Most nonprofit organizations struggle with fundraising. Board fundraising, according to some studies, is the number one area requiring improvement.

Fundraising committees are extremely important for organizations as they are responsible for planning and coordinating revenue-generating strategies. They also help reduce the burden on boards, allowing them to focus on governance and strategic direction. The most successful fundraising organizations create a strong partnership between the board, the executive, and the fundraising team.

What is a fundraising committee? What does a fundraising committee do? How to form a committee? Keep reading to learn the answers. Also, to help with a new project, there’s a fundraising committee agenda template available for download.

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What is a fundraising committee? 

A fundraising committee is a standing committee that oversees the planning, development, management, and implementation of the organization’s fundraising plan. Its key purpose is to raise funds for a particular cause and to ensure the financial viability and stability of the organization. 

This committee typically develops fundraising strategies, finds potential donors, organizes fundraising events, and manages various fundraising activities aimed at generating financial support.

Key fundraising committee positions are reviewed by the president and include the committee chair, committee members, and the executive director, who work together to determine committee needs and also brainstorm potential committee members.

Here are five reasons explaining why the work of a fundraising committee within a nonprofit organization is so significant:

  1. Mission maintenance. Funds raised by the committee directly support the organization’s mission, enabling it to positively impact the community through its programs, services, and initiatives.
  2. Financial stability. A fundraising committee secures the financial resources necessary for the organization to operate, fund programs, and sustain its mission over the long term.
  3. Revenue diversification. By implementing diverse fundraising strategies, the committee helps mitigate financial risks associated with relying on a single funding source, ensuring the organization’s financial resilience.
  4. Community engagement. Through fundraising activities, the committee engages donors, volunteers, and sponsors, creating opportunities for involvement.
  5. Strategic planning. By aligning fundraising efforts with the organization’s strategic goals, the committee contributes to long-term sustainability, ensuring that fundraising activities support the organization’s bigger objectives.
Additional reading: Want to know more about how committees drive organizational success? Read our article about the executive, nominating, audit, remuneration, and board development committees.

The purpose of the fundraising committee

The key purpose of the fundraising committee is to provide guidance, oversight, and support to fundraising planning, development, management, and reporting.

It’s a common misconception that committee members are responsible only for fundraising itself. In fact, fundraiser committee responsibilities are more about ensuring that all fundraising activities are conducted strategically, systematically, and in alignment with the organization’s goals.

This includes setting fundraising targets, identifying potential donors, developing action plans, training board and staff members, and ensuring adequate administrative resources.

The committee also plays a key role in developing and implementing a fundraising plan, which is approved by the board of directors and guides the organization’s fundraising efforts throughout the year.

Fundraising committee structure

The fundraising committee structure varies depending on the organization and its objectives. For example, the SSC nonprofit organization has the following fundraising committee composition  — a chair and members, such as president-elect, past-president, treasurer, executive director, two regional representatives from the board, and two additional members in good standing.

The most common fundraising committee roles are described below:

  1. Chair — leads the committee, oversees its activities, sets goals, and ensures member coordination.
  2. Vice-chair — assists the chairperson and may take on additional responsibilities as needed.
  3. Treasurer — manages finances, tracks donations, creates budgets, and provides the committee with financial reports.
  4. Secretary — handles administrative tasks such as meeting minutes, correspondence, and records maintenance.
  5. Event coordinator — plans and organizes fundraising events, including logistics, venue selection, and coordination of volunteers.
  6. Marketing and communications coordinator — develops promotional materials, manages social media, and communicates with donors and supporters.
  7. Donor relations chair — cultivates relationships with donors, thanks them for their contribution, and maintains donor databases.
  8. Volunteer coordinator — is involved in finding volunteers, as well as their training and coordinating during various fundraising activities and events.

Fundraising committee roles may also include grant writers, online fundraising managers, data analysts, legal advisors, and volunteer ambassadors, depending on the organization’s needs.

Fundraising committee responsibilities

Here, we divide fundraising committee roles and responsibilities into two categories — committee chair and committee members.

The committee chair’s responsibilitiesThe committee members’ responsibilities
📎 Serves as the main liaison between the committee and the company, communicating updates and decisions.

📎 Facilitates meetings according to the agenda, ensuring productive discussions and timely completion of tasks.

📎 Collaborates with staff to create meeting agendas and provide necessary research and information.

📎 Maintains regular communication with the executive director, conveying the board’s viewpoint and committee recommendations.
Identifies, creates, and implements fundraising opportunities.

📎 Provides written reports to the full board on committee actions, group meetings, and discussions.

📎 Reviews the charter for a committee, work plan, and membership annually, removing inactive members, if necessary.
📎 Serve in an advisory capacity, offering guidance and input to the committee.

📎 Express ideas and provide input during meetings, actively participating in discussions and brainstorming sessions.

📎 Review materials and provide feedback for improvement.

📎 Serve as internal or external ambassadors for the organization, opening doors to further its mission and vision.

📎 Participate in the development and implementation of the committee’s work plan.

Depending on the company, responsibilities vary. Other organizations describe fundraising committee responsibilities in the examples here and here

Fundraising committee bylaws

Fundraising committee bylaws are formal rules and regulations that govern the structure, operations, and responsibilities of the fundraising committee within an organization. They outline the committee’s purpose, membership composition, decision-making processes, meeting protocols, and any other relevant guidelines.

Have a look at the example of Jazz 91.9 WCLK’s fundraising committee bylaws for reference. 

Establishing clear bylaws for the fundraising committee is crucial for several reasons. Firstly, they provide clarity and transparency regarding the committee’s responsibilities and procedures. Secondly, bylaws help prevent misunderstandings and conflicts by setting clear expectations for committee members. Additionally, they serve as a reference point for resolving disputes or addressing issues that may arise during the committee’s tenure.

Here’s a 6-step guide on how to structure effective bylaws:

  1. Involve board members, committee members, and legal advisors in the drafting process.
  2. Clarify the committee’s role within the organization and outline specific goals.
  3. Define qualifications for committee members and specify terms of service.
  4. Determine how often the committee will meet and establish a regular schedule.
  5. Define procedures for making decisions and outline voting processes and quorum requirements.
  6. Specify how the committee will report to the board and define channels for communication.
  7. Ensure that the bylaws adhere to relevant legal requirements and regulations, seeking input from legal advisors to mitigate potential risks.

How to form a committee for fundraising

Here’s a 7-step guide on how to form a committee for fundraising:

  1. Define objectives. Clearly outline the purpose and goals of the fundraising committee, aligning them with the organization’s overall fundraising strategy.
  2. Identify key stakeholders. Reach out to board members, existing donors, volunteers, and individuals with relevant experience or fundraising connections.
  3. Recruit committee members. Look for individuals with diverse skill sets, including fundraising experience, networking abilities, event planning expertise, and passion for the cause.
  4. Conduct orientation meetings. Conduct orientation sessions to introduce committee members to the organization’s mission, fundraising priorities, and expectations. Provide an overview of the committee’s structure, roles, and responsibilities.
  5. Develop a fundraising plan. Collaborate with committee members to create a comprehensive fundraising plan that includes specific goals, strategies, and timelines. Identify potential fundraising activities, such as events, campaigns, and grants.
  6. Promote a supportive committee culture. Encourage open communication among committee members. Recognize and appreciate individual contributions, celebrating successes and milestones together.
  7. Execute fundraising initiatives. Implement the fundraising plan, giving assignments and assigning responsibilities to committee members. Monitor progress towards fundraising goals, tracking key metrics and adjusting strategies as needed.

It’s important to understand that because of digitalization, fundraising has undergone a huge shift. That’s why, according to Arun Jeffery, a CSR manager, it’s essential to hire people with specific skills, such as: 

  • Adaptability — the ability to adjust quickly to evolving technological trends and tools.
  • Strategic thinking — the capacity to navigate the complexity of the digital landscape, optimizing campaigns based on data-driven insights.
  • Tech-savviness — understanding of digital platforms and innovations, including online payment systems, CRM software, email marketing, and social media advertising.
  • Effective communication — a skill in crafting compelling stories, leveraging multimedia content, and maintaining consistent messaging across various digital channels.
  • Data literacy — understanding how to interpret analytics and having the ability to track KPIs and make informed decisions to personalize fundraising strategies.

Fundraising committee agenda

A fundraising committee agenda is a detailed outline of topics to be discussed and actions to be taken during a committee meeting. It serves as a roadmap for the meeting, ensuring that all relevant issues are addressed efficiently and effectively.

By clearly defining objectives, assigning timeframes, and outlining responsibilities, an agenda helps keep discussions focused, maximizes productivity, and ensures that fundraising efforts are aligned with organizational goals. Additionally, it provides a record of decisions made and action items assigned.

Download our fundraising committee meeting agenda template to streamline your next committee meeting.

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Real-world examples of fundraising committees in nonprofits

Here are just a few instances of nonprofit fundraising committees that have made significant contributions to their organization’s missions:

  1. World Wildlife Fund (WWF). By organizing fundraising events like the WWF Panda Ball and coordinating campaigns such as Earth Hour and #SaveTogether, the committee raises funds to protect endangered species, preserve habitats, and combat climate change, making a significant impact on global conservation efforts.
  2. UNICEF. Through fundraising initiatives such as Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF, the UNICEF Tap Project, and the Change for Good program on airlines, the committee raises funds to provide lifesaving interventions in areas such as nutrition, health care, education, and emergency response, helping millions of children access essential services.
  3. Feeding America. By organizing campaigns like Hunger Action Month and coordinating corporate partnerships and individual donations, the committee raises funds to distribute billions of pounds of food each year to individuals and families facing hunger, promoting food access and nutrition education across the United States.

How board portals help fundraising committees streamline operations

Board portals are a board management software solution that many boards and committees use as a centralized place for communication, collaboration, and document management. It helps to save time and money, streamline operations, and enhance efficiency.

The functionalities that make these benefits possible include:

  1. Centralized document storage. Store and share fundraising-related documents, such as donor lists, grant proposals, fundraising plans, and financial reports securely. Access them anytime using a mobile application.
  2. Meeting tools. Create agendas, schedule and attend meetings online, invite participants, and share meeting minutes easily and effectively, ensuring meetings are well-organized.
  3. Collaboration. Collaborate in the Q&A section, assign tasks, track progress, and send notifications to inform committee members about updates and decisions.

Explore our overview of the top board portal providers and find the perfect solution for streamlining fundraising committee management!

Key takeaways

Let’s summarize:

  • A fundraising committee oversees the planning, development, management, and implementation of the organization’s fundraising plan. Its key purpose is to raise funds for a particular cause and to ensure the financial viability and stability of the organization.
  • Key committee members’ responsibilities are to provide input during meetings, serve as ambassadors for the organization, and participate in the development and implementation of the committee’s fundraising plan.
  • A fundraising committee bylaw is a set of formal rules governing the committee’s structure, operations, and responsibilities.
  • A board portal for a fundraising committee is a digital platform facilitating communication, collaboration, and document management.

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FAQ block

What does a fundraising committee do?

A fundraising committee is responsible for developing and implementing strategies to raise funds for an organization. This may involve planning fundraising events, cultivating donor relationships, and exploring grant opportunities.

How to form a fundraising steering committee?

Start by identifying individuals with expertise in fundraising, networking, and community engagement. Invite key stakeholders to join the committee, such as board members, donors, and volunteers. Establish clear objectives and responsibilities, and conduct regular meetings to plan and execute fundraising initiatives.

What is the board’s role in fundraising?

The board’s role in fundraising is to provide strategic oversight, support, and guidance to the organization’s fundraising efforts. This includes setting fundraising goals, establishing policies and procedures, and leveraging personal networks for donor cultivation.

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Casey Johnson Marketing strategist
Casey Johnson is a seasoned marketing strategist specializing in board portals. With over a decade of experience, she spearheads comprehensive marketing campaigns to enhance brand visibility and drive growth. Casey orchestrates content plans, conducts market research, and collaborates with content creators to ensure impactful marketing strategies.
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