About ‘Informed Fundraising’

Informed Fundraising: An Introduction and Guide

An eBook for board members and executive directors of nonprofits and others wanting to learn about this critical function

Fundraising efforts that are well-conceived, well-planned, and well-executed maximize the opportunity for reaching fundraising goals, which is why we call it “informed fundraising.”

The purpose of Informed Fundraising – An Introduction and Guide is to educate board members and executive directors how to think about fundraising so they can make informed strategic fundraising decisions which increases the potential to raise the funds needed for their nonprofit.

Too many nonprofits are not successful in raising the money they want or need; smaller, community-based nonprofits are particularly challenged.

Why? Many nonprofits engage in reactive and unproductive efforts to raise money.

Reactive fundraising is the convergence of a nonprofit’s imperative to start or expand fundraising without its decision-makers having the requisite understanding of what fundraising is and what it takes to do it effectively.

In reactive fundraising, whatever ideas are put forward generally are approved and carried out as well as possible — yet almost always yield disappointing results.

In contrast, proactive fundraising — or what we call ‘informed fundraising’ — is when decision-makers acquire an understanding of the concepts of fundraising, including the components of fundraising strategies and plans and how to initiate and assess the plan’s execution.

Informed Fundraising includes text describing basic fundraising concepts, along with sample tools illustrating how to put the concepts to work. These tools are intended to not only illustrate the concepts but to be modified to meet each nonprofit’s particular needs and circumstances.


There are two distinct types of fundraising: one with a short-term focus on raising immediate cash, and one with a long-term focus on building relationships with ongoing supporters of the organization.

Understanding the distinction between short-term and long-term fundraising is important because

  • each has its own style, methodology, results, and costs
  • each nonprofit should decide which of the two will best meet its particular needs and circumstances.

The choice will have a significant impact on not only funds raised but also on how your nonprofit is perceived by its various stakeholders. The chosen type says much about the relationship your organization wants with its supporters.

How do the two differ?

View Full Excerpt

I wish I had this book when I started my career in the non-profit sector 20 years ago. It’s a concise and thorough look at the principles and practices of successful fundraising—a “how to” with helpful worksheets and wisdom that obviously comes from experience—that will appeal to beginners and pros alike.

Robin McCrae
Chief Executive Officer, Community Human Resources

Informed Fundraising: An Introduction and Guide by Ron Wormser and Josiah Stevenson IV, proves to be an invaluable tool for new and seasoned fundraisers alike. The concise yet in-depth discussions and worksheets  combine to provide a plan that can be molded and tailored to virtually any  fundraising entity. For the agency just starting out the guide is a road map to achieving financial stability. Agencies with more experience will find it maximizes their capacity for growth.

Rob Rapp
Development Director, Community Human Services

No matter if you are a new board member or executive director or one who has been working with nonprofits for years, there’s material in this guide that will prove to be very useful in maximizing the effectiveness of any fundraising campaign.

The Californian (Full Review)

The best thing about Wormer & Stevenson’s book, Informed Fundraising, is that anyone can learn something from it. It is a great primer for beginners, but even for those like me who have worked in the field for decades, it is full of new insights. Especially valuable are the charts that can lead to greater objectivity the establishing of expectations, and much needed review of performance. For board members and staff trying to assess how to allocate responsibility among them, the book also provides great insights and suggestions. I heartily recommend it.

Dr. Thomas Wolf
Principal, WolfBrown and author of “How to Connect With Donors and Double the Money You Raise”

At BoardSource, we know that effectively engaging the board in fundraising is a challenge for many nonprofits. We also know that many organizations struggle to structure and communicate their fundraising strategies in a way that enables board members to add value. Informed Fundraising: An Introduction and Guide is an important first step for organizations that are building their fundraising programs. BoardSource was pleased to be able to work with the authors to publish this important new resource for nonprofit organizations. Based on the response that we have received since its release, it is clearly meeting a real need within the nonprofit sector.

Anne Wallestad
President and CEO of BoardSource

This terrific resource offers expert guidance to a group of people who can use it in this challenging landscape of arts support. It is thorough and clearly written and laid out, and it’s hard to imagine a next competitor in its weight class. As an artist, I am grateful that this knowledge is available to those working to sustain my field and advocate for what we are so very passionate about.

David Ludwig