Since unrestricted funds are not bounded by an agreement, any method that does not bound the donation received by your organisation under specific expense head, is unrestricted funds for your organisation.
The first recommended step is that while making your organisation budget, estimate how much of unrestricted funds would be required by you in the upcoming financial year.
One way to reduce the pressure of the amount of unrestricted funds to be raised is, charging overheads in the project budget or the core expense, if the donor agrees to the same. Usually donor agrees to 5-10 percent of total project budget as overheads or core expenses.
Next step would be, based on the estimated unrestricted funds required and those raised through the overheads, estimate the balance amount that needs to be raised,
Next step is to identify various channels you would like to undertake to raise the balance unrestricted funds.
Unrestricted funds could be raised either through online or offline or a blend of the two (starts with one and final donation received through the other).
Most commonly used methods to raise unrestricted funds include:
- Memberships- Some organisations offer memberships at a fee with well stated benefits to the members
- Website- In the organisation’s website home page, a ‘Donate Now’ button is embedded
- Emailers- Sending out donation emailers
- Social media fundraising- Publishing posts (impact stories and pcitures) on social media and solicit donation.
- Face-to-face- On street fundraising.
- Telemarketing or Telefacing (combination of face-to-face and telemarketing)- Making calls to prospects and encouraging them to donate.
- Direct mail- Sending out hard copies of mailers through post, soliciting donation.
- Endowment funds- Using part of interest or investment returns.
- Crowd Funding- Using third party platforms.
- Legacy- An amount or part of property left in the will.
Whichever method you use to raise unrestricted funds, it will be important to mention it in writing in the donation instrument- “The funds will be used, wherever it is needed the most”. This is important in order to maintain transparency with the donors.