Friendraising is a form of fundraising that involves befriending an organization or individual for the purpose of helping support the financial aspect of a charity, nonprofit group or other community benefit organization.
Relationship fundraising, which is characterized as a fundraising approach that centers around the development of a "unique and special relationship […] between a charity and its supporter" was first discussed in 1992 by Ken Burnett, who proposed that charitable institutions move towards dealing with donors as individuals, looking at their unique donation histories and motivations.
The concept of friendraising involves a single organization or individual following a setup of guidelines and principles to establish friendship with another entity. As a concept, the friendship created is a legitimate one, regardless of financial prospects. As such, the relationship is a sustainable one of genuine care and concern - each party involved is there for the benefit of each other and therefore, the community represented.
In actual practice, friendraising is highly dependent on the goals, principles and scruples of the organization. The goal to effective friendraising is to provide an outcome that the community won't let subside. To do this, a non-profit's support system must consist of an "army of friends, an army of support. Those friendships are the key to building sustainable efforts to improve the quality of life in our communities".
Controversy stems from incidents where the organization exercises undue influence over a vulnerable person with the aim of benefitting from that person's estate after their death. Controversial friendraising practices include driving potential donors around (to doctor's appointments and the like), collecting prescriptions, providing referrals to lawyers for the drafting of wills, repeated and frequent home visits and other activities that involve befriending the person and enmeshing the organization's representatives in the donor's personal life.
Over the last 10 years, the term 'friendraising' has been linked to more positive fundraising terms like 'peer-to-peer' fundraising, where fundraisers reach out to their peer network for donations when they are doing a walk, run, a-thon or any of a number of participant-based fundraising activities. Friendraising is now regularly used when describing how fundraisers get their friends to help raise funds for a worthy cause, similar to peer-to-peer.
- Adrian Sargeant and Elaine Jay (2004). Fundraising Management: Analysis, Planning and Practice. Routledge. p. 142. ISBN 0-415-31701-0.
- Hildy Gottlieb (2006). FriendRaising: Community Engagement Strategies for Boards Who Hate Fundraising but Love Making Friends. Renaissance Press. p. 4. ISBN 978-0-9714482-0-9.
- Dwight Burlingame (1997). Critical Issues in Fund Raising. John Wiley and Sons. p. 253. ISBN 0-471-17465-3.
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