Daily Buzz: Define Your Third-Party Fundraising Guidelines

If a third party wants to throw your association a fundraiser, great! Just make sure it follows your fundraising guidelines. Also: Should your AMS be a customizable or configured model?

You’re sitting in your office when you get a call: An outside organization or individual wants to host a fundraiser for your association. You eagerly, excitedly agree to it—only to find out later that you’re responsible for the fundraiser in everything but name. Invitations, marketing materials, onsite staff—you name it, and your team is expected to do it.

To save your association exasperation, Kivi Leroux Miller from Nonprofit Marketing Guide suggests developing third-party fundraiser guidelines.

“Guidelines in writing can save both you and your volunteer fundraisers a great deal of time, energy, and other types of frustration,” she says. “After all, your nonprofit has legal, ethical, logistical, brand, and fundraising standards that your volunteers may know nothing about. Don’t make them guess about these things (or remain blissfully clueless).”

So, what should third-party fundraising guidelines include?

For starters, they should outline the application process for a third-party fundraiser, if your organization has one. From there, the guidelines should define the level of staff support that will be offered, marketing standards, brand assets available, messaging rules, and how to handle finances.

Then, once you’ve established and written out your association’s third-party fundraising policies, make them accessible. Put them on your association website, for example, so that anyone interested can easily locate them.

Customization vs. Configuration

You want an association management system (AMS) that’s customizable to your needs—or do you?

“Customization involves rewriting the codebase for an association’s specific needs. Sometimes customization is necessary to handle truly unique needs. But customization comes with upfront and recurring costs. You should know about those costs before signing a contract,” explains the MemberSuite team on its blog.

On the other hand, configurable AMS models are often more sustainable, with lower costs.

“Configuration is the modification of software without having to rewrite the codebase,” the team says. “The implementation of configurable software is less lengthy and expensive since no development time is needed. During implementation, the SaaS vendor’s team is focused on configuration changes and data migration, not software development.”

Other Links of Note

Associations’ biggest competitor: Colleges and universities, says the WBT Systems blog.

Need some social media inspiration? The Wild Apricot blog shares how five nonprofits leverage their social channels.

The holiday season might be the most festive time of year, but for meeting planners, it’s also the busiest. Smart Meetings explains how to stay healthy amid the chaos.

(siraanamwong/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Jeff Hsin

By Jeff Hsin


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