The Volunteer's Guide To Fundraising, by Ilona Bray, JD (Softcover, 2011)|
(You can print this review in landscape mode, if you want a hardcopy)
Reviewer: Mark Lamendola, author of over 6,000 articles.
Well done! I've served on several non-profit boards over the years, and definitely see the need for a book on this topic. I'm pleased with the approach this book takes to addressing the topic of how volunteers can make the best use of their limited resources (including their time) to raise funds for their organization.
Some of the things that organizations do to raise funds border on loony. And
many others are a complete waste of time, while some cost more than they raise.
People do these things because someone has an idea and just won't let it go.
Personal power, rather than reasoned analysis, carries the day. And often it
carries the funds away. With this book, a board can limit the conversation to
the techniques that actually work. There are about nine of these.
The methodical and organized approach makes this book easy to implement. It
also allows the book to be a reference in the fundraising process. So after you
understand and apply Chapters 1, 2, 3, and 7 (the foundation information, with 7
applying only if you're holding fundraising events), you can pick the
appropriate chapter among the remaining ones and use it as your guide. That is,
the first 3 chapters apply to all fundraising efforts. Get things sorted out per
those chapters, then you are ready to actually implement a fundraising method of
The writing was unusually clear and error-free, which is a plus. Many books
today show scant regard for grammar or composition, so it's nice to see
something written correctly. The copy-editing was obviously thorough, too. Being
a nitpicker, I appreciate that effort. I know it's not easy.
The author used a conversational style, making this book easy to read.
Another reason that style works is each chapter is apparently the contribution
of a subject matter expert. Each begins with a "Meet your advisor" blurb along
This book consists of 13 chapters spanning 375 pages, a thoughtful
introduction, an appendix, and an index. It also comes with a CD that contains a
38-page bonus chapter on applying for grants, plus 19 template documents that
work in standard office applications (e.g., MS-Word). Those 19 documents include
letters, worksheets, receipts, and application forms.
As mentioned, the 13 chapters include three foundational chapters that apply
to all fundraising activities:
- Chapter 1. What your group can and cannot do when raising money.
- Chapter 2. Getting volunteers eager and ready.
- Chapter 3. Planning your group's fundraising strategy.
Plus Chapter 7, if you are doing a fundraising event. The remaining nine
chapters address specific fundraising methods:
- Sponsorships and other support from business.
- Selling goods and services, new or used.
- Requesting donations from individual members.
- Dinners and other food events.
- Auctions: Live, silent, and online.
- Fairs and festivals.
- Benefit concerts and lectures.
- Home and garden tours.
- Walkathons, contests, games, and sporting events.
If you're on the board of a non-profit (registered or not, incorporated or not), you need a copy of this book. If you're thinking about serving on a board, pick up a copy of Roberts Rules of Order (so you understand parliamentary procedure, which is critical to having orderly, productive meetings) and read this book so you can come on board with something great to offer--how to juice up the organization's revenue without burning people out.