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Fundraising 101

Presented at the 2006 National Trails Symposium in the Quad Cities, IA and IL.

By Kandee Haertel

See handouts from the presentation:

Opportunities for Funding:

  • Private Donations
  • In-Kind Donations
  • Government Funding
  • Private Foundations
  • Corporate Giving

Your very first step in identifying good sources of funding is to:

  • Understand Your Project
  • What EXACTLY do you want and why?

So, you want to build a trail...

  • Where?
  • Who owns the land?
  • Out of what material?
  • Volunteers or contractors, or both, and for what parts of the project?
  • Etc., etc., etc.

You must understand ALL aspects of your project BEFORE you begin to ask for money, ask for things, or seek funding.

Private Donations

  • Includes memberships as well as gifts
  • Larger gifts are generally more available if given to a 501(c)(3) organization because of tax deduction advantages.
  • A community foundation may be able to assist.

In-Kind Donations

These are donations of the "stuff" you need to run your organization or complete your project.

Examples of In-Kind Donations

For an organization:

  • Printing
  • Place to Meet
  • Office Supplies

For a trail project:

  • Building materials
  • Equipment rental/purchase
  • Professional expertise
  • Meals for volunteers

Government Funding

The best sources of information for this funding are the government agency staff members who will directly benefit from your funding work.

Most government funding requires that you work with a unit of government, so this is the time to begin building a solid, working relationship.

Private Foundation Funding

Deciding which foundation is best to receive your proposal is a creative process.

  • The Foundation Directory
  • In book form and on-line are available at many libraries and at the Donors Forum
  • Your project must fall within the funder's mission, purpose and activities.
  • Even when being creative, the window seldom allows THAT much flexibility.
  • Make sure your group is in the geographical area covered by the foundation.

Sometimes it is worth a little more research to find out if the Funder gives outside its stated focus.

  • This can be done by looking at its Form 990.
  • Does your project's budget fall within the normal Funder's giving scope?
  • Look at the stated average, minimum and maximum grants.
  • Is it possible that someone in your group knows the donor to the foundation or one of the trustees? An inside connection never hurts.
  • Be sure you know when the deadlines are! There is NO flexibility in these dates and postmarks that prove them.

After this talk, and with these thoughts in mind, you will find details of looking at a specific foundation on-line with the Foundation Directory in the handout.

Just, please, remember:

The best proposal in the world won't stand up if it is not a good match to the Funder's priorities.

Corporate Giving

Whether you realize it or not, you've already learned the basics of seeking corporate giving.

Treat them exactly the same way you would a private donor or a foundation.

Do not overlook the biggest and the smallest businesses in your community.

Corporate citizens like to be a visible, viable part of where they do business.

Really, really keep an open mind when approaching businesses.

All types of "givers" generally receive MANY more requests than they can fund.

Being turned down does not mean the "ask" wasn't worthwhile-- only that there were too many projects for them all to be funded.

Helpful Resources

Handouts from the presentation:

Your most helpful resource will be those who have received funding for similar projects.

Network- Network - Network

Shared by

Kandee Haertel, Executive Director

815-858-3501 ·

Equestrian Land Conservation Resource

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