofit's office or website.
The goal is the basis of the fundraising effort. In establishing a goal, the organization must consider its needs and the amount of money that is required to meet those needs. There are countless fundraising ideas that an organization can be put into use; therefore, it is a matter of finding which idea or event is best suited to the organization and its purpose. Certain nonprofit organization may consider selling food items such as cookies, pies, cakes and other baked goods. Another food related option is to prepare and host dinners, luncheons, or breakfasts and sell admission tickets to people living in the local area. Spaghetti dinners, pancake breakfasts, and crab feeds are popular options for fundraising meals. Silent auctions are another fundraising activity that may be suitable for certain nonprofits. Items that are auctioned are typically donated by local businesses. Many times, auctions are held on the same day as a fundraiser dinner or luncheon.
Some organizations may hold craft shows as fundraisers, or sell items such as t-shirts. Offering services such as car washes are also viable fundraising options. Already prepared fundraisers are also worth considering and include things such as the selling of as coupon books, candy, or even movie tickets that national companies make available for the purpose of selling to raise money. The nonprofit sells these items and retains a certain percentage of the sale.
For more information about nonprofit organizations and fundraising ideas, please review the following list of links.
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