Strong budgets start with realistic fundraising goals

January 6, 2014

Strong budgets start with realistic fundraising goals

As 2014 gets underway, nonprofits should lay out a plan for meeting and exceeding fundraising goals in the next 12 months. Achieving goals does not always mean breaking all time records. Instead, nonprofits should build a budget and forecast reasonable fundraising goals that won't leave the organizations scrambling for money before the year is over.

While it's important to adopt a successful attitude, fundraising goals should be realistic so that the company has a clear picture of how it can operate. According to The Daily News in Memphis, there are some techniques that can help organizations establish fundraising goals:

  • A team commitment: Make sure everyone involved in the budget planning process understands and agrees on the current financial situation. If there is disagreement on how much the organization can make, listen to all parties and try and determine a realistic, but conservative amount to start with.
  • Commitment to the goal: Everyone involved with setting goals should understand the work required to reach them. That should include personal giving from board members as well as their participation in raising funds from others.
  • Funds for fundraising: Keep in mind that fundraising itself is not free. In addition to realistic goals, make sure a budget has money set aside that will be used to achieve the agreed upon goals. While there are many new cost-effective ways to raise money, such as Facebook and sources of crowdfunding, the meat will come traditional fundraising methods.

An accurate budget depends on fundraising goals set by members who understand how much money is available and how to get it. It's OK to plan for a banner year, but if everyone plans on putting in the extra time to achieve the new numbers.


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CCSCT was approached by First NonProfit to discuss its Unemployment Savings Program and ways the program could significantly reduce the amount of unemployment taxes we were paying. At the time, our agency was paying approximately $80,000 per year. First NonProfit conducted an analysis to determine if making the switch would be in our best interest, and it clearly was based on our circumstances. The first year on the program, CCSCT saw a 70% reduction in its unemployment costs and each year, continues to experience further reductions as a result of having minimal claims. Some additional benefits of the program including having a fixed annual cost, an interest-baring reserve account, professional unemployment claims management and representation at all unemployment hearings. This has been one of the best decisions we have made.

Community Council of South Central Texas, Inc., Seguin, TX

We first started using First Nonprofit’s Unemployment Savings Program when we were a small startup nonprofit.  We didn’t have an HR department and needed expertise in the event that an unemployment claim was made.  We knew we were eligible to be a reimbursing employer, but weren’t sure how to navigate that process.  They made it easy to set things up, plan for, and then manage claims when they came at a very reasonable cost. The amount of time and stress they’ve saved us dealing with all this has been worth way more than the cost.  We’ve now grown to a large nonprofit and do have an HR department but have no plans to stop using their services.  I highly recommend them to every nonprofit I come into contact with!


Throughout our membership in the Unemployment Savings Program, First Nonprofit understood our demands, community dynamics, and the importance of seamless services; that allowed us to serve our constituents better.

Prevent Blindness America, Chicago, IL

Because INCS advocates for the operating conditions that allow charter public schools to provide high quality public education, partnering with First Nonprofit was an easy decision. First Nonprofit’s unemployment programs provide our member schools two operating elements crucial to their ability to provide high quality public education: savings and budget certainty. Capable, committed teachers are the key to student success. By participating in the unemployment insurance savings plan, charter public schools gain peace of mind and are able to invest more money in their teachers.

Illinois Network of Charter Schools, Chicago, IL

It has been our sincere pleasure to maintain a strong, vibrant business partnership with First Nonprofit. We greatly admire their strong industry knowledge, technical expertise, constant professionalism, knowledgeable and dedicated staff. They are always extremely responsive, personable and provide us with the necessary guidance and recommendations on a numerous variety of employment scenarios.

Thresholds, Chicago, IL

NYCON members who use First Nonprofit’s programs enjoy enduring savings and improved efficiency. Our association knows that success, because from the beginning, we achieved the same great benefits. Great savings, seamless technology, and responsive service. NYCON highly recommends First Nonprofit’s remarkable unemployment solutions.

New York Council of Nonprofits, Albany, NY

Visually Impaired Preschool Services has been a client of First Non-Profit since it was first offered as a benefit of VisionServe Alliance. We completed a thorough evaluation of cash savings to our agency before taking advantage of this wonderful benefit and it has been a very wise decision. Our experience with the processes from accounting to claims have been professional, expeditious and easy.

Visually Impaired Preschool Services, Louisville, KY

Luckily for us, our interactions regarding any issues with staffing has been very minimal! I can say that all other interactions with regards to billing, 941 reporting, etc. have been extremely pleasant, accommodating and easy to work with. Kim Ghanayem is always prompt, professional and friendly. Thank you so much!

Neurologic Music Therapy Services of Arizona, Phoenix, AZ