Friendraising is a form of fundraising that involves befriending an organization or individual for the purpose of helping support the financial aspect of a charity, nonprofit group or other community benefit organization.
Relationship fundraising, which she characterized as a fundraising approach that centered around the development of a "unique and special relationship […] between a charity and its supporter" was first discussed in 1992 by Burnett, who proposed that charitable institutions move towards dealing with donors as individuals, looking at their unique donations histories and motivations.
The concept of friendraising involves a single organization or individual following a setup of guidelines and principles to establish friendship with another entity. As a concept, the friendship created is a legitimate one regardless of financial prospects. As such, the relationship is a sustainable one of genuine care and concern - each party involved is there for the benefit of each other and therefore, the community represented.
In actual practice, friendraising is highly dependent on the goals, principles and scruples of the organization. The goal to effective friendraising is to provide an outcome that the community won't let subside. To do this, a non-profit's support system must consist of an "army of friends, an army of support. Those friendships are the key to building sustainable efforts to improve the quality of life in our communities".
Controversy stems from incidents where the organization exercises undue influence over a vulnerable person with the aim of benefitting from that person's estate after their death. Controversial friendraising practices include driving potential donors around (to doctor's appointments and the like), collecting prescriptions, providing referrals to lawyers for the drafting of wills, repeated and frequent home visits, and other activities that involve befriending the person and enmeshing the organization's representatives in the donor's personal life.
Over the last 10 year though the term 'Friendraising' has been linked to more positive fundraising terms like 'Peer-to-Peer' fundraising, where fundraisers reach out to their peer network for donations when they are doing a walk, run, a-thon or any of a number of participant based fundraising activities. Friendraising is now regularly used when describing how fundriaisers get their friends to help raise funds for a worthy cause, similar to Peer-to-Peer.
At Tamarack we believe that fundraising is an important stage in a community engagement process.
Raising funds brings us into conversation with leaders who, over time, come to believe deeply in our work. When people give money to a cause they make a concrete commitment to the work being proposed.
We see fundraising as building the leadership commitment, as well as the funding, required to realize bold community visions.
When we raise funds we are engaging key leadership for our work. These leaders can help us to engage key influencers in a community who, in turn, assist in bringing our idea to reality.
Some things to
consider when you are embarking on a campaign to raise funds and friends:
· Raising funds for bold community ideas is different than raising funds for the ongoing operation of an organization. We're not talking about an annual giving program or a planned giving program. This is about raising funds and friends for a bold idea and vision. It is quite like a capital campaign but rather than raising funds for bricks and mortar you are raising funds to realize a vision.
· A bold vision speaks to some type of transformation with a plan for achieving it.
· Look for people who are passionate for your cause and who have a willingness to communicate that passion.
· “Friendraising” mean engaging supporters as you would friends that you are asking for help. When you approach campaigns in this way, fundraising can become an important community engagement strategy.
· A stranger asking a stranger for money most often leads to small gifts and most often one time. A new acquaintance asking for a gift leads to a few more gifts of slightly larger size but likely one time and strains the relationship. A good friend asks for help and almost always receives it – both parties feel very positive.
· Ask for involvement, not just money. Involvement is the very best kind of stewardship