Becoming fundraising ready: A checklist

White clouds and blue sky

Are you ready to fundraise?

Fundraising readiness demonstrates stability, capacity and credibility to your potential supporters. Smart organisations – big or small – will honestly assess their readiness before fundraising begins.

So what does a fundraising-ready organisation look like?

Fundraising Readiness: A Checklist

If you’re a well-established organisation with a few years under your belt, you should be able to tick off most or all of these. If you’re a small organisation just starting out, not all of this is feasible right from the start. Try to set yourself up so you can tick off as many as you can, and work your way towards the rest over time.

To be fundraising ready, you need:

  • A compelling vision, mission and strategic direction
  • A reputation and track record
  • A strong case for support
  • An engaged board that understand fundraising
  • An established audience
  • Staff time, resources and capacity to implement plans and nurture relationships
  • A fundraising plan and budget that makes sense your organisation
  • A CRM with up to date data
  • An online platform to process donations safely and efficiently
  • Policies and procedures in place so everyone knows what they’re doing, and how
  • An all-of-organisation approach to fundraising.

More on Legal Readiness

One of the key things that will determine your fundraising readiness is your legal structure. The type of organisation you are – how you’re set up – and the mechanisms you have in place will determine your fundraising approach, mix and tactics.

So what’s DGR?

Deductible Gift Recipient endorsement is provided by the ATO to not-for-profits. You have to apply – which can take a while – and there’s eligibility criteria you have to meet. Being endorsed as a DGR allows you to receive tax-deductible gifts, which is attractive to donors. Most trusts and foundations require their grant recipients to have DGR. More information on DGR is available in our Tax Guide for Arts Organisations. You can also get advice from the ATO. Seeking legal advice is never a bad idea – lots of lawyers provide pro- bono support for not for profits.

No DGR? No problem.

If you’re a small organisation, or just starting out, you probably don’t have DGR, and that’s fine. People can give to organisations and individuals who don’t have DGR –  they just can’t get a tax deduction for it. But it’s worth thinking about. Most supporters like a tax deduction, so if you’re not applying for DGR, consider registering for the Australian Cultural Fund.  The ACF is Creative Partnerships’ fundraising platform, and it’s set up to accept tax-deductible donations on your behalf.