The lure of independent fundraising events

In a recent blog post Fundraising without special events? No Way! I review the importance of integrating special events into development, which I learned in 2007 from Jeff Shuck, President & CEO Event360.

Giving hierarchy integrated with special events

Today’s post focuses on Independent Fundraising Events (IFE). These are activities designed and run by non-staff volunteers to raise money on behalf of a specific nonprofit. They are conducted locally with minimal support from the beneficiary.

The types of activities that these local supporters conduct are quite literally endless. They can range from a bake or garage sale to a wine tasting or gallery opening.

One of the major advantages of IFE is that the costs are covered by the independent event organizers.

Other benefits of IFE –

  • An effective addition to any organization’s development portfolio.
  • Independent fundraisers are more likely to have a much stronger and direct emotional connection to the organization.
  • Great way to give these highly dedicated individuals the opportunity to match their passion without the limitations of traditional fundraising events.

How can your nonprofit support Independent Fundraisers?

Develop a secure website with useable tools:

  • Media Kit and publicity guide
  • Approved logos, graphics, banners, stickers
  • Informational pieces
  • Personal fundraising page for online donations
  • Printable donation forms
  • Registration materials
  • Staff support

Of course, there are IFE Challenges. As described by Zach Anderson, at the Canadian Internet Summit, these include:

  • Budgeting Revenue from events
  • Justification of Costs
  • Connecting with IFE donors
  • Providing supplies and giveaways
  • Reputation/Brand Risk
  • Shortage of staff support
  • Unavailability of board members to participate

Two organizations standout to me as providing great support to independent fundraising events. These are:

Alex’s Lemonade Stand – Fighting Childhood Cancer One Cup at a Time


Team Fox – Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research

What better way to augment your special events than with independent fundraising events?

Are you aware of donor-advised funds?

Last week I was invited to an interesting presentation by Schwab Charitable .

I was intrigued that the event occurred during Women’s Empowerment Month, an important focus for me.

In full transparency I want my readers to know that I am a Charles Schwab client. But, I had never heard of Schwab Charitable.

Kim Laughton, president, Schwab Charitable, provided some interesting information on giving trends in the US.

Do you know where most giving comes from?

  • Corporations/corporate foundations
  • Trusts and estates
  • Private Foundations
  • Living Individuals

According to USA Giving, 2011, living individuals contribute 73% of the approximately $300 Billion in gifts a year.

The evening’s discussion focused on Donor Advised Funds. According to Forbes, Donor-advised funds–funds held within, and managed by, a public charity–are fast becoming the most popular vehicle for charitable giving in the U.S.

The National Philanthropic Trust’s 2011 report showed that, overall, donor advised funds saw an increase of more than 10% in charitable assets in 2011, and a 20% increase in contributions to donor-advised fund programs. There was a modest increase (1.3%) in the total amount of dollars granted.

Don’t forget, donor advised funds are another vehicle through which individuals give to your organization. This means that you need to continue to ‘blow your horn’ and ensure that people are aware of how you touch the lives of your clients and enrich your community.

BTW, during the evening presentation I learned of three local nonprofits that support and empower women. So, I learned a lot about an intriguing donor vehicle and some meaningful nonprofits in Atlanta.

I know this post is a departure from my usual focus on events and corporate sponsorships. But, I feel it is important to bring other donation vehicles to the forefront, especially one that has such benefits to the owners of the funds as well as the organizations they choose to support.

The information from Schwab Charitable was used with permission. Schwab CharitableTMis the name used for the combined programs and services of Schwab Charitable Fund, an independent nonprofit organization, and Schwab Charitable Trust Services, a limited liability company owned by Schwab Charitable Fund. The Fund has entered into service agreements with certain affiliates of The Charles Schwab Corporation.