The book Designs for Fundraising by Harold J. Seymour, a fundraising and philanthropy expert in the 60’s, has been discovered and published by close friend Jerold Panas.
The Chronicle of Philanthropy article says that a three-ring binder full of wisdom and advice about fundraising was given to Panas by Seymour, and Panas just rediscovered it in his home. Panas added some fresh notes of his own, updating the book slightly, but admits that the advice Seymour gives is still very relevant today.
Panas added those personal notes mostly for clarification; Seymour called volunteers “laymen.”
The book can still be applied to nonprofits today, with a few minor improvements. Panas says one rule that hasn’t changed is that all suggestions should be received openly, even if they don’t necessarily align with your project. Keep every suggestion and try to turn it into something constructive. This way everyone feels appreciated, and are encouraged to contribute more ideas in the future.
Another gem is that fundraisers shouldnever take credit. Seymour says, “To seek credit is to lose it, and to avoid credit usually results in getting more than you really deserve.” Volunteers can take credit, but fundraisers should be humble.
The book also says that the project must be for the greater good, not just the benefit of your organization. Donations should influence your organization, the town the organization is in, and the people living in your community. By stimulating many outside groups, you can stimulate more donations.
Lastly, Seymour emphasizes that you must ask for donations. People won’t simply hand you money; they need to be prompted.
These rules have remained true for almost 50 years, and are sure to be enforced for years to come. So make sure your organization is following them, and you should see an increase in your donations.
About the writer: Erin is a junior at the University studying Journalism and Entrepreneurship. She is undecided about what she wants to do after school. She is passionate about writing, dogs, and Chipotle.