Improving Operations, Part 4: Dust Off and Update Your Fundraising Policies

April 20, 2020 Mary Hackett

It’s blog 4 of our 5-part series on how you can spend any extra time while working from home, and today we’ll focus on fundraising policies. Have you missed any of our past blogs? No worries! Here is a link to get you up to speed.

Remember all those policies you and the team spent time on a few years back? Well, it’s time to find them, dust them off, and review them for any updates. Below are just a handful of the procedures and policies that a robust fundraising shop requires, but it will get you started.

  • Handling Cash, Checks and Mail
  • Recording Pledges, Intentions, and Bequests
  • Gift Acceptance Policy
  • Moves Management Policy
  • Pledge Management and Write-Off Procedures
  • Recording and Honoring Donor Communication Preferences

Step 1: Take inventory.

Make a list of all the policies and procedures you have in your arsenal. Dig way back into the deep, dark corners of your computer or shared drive to find them — you might find some you didn’t know about!

Step 2: Review and update current policies.

Read through the policies you have and ask yourself a couple questions:

1) Are these still relevant?

2) How have our procedures evolved?

Once you have thought through these questions, you’re ready to update your policies.

Step 3: What’s missing?

After taking inventory and updating what you have, it probably became clear what policies are missing. Make a list of those that need to be written and plan to write them over the coming months. As you’ve reviewed your other policies, you might find that a template is emerging and you can build upon the structure that’s already built.

Here’s a sample policy structure that we like to use:

  • A short into that includes the name of the policy, the individuals involved in creating the policy, and the date (or revised date)
  • Any underlying logic needed to explain why the policy is being written and what activities it will affect
  • The intended outcomes of implementing the policy (2-4 bullet points that explain what the department looks like after this policy is fully implemented)
  • The actual policy language that details the work flow and/or any specific procedures
  • A short FAQ section that proactively answers questions that colleagues might ask

Drop us a line to let us know if you have questions! And, don’t forget to tune in for our final blog in the series about ramping up reports.