Four Things NGOs need to know about fundraising

NGOs now spend a fair amount of time and money in acquiring donors who will support their programmes. Using our NGO Compare Tool, we found that in 2013, 24 organisations (including Akanksha, Child Rights and You, and Magic Bus Foundation) spent more than Rs100,000 on fundraising. Monies spent on fundraising ranged from one lakh rupees to 18 crore rupees. Keeping and sustaining donor interest is therefore a priority area for organisations who depend on donor funds for sustaining their work.

NGO teams tend to be built around the core work of the sector. Organisations working in health look for doctors, trained nurses, support staff and programme co-ordinators, and the same goes for other sectors. Fundraising does not start out as being a priority of the organisation, but soon becomes one because NGOs need donor support to continue supplying their services to groups that need them.

Yet there’s very little information on the fundraising process and how to engage donors. The Knowledge Centre has put together resources that can help you plan and execute your fundraising strategy better.

  • What’s In It For Me?: Sameer Bhakhri’s workshop on fundraising (available for free viewing on our Knowledge Centre) is like a masterclass on fundraising in itself, and also spends time talking about common myths and errors. A key takeaway: Understand the donor’s perspective – what does the donor want from this relationship? Remember to see your organisation’s work from the donor’s point of view, and articulate your fundraising demands accordingly.
  • Talk about Impact: Bain’s 2013 India Philanthropy Report found more than 60% of donors they interviewed did not receive regular communication from the NGO. NGOs that did communicate largely did not inform donors of where there money was used, choosing to speak instead of activities and processes. Make sure you create mechanisms to let donors know what is being done with their money. Measuring and communicating impact of a programme (and a donation) is here to stay.
  • Know thy donor, Know thyself: Mark Phillips’s blog has sound advice on positioning your strategy as a fundraiser while meeting donors. Frequently updated, it gives fundraisers a way to strategise and plan fundraising campaigns while also providing useful analysis on what donors expect.
  • Communicate: The web has lots of useful free resources, some of which are created for NGOs. Internet-based communication channels (like social media and blogs) and tools (emailers, mail bombers, graphic design apps) save you printing and mailing costs, and can help you reach out to tech-friendly users. We recommend Non Profit Tech for Good, which routinely features on developments in social media, technology and design that NGOs can take advantage of. They also link to free resources that you can use to create high-quality designs for communication material both online and offline.


We ran the NGO Screener Tool on organisations who had financial figures available for 2013. The Screener picked up data of organisations who have themselves entered the amounts spent on fundraising/fundraising expenses.


6 thoughts on “Four Things NGOs need to know about fundraising

  • March 19, 2014 at 3:09 pm

    Can I view some more data on fund raising techniques? Any suggestions

  • June 26, 2014 at 12:10 pm

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  • July 7, 2014 at 7:11 am

    Any chance in the 2012 viesron or subsequent viesrons of offering the product in Spanish?As an NGO fundraiser in Nicaragua, I know that previous posts on the company’s blog have noted that organizations in Nicaragua (and all around the world) use Giftworks. I know one of the people who uses it here in Nicaragua, but she is a U.S. citizen that lives and works in Nicaragua as I do. Unfortunately, this means that unless your organization is lucky enough to have English-speaking staff, you are out of luck. I would love to recommended Giftworks to my organization who may be in the market for an easy-to-use and affordable CRM system or donor-management system, but my Nicaraguan co-workers need to have access to the system to manage it. It would be an irresponsible and unsustainable purchase of the product in English for the organization over the long-term.I have faith that one day Giftworks will invest in TRULY going global and making a Spanish (and in other languages!) viesron available. Even better would be a bi-lingual viesron that allows organizations to fundraise in their home countries AND in English-speaking countries where wealth is more concentrated. Best wishes!

    • July 30, 2014 at 12:36 pm

      Dear Gleyce,

      Thank you for your interest and your comment. We agree that there should be options for using software in multiple languages, particularly in multilingual countries. Hopefully there will be a bi/multilingual version soon. Perhaps you could have an intern or volunteer design a CRM system for you in-house? NGOs we’ve spoken to have found that interns, particularly those with software/business management backgrounds have been able to solve technical problems for them. Hope this helps!

      Warm regards,
      HelpYourNGO Knowedge Centre


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