This question is from the marvelous Shuai in California, who will start a nonprofit one day, and wants to know ALL about fundraising, and also, specifically, about which fundraising blogs and books she should read!
Here’s what she said.
> Currently, I am volunteering with various nonprofits that focus more on
> sustainability and repurposing as I am very interested in these topics. I am
> writing a blog and also helping fundraise for the Resource Center in Chicago, a nonprofit that
> repurposes a variety of materials, from composting of food scraps to
> donating leftovers to homeless shelters to recycling to repurposing of
> corporate waste into teaching materials.
> I love volunteering for them! Another nonprofit that I am currently
> active in is FabMo, which takes tons of discarded fabrics and
> other materials from designers and donates it to teachers, artisans, and the
> general public for free. I currently help them staff their distribution days.
> As I am brand new to the nonprofit and the fundraising community, I would
> love to soak up any and all advice you may have. Most important to me right
> now are suggestions for books or other blogs I should follow and also how to find grants
> or other fundraising opportunities. In the future, I think I would love to
> get advice on how to write grants, perhaps some grant samples, and just
> general advice on development.
So, first things first.
You need to buy my book. Really. All of your questions will be answered in this book. Your own copy is essential, if you want a primer on how to fundraise, general advice on development, how to get sponsorships, grant samples, and how to write grants and it has a CD with over 80 pages of editable templates for nearly any fundraising task you’ll be doing for these nonprofits you’re interested in, including grants, development plans, appeals, marketing, sponsorship letters, and MORE.
Other books I would recommend are:
Uncharitable by Dan Pallotta, which will give you a sense of one fundraiser’s journey in the nonprofit world, and some things that need to change in the nonprofit world, as well. It is SO well written and SO true, that you need to get it.
Raise More Money: The Best of the Grassroots Fundraising Journal By Kim Klein and Stephanie Roth. This is full of articles about fundraising, gleaned from The Grassroots Fundraising Journal over a period of several years. This journal was founded and was edited by one of my heroines, Kim Klein, and it is an EXCELLENT book to give you brief overviews of many different areas of fundraising.
Now. BEST FUNDRAISING BLOGS!
Before you go out and FIND all of these blogs, you need to have a place to keep track of them.
Netvibes is a FREE service which helps you aggregate results from many different sources, from blogs, from search terms, from podcasts, videos, websites, ANYWHERE. It’s so useful. So, go and make an account there.
Now that you’re in, since you’re interested in Fundraising, I would make a FUNDRAISING tab in Netvibes.
Blogs I would immediately follow would be:
Pamela Grow focuses on grants, so check her out!
GiftHub is philanthropy, not fundraising, but useful all the same
Rosetta Thurman talks about fundraising, nonprofit management, and Gen Y
Amy Sample Ward’s Nonprofit Technology and Fundraising
Beth Kanter’s take on Nonprofit Technology and Fundraising
Dan Pallotta’s column on the Harvard Business Review
Other blogs which aren’t specifically about fundraising but which you could benefit from ANYWAY
Seth Godin’s blog, which has truisms and marketing advice, also useful for fundraising
CopyBlogger helps you become a more effective writer.
ProBlogger helps you engage readers, and writing is a LOT of what fundraising is about
Yaro Starak’s blog gives advice about online marketing which can ALSO be applied to fundraising
Next, since you’re interested in nonprofits that recycle and reuse waste materials, I would make another tab that says “Recycle” and put in RSS feeds for
RSS your Google search for recycling technology
RSS your Google search for upcycle, repurposing, refab, and similar terms.
Since you’re most passionate about these things, I would suggest, to start your nonprofit, first looking at what is known as “Earned Income Streams”, which means get money for what you’re doing by offering a service people need.
So, since you’re wild about upcycling and repurposing, ever thought about starting a service kind of like 1-800-Got-JUNK, Junk-Busters, etc? As far as I know, no nonprofit offers a comprehensive junk-pick-up service. You could create a business plan, get the necessary loans to get your first truck, and to pay your first movers, and then you’d be off and running!
You could get into this lucrative industry, and the upside would be, you would be paid for taking the junk away, and then you could get paid for giving it to these places like Resource Center Chicago and FabMo. (Or you could donate it, of course.) (In Portland Oregon, it’s called “The Rebuild Center” and in Austin it’s “Habitat ReStore” (short for Habitat for Humanity.) There are places like this all around the country. You could go national.
There is NO end to what you could do with taking away people’s junk. You could even advertise with flyers in storage facilities, or target storage facility managers (people abandon stuff in their units all the time, and then the managers have to get rid of them anyway.)
Hope this was a helpful answer!
If anyone else wants to weigh in with the best fundraising blogs and books, please leave a comment!