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AFP’s Toolkit for New Fundraisers

Resource Center - Foundation

This web page offers a broad overview of fundraising and puts the essential tools for getting started right at your fingertips. Whether you are new to the profession or just want to brush up on the basics, use this resource to get full benefit from AFP and start on the right foot in your new career!

Are you a new AFP member? Start here with The Virtual New Member Kit. Also, make sure you get the most out of your AFP membership by reviewing this list of AFP Membership Benefits. Then, scroll down for many helpful resources available to you as a new fundraiser.

Many of these resources require your AFP membership login. Not a member of AFP? Learn more about the many benefits and JOIN TODAY!

In This Toolkit:

SECTION 1: Building Your Ethical Foundation

Ethical standards and principles are the foundation for maintaining public trust. Use these key guidelines to assure ethical practice in fundraising. The two essential guides are AFP's Code of Ethical Principles and Standards and A Donor Bill of Rights.

Code of Ethical Principles and Standards
The foundation of philanthropy is ethical fundraising, and a key mission of AFP is to advance and foster the highest ethical standards through its Code of Ethical Principles and Standards.

Guidelines for the Code of Ethical Principles and Standards
These guidelines are provided to assist AFP members and others in interpreting and using the Code of Ethical Principles and Standards. They are intended only as suggestions to help guide thinking about ethical behavior and not as prescriptions for all possible situations.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Fundraising Ethics
AFP has prepared an FAQ for ethical behavior in fundraising (revised February 2009). The document is available here as a PDF download.    

Donor Bill of Rights
To ensure that philanthropy merits the respect and trust of the general public, AFP and other fundraising organizations declare that all donors have the following rights.

International Statement of Ethical Principles in Fundraising
Universal principles and standards of practice which unite fundraisers around the world.

Position Paper: Percentage-based Compensation
AFP believes that individuals serving a charity for compensation must accept the principle that charitable purpose, not self-gain, is paramount, and therefore finds percentage-based fundraising to be unethical.

Moveable Assets
This article in Advancing Philanthropy explores whether fundraisers can solicit funds from donors who they know from working at a different organization.

SECTION 2: The Tools You Need From AFP

Browse these exclusive AFP member resources and learn about the aspects of fundraising of most interest to you!

AFP Information Exchange - White Papers from Colleagues
Over 120 short papers on a variety of fundraising topics submitted by veteran fundraisers. Check back often - a new paper is added every week!

Here are a few titles to get you started (AFP member login required).

 Advancing Philanthropy - Digital Issue Archive
AFP's bimonthly magazine, Advancing Philanthropy, is now available for members in digital format and allows readers to search through the current issue and an archive of past issues by keyword. Explore the growing archive of past issues of the magazine in convenient digital format.

AFP Resource Center "Hot Topics"
The AFP Resource Center has produced comprehensive "Hot Topic" overviews of key fundraising areas that members have identified as being most in demand, including an overview of Fundraising Basics.

Ready Reference Series
The AFP Ready Reference Series is a great 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. Each booklet presents information in an interesting and practical way, giving fundraising professionals a very quick guide they can follow to expand and improve their fundraising efforts. Now available as a digital download!


SECTION 3: Quick Resources and Web Articles

A list of select articles from AFP as well as resources from around the web.

Six Things I Wish I Had Known at the Beginning of My Fundraising Career
By Andrea McManus, CFRE - AFP eWire - May 24, 2011
Here are six basic fundraising principles that I believe are fundamental to philanthropic giving and fund development. Read more

The First 90 Days
By Ron Huddleston - Advancing Philanthropy - January/February 2009
So, what should you do during your first 90 days a fundraiser? Start by developing your table of needs, write your case for support and prepare your development office business plan that looks forward one, three and five years. Read more

The New Proactive Donor
AFP eWire - Aug. 10, 2010
Young and middle-aged donors referenced their growing preference for supporting fewer nonprofits, and among donors over the age of 65, one out of three will give online in 2010. Read more

Essential Elements of a Fundraising Letter
AFP eWire - Oct. 26, 2010
A personally addressed note remains an extremely powerful way to reach donors-and get a response. Get some helpful tips on what to include in a fundraising letter and some do's and don'ts in direct mail.

Three Ways to Define Your Target Audience
By Kivi Leroux Miller - AFP eWire - July 6, 2010
Marketing and fundraising that tries to reach the general public, or everyone, actually reaches very few people (It's sometimes called spray-and-pray marketing). The general public includes newborns and elders, rich and poor, jet-setters and the homeless.  You don't want to reach all of those people, and you couldn't even if you wanted to. So stop trying, and start focusing on the people who really do matter most to your success. Read more

Face Time: How to Reach Young Donors
AFP eWire - May 11, 2010
When they get involved with a nonprofit organization, Millennial donors not only want to give financially, they want to affect change and create direction, and they want access to the organization's board leadership. Read more

Basics in Developing Your Fundraising Plan
By Carter McNamara, Authenticity Consulting, LLC
Read a variety of articles about getting your organization started in fundraising, and learn more about the basics of the fundraising process. Read more

Your Capital Campaign: Are You Ready to Succeed?
AFP eWire - March 30, 2010
Reaching the finish line-raising the necessary capital for a new project-is an endurance test: One or two big gifts may get you rolling, but it takes a lot of planning, discipline and work at the start to successfully finish. Read more

Fundraising Fundamentals - Where Do You Start?
By Joanne Fritz,
Read about the basic types of fundraising that organizations use that make up the backbone of their fundraising year to year. Read more

AFP Recent News of Note Blog
An ongoing stream of web articles related to the nonprofit world, fundraising and philanthropy, maintained by the AFP Fundraising Resource Center.

Online Resource Center Card Catalog
If you are researching a topic and prefer to obtain the materials on your own, the AFP Online Card Catalog of Resource Center offers the resources to help you develop bibliographies on topics of your choice. There are 800 URLs of material-products and articles-members can access online directly from the database.


SECTION 4: Professional Development Opportunities

Access the many valuable products and services offered at a special price for AFP members, including conferences, webinars and books.

Fundamentals of Fundraising Course
The AFP Fundamentals of Fundraising Course offers a complete overview of the development function, featuring the most current information and techniques and will provide an overview of skills, techniques and program components for individuals with zero to four years of fundraising experience.
Learn more
about the course. View a schedule of in-person sessions happening throughout the year.

Featured Upcoming AFP Events
See what trainings and events are upcoming from AFP - all in one place.

AFP's Online Bookstore, Featuring the AFP Fund Development Series
AFP's online bookstore is a one-stop shop for books about fundraising. AFP members receive a 20% discount on all books! New titles are being added all the time. Be sure to view the list of Nonprofit Essentials books as well as the AFP Fund Development Series.

AFP Webinars
Register for the next upcoming live AFP Web/Audioconference or purchase a presentation from the extensive On Demand Collection to get exclusive practical advice from seasoned fundraisers.

AFP Meetings and Events Calendar - Local and International
Find out about local training events in your area, such as the CFRE Review Course and upcoming AFP Web/Audioconferences.

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