Popular Fundraising Models

From Penelope Burk to Terry Axelrod, there are a lot of different models and fundraising programs out there. Many development shops base their fundraising programs on one of these models. I’d love to hear back from you on what model you use and what you’ve found to be successful.

Donor Centered Fundraising– Penelope Burke: Focuses on personalizing your appeals and proposals to each individual donor.

Benevon– Terry Axelrod: Focuses on event fundraising using a tried and true program format. At the center of the event program is a compelling donor story. Using this model, events will be your primary cultivation tool.

Moves Management: This model involves planning each specific action you will take with your donors. After an action or move has taken place (such as a donor tour or solicitation), you plan another move for the donor through the cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship process. (Good external posts: Major Donors and Moves Management, Moves Management Key to Major Gifts Fundraising.)

Transformational Giving: The Mission Increase Foundation with Eric Foley has coined this term. The idea behind this model is that donor giving can transform an organization and a group of donors. This model is built on biblical principles and focused on using giving as a tool for life transformation.

Most of my fundraising has been in the Pacific Northwest, so I wonder how these practices are recognized nationally. Please share your experiences with these models and/or what other models are out there I did not mention.


7 Responses to Popular Fundraising Models

  1. Joe Garecht says:


    In my experience, what works best is a combination of ALL of the above methods:

    – Penelope is right, PEOPLE matter
    – Terry talks a lot about walking people down the path, and having lots of non-ask contacts before you ask, that has often worked for us.
    – Your fundraising moves definitely need a plan, and
    – You won’t raise much if you don’t focus on your MISSION.

  2. Mark Brooks says:

    Jason has summarized each of these well. I think that one lesson is there is no one size fits all. There are so many factors to consider. I do think that in each there is something that all can learn from and use. In this challenging times you have to first have a plan of action. That plan has to be multi faceted. The strategy may be utilizing some of each of these approaches. No matter what path you choose it is still true that Vision trumps bad economy every time. Have a compelling vision and find the best way to tell your story.

  3. Pamela Grow says:

    It has been my experience that a combination of all of the above – and then some – yields the best results.

    I’m fortunate enough to have taken both the Benevon coursework and the Penelope Burke Donor-Centered fundraising seminar. While both were enormously beneficial learning experiences, I found the most value in Penelope’s work – all of your development efforts do, indeed, need to be donor-centered.

    Successful development really boils down to taking care of the basics. In all of my years in development I have managed to cover all the bases – grantwriting, individual giving, community engagement and public relations, online giving – and learned how to establish the systems that would allow me to juggle all these elements, usually in as little as 10-15 hours per week. It’s my experience that nonprofit organizations very rarely make the same commitment to their fundraising that they make to their mission.

  4. I had my foundation for 10 years, Feed The Future, a grass roots effort foundation. My experience with Fund Raisers that was most popular, was the one that brought most value to the person participating. Sad to say, but those were the ones that we collected most money from. It was as if, giving for the cause did not motivate them, the motivation was if they got something back in return for the giving. They felt happy in participating and happier that they were receiving something in return.

  5. […] charities.  It’s time to think outside the box.  For inspiration, check out this list of Popular Fundraising Models from A Small Change Fundraising […]

  6. Hey, just saw your pepsirefresh link on the left hand side, you just earned yourself a vote!!! :) Maybe you could return the favor for us as well http://www.refresheverything.com/generationrecycle

    Thanks, and great info on your blog!

  7. Great info you have here. I am developing a fundraising strategy at the moment and searching information everywhere. Got some new insight from your post. Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: