Staying Organized

Keep on

Top of the








Fundraising involves a lot of paperwork, a lot of ideas, and a lot lists. You can easily become overwhelmed and lose track of things if you allow yourself to become disorganized. This is why it is crucial to stay organized.

The system of organization that is best depends on you. Some organizations may have member who knows how to use fundraising software, while others may use paper filing systems. It does not matter which organizing method you choose. What does matter is that you use it faithfully and stay organized. Most of the time the files will not be maintained by a single person within your organization but will be spread among several members according to their responisbilities.

Some of the items you will need to keep organized during fundraising

The paperwork involved in eash specific fundraising effort. You will be doing more that one a year probably. Keep files on each fundraiser to evaluate and pass on to the next people in your organization who may be in charge of fundraising in the future.

•Volunteer information - Contact information, emergency information, and any other items of interest pertaining to your volunteers.

•Donor Information - You will need to file away information about those who have donated to your fundraising - not only will you want to take care not to contact those people again too soon, but you will want to contact the same donors again after some time as they are likely to contribute again. You will need an organizational system to keep track of who you should be contacting and when. For each donor, you will want to keep contact information, amounts donated, times when the donor donated money, the donor’s preferred method of being contacted, and the time you should contact them again. It is important that you keep this information useable.

•Income tax receipts - Your donors will want to receive income tax slips to claim their gifts on their taxes. In some cases, they may write to you again during tax season for another slip so you may need to produce a copy on short notice. Also, you will need to keep good records of the money donated for your group’s state and federal income taxes and other assessments.

•Market Research - You need to file all the information you gather about potential donors and potential fundraising ideas. This information needs to be quickly accessible when you start fundraising in earnest.

•Research on other Nonprofits - You will want to keep information about other similar nonprofits with successful fundraising ideas. You may want to team up with organizations in the future. And you certainly need to know when other groups in your community are holding their major fundraising events so you don't schedule yours at the same time when you are competing for the same donors.

•Letters - For your records, you will want to keep track of any letters you send and the responses you receive.

•Legal Issues - You will need to file deeds or leases for your group’s space, licensing agreements, proof that your group is a registered nonprofit organization, and other legal papers that might be crucial at a later date.

•Meeting Minutes - Keeping your group’s records and ideas together will make it easier for you to see who needs to be doing what. You can also refer to earlier brainstorming sessions if you need to be reminded why a certain idea was turned down or why someone was scheduled for a specific task.

•The Operations of Your Non-Profit - Non-profit groups have lots of logistical paperwork - utility bills, legal bills, notices from government about changing laws, and so on. You need to keep these records together so that any disputes can be resolved quickly.

•The Amount of Money being spent, and the amount of money coming in - Keeping track of money is crucial in proving that your business is fundraising in a fair way and in order to prove that your group really is non-profit. Keep excellent financial records and check them often - a nonprofit accused to misusing donor funds often has a terrible time trying to fundraise again. Keep track of every penny you spend on your group to offset any such unpleasant problems.

•Time - For a non-profit, keeping track of time is as important as keeping track of money.
Keeping track of volunteer time can help you write accurate reference letters for your workers, and keeping track of time and money can help you see whether you could be using your time more productively in order to help more people.