Fundraising Guide

Core mission, goal, and activities

  • Before you can be an effective fundraiser, you need to be clear on what the organization is about, what the organization should be doing, and how much money you need to do it.
  • Take some time (a few hours with your executive board, advisory board, and interested stakeholders) to think through this. Don't be afraid to limit your scope to what you think is most important for your JETAA chapter. For "investors," it generally looks better if you can do a few things well than a lot of things at a mediocre (or worse!) level.
  • After determining the goals and activities determine where the budget shortfalls lie and how much money you need to raise to achieve your chapter’s goals.
  • Example: JETAA-SE holds departing JET workshop, lectures about Japanese culture, works to support Japan Fest, as well as other events to bring together the JET alumni community and friends of the community. Some of these events are covered through CLAIR/embassy money however others (such as bringing in the author of Japan Land for the Japan Fest are not)

Friendraising before and with Fundraising

  • Successful fundraising in the future depends on past success in friendraising.
  • Friendraising does not raise much money, or maybe none at all. It's important because it brings visibility to the organization, expands the donor base, highlights a particular issue of importance, or highlights a message – such as thanking volunteers or donors.
  • You can also use friendraisers to cultivate Board members.
  • All friendraisers can be turned into fundraisers, but this should be done carefully based on the particular situation and audience.


  • There are two key audiences for JETAA fundraising: JETAA members and FOJs (Friends of JETAA).
  • As each JETAA member should have a few friends, the FOJs for your chapter should be more than your members. While you always want to target JETAA members for attendance at events, include FOJs for fundraising.
  • FOJs can be companies as well, both Japanese and American who wish to have a presence in the Japanese community.

Types of Fundraising

  • Through your efforts at raising support for your chapter, be sure to think of contributions beyond the monetary.
  • Donations of supplies, space, food, beverages, etc. can be significant benefits to a chapter. These types of donations are particularly common from companies and from the perspective of a company an in-kind contribution can be more cost effective and provide more benefit both to the company and the JETAA chapter.
  • Perhaps you can get a restaurant to provide discounted food at an event. You want to hold a mochi party? Ask the local Japanese grocery store to provide supplies in hope that the people attending will learn about and patronize their store.

Simple Approach to Fundraising—Cost Plus

  • The easiest way to add funds to your chapter's account is to do a Cost Plus pricing.
  • When you figure out how much an event costs to put on, charge for the cost of putting on the event, plus a little padding.
  • This overage can be as simple as rounding things to the nearest $5, $10, or $25 dollars.
  • If you're able to secure a particularly nice space, and refreshments at low-cost, consider charge for what the event seems to be (very nice) rather than just a nominal "plus." Don't undercharge for your event.
  • Always consider each event as a chance to raise money as opposed to subsidizing social events.

A More Sophisticated Approach to Fundraising—Cultivating Donors based on the Benevon Method.

  • Benevon, is an organization that consults to non-profits about fundraising. Their approach is described below and on their website:
  1. Invite potential donors (JETAA members and FOJs) to events that are free of charge. These can be casual happy hours or something your chapter is already doing that showcases your work.
    1. Let them know what your core mission is and how your activities will achieve that mission.
    2. A story is always great (i.e. if part of your chapter's activities include doing elementary school visits, share Thank You cards from the event or stories of how individual students were encouraged to learn more about Japan.).
    3. Capture contact information (if you don't already have it!).
  2. Follow-up with a call and a conversation about how they'd like to get involved, and who else they know who might be interested. If they don't want to be involved, thank them and let them go.
  3. After a few "touches" (initial meeting, call, follow-up thank you note, invitation to another event, newsletter, etc.) invite them to a fundraiser. The fundraiser should be free to attend, but be clear about how much you'd like them to give. This is why knowing your activities is important. If you want to visit 20 schools in a year in your area, and it costs $25 in materials, let them know you need $500. You can ask them for the amount, or ask them to "support a school" for $25.
  4. Follow-up with donors, and keep them engaged!


Benevon trains and coaches nonprofit organizations to implement a mission-based system for raising sustainable funding from individual donors.

CompassPoint Nonprofit Services is a consulting, research, and training organization providing nonprofits with management tools, strategies, and resources to lead change in their communities.

Foundation Center
The Foundation Center is the nation's leading authority on philanthropy, connecting nonprofits and the grantmakers supporting them to tools they can use and information they can trust.

The Nonprofit Center
The Nonprofit Center at La Salle University offers an expanse of programs and services to fit your budget, schedule, expectations, and most importantly your goals.

Young Nonprofit Professional Network
The Young Nonprofit Professionals Network (YNPN) is a powerful, organic vehicle for retaining and strengthening the nonprofit sector’s next generation of leaders—led by and directly responsive to the needs of early career nonprofit professionals.

Ads in Newsletters
Sell ad space in your newsletter. Suggested pricing ranges from $25 for a business card-sized ad to $100 for a full-page. When you sell this advertising make sure you have a professional looking printed copy of your product to present to the potential donors.

Auction—Silent or Live
Auction off donated items, perhaps in conjunction with another event.

Bowling Ball
Disco Bowling at its finest!

Celebrity Bartender/Dedicated Tip Jar
Tie drinks orders from the bar or soda fountain to supporting your chapter. Perhaps a dollar per drink.

Christmas Party
Put your chapter’s projects on a wish list for funding.

Eating Competitions
Add Japanese flavor (onigiri, somen, etc.) to Nathan's Hot Dog eating competitions, but with much shorter time limits. Great for individuals or teams.

Honorarium for Speaking
Promote your members for speaking engagements, and add the honorarium to chapter’s funds.

Iron Chef Potluck Party
Bring a dish, bring drinks, or bring $10.

JETAA Golf Tournament
Skip the 18-hole golf course for a night at a driving range with prizes for the longest drive. Or go with putt-putt golf.

Karaoke night/JETAA Idol
Start the event out with everyone warming up for the contest with open karaoke singing, and wrap up with a JETAA Idol challenge.

Poker Night
Buy-in minus a small payout for the top chip holders goes into the chapter kitty.

Scavenger Hunt
Time this event with the return of JETs in the fall.

Store Receipts
Propose to a Japanese store or restaurant that the business will contribute a portion (1% or 5%, etc.) of receipts spent by JETs and FOJs. Similar to the earlier suggestion of Ads in Newsletters, but without up-front investment. To compare, a chapter would have to collect $500 in receipts to earn a $25 donation, if the business donates 5%. This is really about selling the audience that the JETAA chapter can reach to specific businesses.

Sushi Party
Have fun making nigiri, temaki, and maki sushi. Collect money for ingredients and keep the difference.

Wishing Ema
Ema are wooden plaques with wishes or prayers written on the back. Japanese temples charge ¥500. So could your chapter.

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