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Free PDFs of AFP's Popular Ready Reference Series

As a benefit and service to help fundraisers through the current challenging economic environment, AFP is pleased to offer all of its Ready Reference volumes FREE to all members. Members may download any and all of the Ready Reference booklets in PDF format.

The Ready Reference series is a great little resource for the busy practitioner or a wonderful introduction for someone new to the office, whether it is a new CEO or a new assistant.

These handy booklets contain specific information on important topics identified by our Resource Center patrons. Each booklet presents information in an interesting, informative, hands-on format, giving fundraising professionals a very quick guide they can follow to expand and improve their fundraising efforts. The booklets include many how-to tips, step-by-step instructions and insights into specific aspects of fundraising and philanthropy.

The series currently comprises nine titles with one French and six Spanish translations. Click on the blue title or the cover image of each booklet to access the PDF.

Hard-copy versions of each Ready Reference booklet are available for order (along with a member discount) through the AFP Online Bookstore at this link.

NOTE: Several of these volumes were printed before AFP made substantial changes to its Code of Ethical Principles and Standards. The updated version of the code can be found at

Developing Fundraising Policies and Procedures

Developing Fundraising Policies and Procedures (Title also available in French)

Developing Fundraising Policies and Procedures: Best Practices for Accountability and Transparency will guide your organization in adhering to ethical fundraising practices, enhancing relations with donors and funders and improving development staff efficiency and effectiveness. This booklet contains sample policies as well as resources and references.

Making the Most of Your Special Event

Making the Most of Your Special Event (Logrando lo Máximo de Tu Evento Especial; title also available in French)

Making the Most of Your Special Event: This practical guide gives you a quick overview for holding great special events. Recognize the opportunities that special events can generate, then get started choosing the right event and creating the plan, budget and timeline. This booklet contains information for working with volunteers and a readiness checklist as well as sample letters, timelines and a budget worksheet!


So You Want to Be a Consultant! (¡Así que quiere ser Consultor!, title also available in French)

Have you ever considered becoming an independent consultant? The latest addition to the AFP Ready Reference Series is what you need to explore the intricacies of this challenging, yet rewarding career path. So You Want to Be a Consultant! not only addresses the pros and cons of having your own business, but also explains how to get started.

In a clear, easy-to-read format, the handy booklet examines the three keys to a successful consulting practice in the nonprofit field from the practitioner’s perspective:

  • Managing client relationships
  • Managing the business
  • Marketing the business 
In addition, there are numerous practical resources, including a sample non-compete agreement, pre-proposal interview questions and a pro forma financial plan.

Establishing Your Development Office (Creando su Departmento de Desarrollo; title also available in French)

Establishing Your Development Office gives the nuts and bolts of planning, organizing, equipping and staffing a development office. Plus, read:
  • How to deal with boards and volunteers.
  • Develop a budget and fundraising plan.
  • Create "the seven documents every development office must have" to succeed.

The booklet is intended to be a working tool and is full of checklists, "how-tos" and practical suggestions for getting a new development office off and running!


Getting Ready for a Capital Campaign (Preparándose para una Campaña de Capital; title also available in French)

Getting Ready for a Capital Campaign: Every development officer who is launching a capital campaign needs to keep this handy guide at their fingertips. Its practical and scannable format will help you quickly assess your organization's internal and external readiness for a successful capital campaign:

  • Are you ready for a capital campaign? Internal readiness topics include organizational structure, giving history, staffing, the board, non-board volunteers, public image and the organization's level of technology.
  • Are they ready for you? External readiness covers preliminary planning, making the case, planning study interviews and hiring and working with consultants.
The booklet includes a handy Campaign Readiness Evaluation checklist to identify if your organization is ready (or not!) to conduct a campaign.

Bringing a Development Director on Board (Cómo Incorporar un Director de Desarrollo a la Institución; title also available in French)

Bringing a Development Director on Board tells you all that you need to know to find, hire, and empower a new development director for your organization. Especially useful for executive directors of organizations recruiting their first professional development officer, this 60-page booklet is full of helpful information about assessing your organization's needs; identifying high-quality candidates; effective interviewing; negotiating an employment agreement and job plan and an appendix with 25 pages of handy sample documents.

Reviving Your Donor File (Reviviendo Su Base de Datos de Donantes, title also available in French)

Reviving Your Donor File addresses the role of direct marketing in the development office, how to pull together your team and develop an integrated strategy, how to improve your donor lists and files and how to establish an effective program to welcome new donors and donor cultivation. Learn how to create the perfect direct marketing plan for your organization.

Building an Effective Board of Directors (Integrando un Consejo Directivo Eficiente; title also available in French)

Building an Effective Board of Directors will help you identify and recruit board members and offers numerous ways to solve the age-old question: how do I get my board involved in fundraising? As with all of the Ready Reference booklets, readers will find quick, bulleted, easy-to-read copy and lots of tools such as sample forms and checklists to make your job easier.

Asking for Major Gifts (Procuración de Donativos Mayores; title also available in French)

Successful solicitations are a team approach no matter who makes the ask! In this booklet, the reader will learn how to build the solicitation team and how to implement the steps for a successful solicitation. Guidelines for training the team are included as well as practical tips, proven strategies, materials used in the solicitation process and internal forms to ensure continued success.



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