1) Form a Fundraising Team
For your fundraising campaign to be successful, you need a committed team and a dedicated
fundraising leader. Your team should consist of individuals with a wide variety of skills and strengths.
A great writer is always an asset, as is someone with a bookkeeping, accounting or finance
background. Engaging with a social net worker who is well-connected to the community is very
2) Put Together a Fundraising Plan
Approach fundraising in an organized manner by determining your goals, evaluating your resources,
listing your needs, creating your agenda and constructing a timeline. Be mindful of identifying the
funding needs of your organization or your project first and then seeking sources of funding. Avoid
the temptation to base your fundraising plan on a specific funding source and trying to fit your project
needs to that source. Ideally, you should have a clear idea of projects and funding needs and work
strategically toward your goals.
3) Fundraising Resources
Possible donors are foundations, corporations, the government, individuals in your community, local
small businesses, employers of your members, web-based businesses and organizations, etc. The
most important element is researching your own community for the resources that already exist.
There are several ways to go about researching funding sources. Please see attached sheet on
4) Prepare a Budget and Determine Your Fundraising Goal
It is necessary to establish a budget for your project before planning your fundraising campaign.
This will help you raise money more effectively, as you’ll be able to demonstrate to potential donors
that you have “done your homework.” It will also make your project more realistic and attainable for
both you and your volunteers, as everyone will know what they are working towards and will be able
to use benchmarks to evaluate their progress. Please note, for capital projects, such as playground
rebuilds, it is important to consider the cost and timing of engineering reports, permitting, etc. Meet
with an individual who has successfully completed a similar project and ask for a project schedule
and sample budget. See the budget preparation presentation at www.stewardshipcouncil.org for a
sample of how one foundation likes to have budgets submitted.
5) Build Your Membership
Look for ways to build your membership with EVERY effort. Host special events to raise awareness,
develop relationships, and generate publicity. Every single person that becomes aware of your
fundraising efforts becomes aware of your project and mission and is a potential supporter. In San
Francisco, 7 out of every 10 people donate to a charitable cause, and the reason most given by
people who do not donate is “I was not asked.” [Kim Klein, seminar on Grassroots Fundraising]
6) Develop Inspiring Materials
Good fundraising is dependent on good communication and making people care about your mission.
Maximizing your case for support and visibility early in the project is key to sparking interest/support
and maintaining people’s involvement (make sure there is an emotional hook). Some examples:
drawings from children who will benefit from the playground, T-shirts, pins, flyer and fact sheet on
your project. Be specific when crafting your message. Lack of funding and high need characterize
almost every project you will ever fundraise for. Develop a narrative to share with potential funders
that clearly articulates the specific needs of the community, population or area affected by your
Fundraising Strategies Neighborhood Parks Council June 2007
7) Prepare a Fundraising Timeline/Schedule
Set realistic goals based on your available staff and resources and think in terms of long-term
strategies and where you see your group 3, 5, or 10 years from now. Be aware of application
deadlines if you are applying for grants from foundations, government organizations, and
corporations or corporate foundations. Develop a checklist for each major ask so that you are ready
well before the deadline with the required materials.
8) Brainstorm Ways to Thank and Recognize Donors
The importance of recognition simply cannot be overstated when it comes to fundraising. All donors
must receive timely receipts for their monetary or in-kind gift, and it is also a nice to touch to follow
up with a phone call or personal note. All donors who wish to be publicly acknowledged should
receive recognition. Ideas might include acknowledgement in park group member e-mails, website
or for high-level donations, naming opportunities in parks and playgrounds on plaques, tiles, bricks,
benches, walls, etc.
Additionally, evaluating your program or project and being able to provide tangible evidence of
improvements will help you prepare a more compelling fundraising strategy. Be aware that most
grants require some amount of program or project evaluation and follow-up. Do not forget to set
aside time to conduct this important aspect of fundraising.
9) Grant Proposal Writing Tips
Always follow the funder’s guidelines explicitly. If you are unsure about their application
process or their requirements, do not hesitate to contact them directly.
Answer the question being asked, not the one you wished was asked on a grant application.
Reader fatigue is an issue with grant reviewing and writing in a way that des not clearly
answer a question will harm your proposal, even if you are trying to describe your need.
Ask for letters of support from the Mayor, the Board of Supervisors, local businesses,
community leaders, schools, NPC and other organizations
Be sure to outline measurable outcomes. Be prepared to measure the outcomes.
Relationship-build with board members at your target business/foundation.
Call the funder. Administrators of most small grants programs are more than happy to
answer your questions, and this gives you an opportunity to make a personal connection and
reminds the funder that a real person is behind the proposal.
Create a “Hook” for the proposal.
Check your spelling, label your documents clearly, be prepared to submit information
Make sure to include demographics about your community in the proposal.
Check out The Foundation Center’s website at foundationcenter.org and subscribe to their e-
newsletter for news in philanthropy as well as current RFP’s (requests for proposals). If you
do not have Internet access or cannot afford to subscribe to their funding database, visit their
office and library downtown at 312 Sutter Street. The Foundation Center offers frequent
FREE courses and workshops in grant-writing, prospect research, and other fundraising
451 Hayes Street, 2 n d Floor, San Franci sco, C A 94102
T: 415.621.3260 F: 415.703.0889 www.sfnpc.org
A project of Urban Resource Systems
Fundraising Strategies Neighborhood Parks Council June 2007