Fundraising and budgeting are essential for creating and sustaining successful fatherhood programs. While passion goes a long way, it is not a substitute to budgeting to keep materials stocked, hiring the right people, and meeting program goals. Program startup costs can feel overwhelming to new fatherhood programs. Fortunately, many fatherhood programs staff have been in your shoes. On this page, you will find tried and true tips for maximizing your fundraising efforts and budgeting your expenses. This includes tips for finding potential donors, creating logic models, hiring a grant writer, and pulling together a board of directors. Whether you’re starting a program from scratch with no funding or are looking to improve an existing program’s budgeting and fundraising practices, this page will help you move towards your goals.
Tips & Best Practices
- Reserve part of a new program’s budget for development and fundraising. This includes writing letters, conducting presentations about your program’s mission and vision, and following up with government agencies and businesses.
- Hire a grant writer. A grant writer with great communication skills can help you identify potential donors and write convincing letters to better your chances of securing funding.
- Build a 5-star track record. A strong commitment to quality service should be on your program’s top priorities and be well communicated among staff. One program manager says: “The corporate world wants a return on investment. You’ve got to develop a track record before you start going to the general public.”
- Add community leaders to your board of directors. A fatherhood practitioner notes: “As a staff person I’ve asked a group for money and the answer is no. But if the ‘ask’ comes from a prominent person in the community, it’s a different answer.”
- Have a sound logic model.
- Pay attention to detail. When writing grants and proposals, follow all guidelines and requirements. If the guidelines state “no more than 5 pages, 12-point font, double spaced,” do not submit a longer document in a different format.
- 6 Ways to Expand Fund Development This printable brochure from the National Responsible Fatherhood Capacity Building Initiative provides you with 6 chronological steps to figure out how much money you need to run your program and how to start fundraising.
I’m developing a brand-new program. Where do I start?
The first step is defining a clear mission. Who will your clients be and what services do you want to offer them? Write your mission and sub-tasks down and then go back and estimate how much money you need to fund each service. Schedule brainstorming sessions with board members, staff, and community members who can help you think this through.
What are some examples of fundraising activities?
- Reach out to local foundations with similar missions e.g. writing letters, meeting up for lunch, and making phone calls with directors and other lead staff.
- Build collaborations with existing organizations - attend other organization’s events with business cards, flyers, and talking points about your own program and how working together could be beneficial.
- Write grants for federal, state, and local government funds.
What is a logic model?
In a nutshell, a logic model is a graphic that clearly and briefly summarizes the intended inputs, activities, outputs, and outcomes of your program. Most public and many private funders now require a logic model.