Affirmation chapters have successfully raised money by participating in everything from raffles to Swap Meets. For example, the Phoenix chapter bought a roll of raffle tickets from a party supply store and would sell them for a dollar each at the end of their meetings. The winning ticket holder would get half of the money raised and the rest would go into the chapter funds as a donation. Typically, this fun activity would raise about $10 to $20 at each meeting.
For instance, in some chapters the members annually gather all their unwanted household goods and donate them to the chapter. These are taken to a local Swap Meet where volunteers sell them and then forward the monies raised to the chapter treasurer. Because donations include TV's, stereo equipment, VCR's, toasters, records, tapes, books, kitchen tools, clothes, etc., the amount raised is usually significant.
Do some brainstorming with your fund raising committee on a-thons, dinners, community events, auctions, fairs and concerts, games of chance, and holiday events. Be sure to approach individual chapter members for donations (we're used to giving 10%, right?), and citizens and businesses in the community who would be willing to help with financial support.
In preparation for formulating a fundraising plan consider the following ideas and suggested steps:
Why Do People Donate?
Who Gives Money to Non Profit Organizations and Groups?
We all want to have meaning and purpose in our lives, whether as individuals or as an organization. When it comes to donating, we want to give our money and our time to something that will really make a difference—something that we personally care about—and belong to a cause bigger than ourselves. Finding the right fit between donor and charity can ensure long term commitment and support. As government downsizes, volunteer organizations like ours will face increasing resources for funding. Corporate support and fundraising will help ensure our survival.
Which One Would Be Best For Us?
- Ordinary people who believe in our cause
- Service Clubs
- Charitable Foundations
- Corporate Donors
Before you can decide which donor approach to take you need to develop a plan. What is the vision and mission of your chapter or group? Your fundraiser will need to know what we represent and why in order to bring others to share our vision and goals. The fundraiser will need to develop a fundraising plan or strategy:
- How the money can be raised—strategies
- Who will help
- How long it will take—develop a timeline
The fundraiser will have to look at other factors about our organization which could affect the outcome of how much money can be raised.
What kind of Person Makes a Good Fundraiser?
- Who supports us? Organizations like ours which are still considered controversial may have better luck with direct mail or personal solicitations than with requesting donations from corporate or government sources. However not all institutions support homophobic beliefs, so contacting ones that you feel will be supportive is still a good idea. It should also be noted that this problem is becoming less true as our visibility increases.
- What is your core funding? What funds can you count on annually?
- What other fundraising have you done in the community? Don't overlook a thoughtful, well-timed public relations effort. You can begin with low-key information sharing and build to coincide with major capital campaign activities. Remember that most organizations do not communicate enough with their prospective donors.
- What fundraising project should you decide to do. Try to choose a variety of projects. If some are "fun" so much the better. Put yourself in your prospective donor's shoes—would you be interested?
- Volunteers to help with fundraising. Can you count on having
volunteers to help with the fundraising? Or will you need to develop a
Selecting the right person to handle chapter fundraising is an important task. They should be available to lead, make decisions and share Affirmation's vision with the community.
Are you a Registered Charity?
- Do you have already have someone who can do the fundraising in your
chapter or group?
- A self starter—a highly motivated person who understands your
organization, is a skilled communicator, excellent writer—personable, and is well connected to local service clubs and business, and comfortable in different settings.
- Professional fundraisers are usually paid a percentage of monies raised, so choose wisely and check references, some slick dudes can talk the talk—but don't produce results.
Affirmation: Gay and Lesbian Mormons, the national organization, is a tax exempt 501© (3) organization under the Internal Revenue Code. Contributions to the Affirmation national organization are tax deductible to the extent the donor does not receive goods or services in exchange for the donation. Although the national organization has gained this status, it does not automatically apply to all chapters. To gain this status, you can choose between two options:
Many charitable foundations and philanthropists require that you be a
registered charity (have a federal tax number) for a few reasons. First, being incorporated as a "society" lends more credibility to your chapter. There are provincial and federal reporting requirements for societies. Being registered as a non Profit charitable organization allows you to issue charitable tax receipts for donations. It is extremely difficult to raise money from corporations or foundations without registered charitable status.
- Send in your chapter yearly financial report of all receipts and expenditures to Affirmation's National Treasurer to be include with the national organization's annual report to the IRS. Your chapter must also strictly follow the Affirmation Charter and Bylaws to keep this status. Consult with our National Treasurer, who will help you take advantage of the non-profit status of the national organization.
- Submit your own paperwork for registering as a non-profit organization. Contact your local IRS office for information and necessary paperwork.
Tax receipts are very useful to private individuals for income tax purposes. Many service clubs require tax receipts because of regulatory requirements of their own fundraising such as bingos or casinos. Think about whether this might be advantageous to your group.
Chapter Members and Fundraising
Even after you have decided who will do the fundraising, you will need to find a couple of chapter members who will provide ongoing support and direction to your fundraiser.
Fundraising is a specialized task, and requires lots of brainstorming and contacts. This is especially helpful if the fundraising requires meeting with possible donors, and if your board members are well known and reputable—it confers support and respectability on the request process.