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From Surviving to Thriving

From Surviving to Thriving

Singapore has the ability to be one of the key countries where fundraising should thrive, given supportive policy environment like the 250% tax benefit, the $500 million government matching through the Care & Share movement for capabilities building of the social service sector, a digitally wired smart nation, standards of education and living that are well above most countries, global leader in high net worth individuals (HNWI) population, home to an array of multinational companies and small-medium enterprises, changing demographics of more ‘dual income- no kids’ families, to name a few factors.Despite the favourable environment, in my opinion, fundraising and related capabilities have not kept pace with the evolution of the fundraising ecosystem. Many of the fundraising methodologies by social service organisations are still anchored in the realities of the 1980s-90s with a high focus on transactional events- based fundraising (golf, gala, a-thons, flag-days) than a sustainable relationship-based fundraising, that builds on the donor’s ability to engage with the cause through the gift of voice, influence and time in addition to a regularly enhanced contribution of money.

Here is what a fundraising portfolio that thrives would looks like:

  • a solid base of regular (monthly and annual) individual donors
  • a relationship focused corporate fundraising approach that delivers social value and is not just based on ad-hoc donations or event sponsorships
  • high-net worth individuals and foundations providing multi-year program support
  • conversations and relationships with donors leading to legacy gifts
  • civic, educational, faith-based and other organisations supporting through their fundraising efforts that are designated to the non-profit, because of the relationships nurtured and the supporter’s strong understanding of the cause
  • new supporter acquisition strategy through digital platforms and events, that enlists an increasing base of donors

Recruiting a fleet of fundraising staff is not the answer to developing the above fundraising portfolio. What really matters are:

  • Board members, executive directors and organizational leaders together with fundraisers, who have a distinct and defined role to play in advancing the work of your nonprofit and mobilising the resources needed for its mission
  • Organizational culture and capabilities that nurture relationships with donors, funders, supporters, volunteers, and peer exchange with other non-profits and ecosystem participants that have a profound consequence on the ability to fundraise
  • Organisational strategy that invests in knowledge and skills needed to build a robust fundraising portfolio based on trend analysis, testing, metoring and not just instincts.

How does your organisation meet the criteria mentioned above? Hope this article helps you reflect on areas that need to be strengthen or built to help your organisation thrive in your fundraising efforts.

About the Author: Usha Menon

Usha Menon is Founder of Usha Menon Management Consultancy, an international training and consultancy service that works exclusively with the nonprofit and development sectors across Asia. With 30 years of experience in the social-purpose sector Usha is a celebrated speaker, connector and consultant on nonprofit leadership, management and fundraising. She serves on various local and international nonprofit boards and advisories. As one of very few Asian nonprofit bloggers, Usha shares her fundraising insights through her blog Asian Insights, many of which are translated by capability building entities in Japan, China, Brazil and Germany. More details at: