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Tlamela Community Aid Newsletter – April 2018

 Apr 30th, 2018

The ‘Sins’ of Fundraising 

#9 Sins of Fundraising

Just as there is a right way to fundraise, there are also a number of fundamental mistakes that many fundraisers make, and these can limit their ability to do their jobs and assist the cause or organisation that they represent. Chris Windell’s book, ‘Fundraising – The Complete Guide’, addresses the most common ‘sins’ of fundraising in Chapter 2. Here are the #9 Sins of Fundraising:

#Sin1: No Target

Most fundraisers wil set a target or goal of the overall achievement. This could be a daunting task and often leads to negative thinking. You don’t want to lose the battle, even before you started with the preparations, so set yourself reasonable and achievable targets. These could be monthly targets, or parts of the overarching goal.

#Sin2: No Strategy

The administration and planning side of things may be less glamourous, but it is just as important as visiting potential donors. Thinking of your fundraising activities as a business (which it is, to all intents and purposes) will help you focus not just on the results you want to achieve, but on how you get there. Successful fundraisers know how to think strategically, not tactically. Your strategy will define your time schedule, priorities, research, monitoring and evaluation as well as database management.

#Sin3: No Time Schedule

You can save a lot of time by spending time at the start of the project or fundraising programme. Use the following 5P’s, namely proper planning prevents poor performance. Fundraisers, by nature, tend to rush into things to get to the end goal as quickly as possible. By failing to set a time schedule for prospect research, cultivation, database management, proposal writing etc. you might find that 12 months go by without once asking for money – your main task.

#Sin4: Lack of Enthusiasm

Although most fundraisers do not suffer from this sin, they can easily fall into this trap when they committed sins 1-3. By not having done proper planning, scheduling and outlining strategy, the fundraiser struggles to meet the goals of their organisation. They loose motivation and hence lack of enthusiasm. Some fundraisers have no enthusiasm because they do not believe in the cause or the goals of the organisation from the outset.

#Sin5: Prioritising

As you know, fundraising entails a host of activities that include prospect research, cultivation, proposal writing, database-, event-, project- and financial management. You also need to have your legal information intact, make phone calls, use Google effectively and write well-written emails. All of this while making sure you come across effective, efficient and engaged. Then there are annual campaigns, individual campaigns, monthly debit orders, different fundraising events… the list can be endless. By not committing Sins 1-4, you will be able to see your priorities in the strategy, the goal, the time schedule and by being enthusiastic about your daily task.

#Sin6: Lack of Research

With the age of technology and the wonderful world of the World Wide Web, you can get access to information seemingly easy. You will be able to get a good idea of corporates and businesses giving criteria. You can get contact details of the relevant persons and strike-up conversations with the help of social media (e.g. LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook). One of the main reasons for doing research is to make sure you do not commit three obvious sins…

#Sin7: Ask for too little

#Sin8: Ask for too much

#Sin9: Do not ask at all

Go to ( and download the book “Fundraising – The Complete Guide”.

Tlamela Fundraising & Marketing Workshop – Stellenbosch

If you’re a fundraiser in the Western Cape, you need to attend our one-day Stellenbosch Fundraising & Marketing Workshop on May 10, 2018, at Paul Roos Gymnasium.

This workshop is a must-attend event if you want to take your fundraising to the next level. Among other key skills, you’ll learn how to determine what each donor is looking for, and how to both reassure and inspire them.

This workshop will have a strong focus on the power of social media to build awareness of your organisation, its objectives and funding requirements. You will gain the skills and understanding you need to differentiate your NPO or NGO and attract the donor funding you need to meet your goals.

Our Stellenbosch workshop will be presented by highly experienced fundraiser Chris Windell, marketing and communications expert Winton Windell, social media proponent René-Jean van der Berg and corporate CSI manager Wendy van Rensburg.

Chris, Winton, René-Jean and Wendy will map out both the South African fundraising landscape and the digital sphere and help guide you and your organisation to where you need to be.

Cost: R1 499 per delegate (including lunch and refreshments)

For more information and to secure your place, please click here.

Alternatively, please call 074 035 7381 or email

Don’t miss out – book your place today!

For more details, visit or see our Facebook page.

Fundraising is more than an event – it’s a process.

Chris Windell looks at the importance of having a fundraising programme.

It is often said that fundraising is more than a business; it’s a science. If this is so, then why is there no institution in South Africa that trains fundraisers? That is, proper training in fundraising at a tertiary institution over a period of two or three years and resulting in a recognised diploma or degree, rather than a mere module on fundraising as part of a course on Marketing or Communication.

As an experienced fundraiser, I have a very good idea of how this course could look and the subjects it would cover, but I will leave this for a future Tamela newsletter.

It is easy to understand why NGO’s, NPO’s, welfare organisations and schools cannot afford full-time fundraisers. There are costs involved, and success cannot always be guaranteed. Instead, they appoint people to half-day posts. I know of many successful fundraisers working in this capacity, but it is not the ideal situation. In addition, permanent staff with different job descriptions must also sometimes take over responsibility for fundraising activities.

When inexperienced people are appointed, they tend to think that the easiest way to raise funds is to stage special events like golf days, concerts, fun runs and the like. These events are usually successful but can’t be repeated over and over. To ensure continuity, there needs to be a fundraising programme.

Such a programme would deal with issues such as:

  • Setting targets;
  • Market segmentation;
  • Prospect research; and
  • Writing professional and well-structured proposals.

Special events, however well executed, can only ever be one facet of fundraising. On their own, they can never be as effective as a well-planned and implemented fundraising programme.


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