Unit 3: Finances
Unit 5. Finances

Section 3. Grants and Fundraising


Fundraising includes the solicitation of donations from various sources, such as individual and corporate donors, special events, endowments, planned giving, and bank loans. If patient-care revenue will not be adequate for current and future operations, then fundraising is necessary.

Clinics that are newer, smaller, independent of larger agencies, or are planning new projects are more likely to require fundraising revenue. Major initiatives, such as construction of a new clinic or the purchase of a building, may require the development of a business plan to obtain funding. Some fundraising may yield non-cash donations that will help your bottom line.

Donations can be solicited for a variety of purposes. For example, sales representatives for dental equipment suppliers and product manufacturers can be contacted for contributions of new or used items or oral hygiene supplies such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, or mouthguards. Local businesses may be able to donate furnishings, office supplies, or art. Professionals or retirees can donate their time to provide direct care services or ancillary support services.

A few tips for fundraising:

  • Outline what the oral health care needs are for your target population, and show how your clinic is responding to these needs.
  • Make a wish list. What do you need first? Do you need money, equipment and supplies, or human resources? What could specific amounts of money buy?
  • Brainstorm how you could leverage additional resources if you had some initial funding.
  • Make a list of potential donors, including local businesses, other organizations, and individuals. Ultimately, you will want to establish a dependable donor database of clinic supporters who can be counted on to produce a regular stream of contributions over the years. These individual donations represent the broad base of the fundraising pyramid, in which many small donations account for a large proportion of gifts. In this pyramid analogy, progressively larger individual gifts represent the higher levels of the pyramid, but they represent a smaller number of gifts and a smaller proportion of total donations.
  • Take time to create a thoughtful and personalized solicitation letter.
  • Offer different choices and levels of involvement.
  • Make a list of potential sources of matching funds.
  • Make sure that you show your appreciation for your volunteers and donors.

The fundraising plan, like a grant-seeking plan, is a component of your business plan. The fundraising plan should contain annual and long-term (3–5 year) components, including overall revenue goals, revenue goals by source, implementation plans, staffing, and a fundraising program budget. This is an example of an annual fundraising plan.

Safety net dental clinics that wish to develop an effective fundraising program may want to identify a local fundraising professional to provide assistance; many professional fundraisers are members of the Association of Fundraising Professionals