Accounting Policy
A predetermined policy dictating the appropriate account management of all contributions received.

Accounting Procedures
Those procedures established to make sure that all contributions are properly accounted for, managed, and disbursed in accordance with the approved accounting policy.

Accounts Receivable
Office procedure to control collections on pledges, including file reflecting balances due on pledges, terms of payment, records of payments made, and dates made.

Written expression of gratitude for gift or service.

Acquisition Mailing (or prospect mailing)
A mailing to prospects to acquire new members or donors.

Advisory Board
A group of influential and prominent individuals whose association with a development programme is calculated to lend credibility and implied endorsement of the programme’s goals and objectives.

That section of a study that deals with the factors essential to success in a fundraising programme; principally the case for support, leadership potential, and fields of support.

Annual Giving
Annually repeating gift programmes; seeking funds on annual or recurring basis from same constituency; income is generally used for operating budget support.

Appeal Consultant
Person whose role it is to devise and implement a strategy to help achieve the goals of a specific charity fundraising appeal.

An internal evaluation of development procedures as practiced by a not-for-profit institution or agency; normally conducted by professional fundraising consultants.

One who makes a major gift to an institution or agency; also, an arbitrary classification of contributors whose gifts are above a certain level, which is calculated to single them out as a group and to stimulate similar giving by others.

Benefit Event
A form of fundraising which involves the organisation and staging of a special event for charitable purposes; all proceeds above expenses are designated as a contribution to the charitable institution concerned.

Big Gifts
A general term used to signify gifts in upper ranges, the precise limits varying from institution to institution. Their importance is emphasised in all fundraising campaigns.

A detailed breakdown of estimated income and expenses for a development programme, prepared in advance. Budgets show various cost categories, including personnel, printed materials, purchase and rental of equipment, office expense, headquarters, mailing charges, costs of events, etc.

An organised effort to raise funds for a not-for-profit organisation.

Campaign Costs
Expenditures that are deemed essential to the planning and operation of a campaign and that are directly related to campaign budget projections.

Capital Appeal
A carefully organised, highly structured fundraising programme using volunteers supported by staff and consultants to raise funds for specific needs, to be met in a specific time frame, with a specific financial goal. Allows donors to pledge gifts to be paid over a period of years.

Carefully prepared reasons why a charitable institution merits support (in the context of the ‘case bigger than the institution’), including its resources, its potential for greater service, its needs, and its future plans.

Case Statement
A written document presenting the case for support to potential donors.

Cash Flow
Predictable cash income to sustain operations; in capital campaigns or whenever pledges are secured, anticipation of annual cash receipts resulting from payments on pledges.

Charitable Fundraising
Raising money to help not-for-profit organisations dedicated to helping specific causes or ranges of causes, to achieve their aims.

Charitable Trust
A body constituted as a charity whose express purpose is to give money away to other voluntary sector bodies across a wide range of needs.

Charity Consultant / Charity Fundraiser / Charity Fundraising Adviser
Professional fundraiser who advises charities, and other not-for-profit organisations and agencies, how to raise money to achieve their goals.

Contingent Gift
A gift that is made subject to certain conditions or restrictions.

Corporate Foundation
The philanthropic arm created by a corporation to deal with requests for contributions from whatever agencies – locally, regionally or nationally.

Corporate Philanthropy
Support through gifts, equipment, supplies or other contributions by business firms to charitable institutions, sometimes through organised programmes that may include corporate foundations.

An agreement between a charity and a donor for a certain amount to be given over a certain period of time.

A process of promoting or encouraging interest and/or involvement on the part of a potential donor or volunteer leader; an educative process to inform about an institution, reasons why it merits support.

Refers to all dynamics of a continuing fundraising programme (annual giving, special gifts, planned gifts, public relations).

Direct Mail
Solicitation of gifts or volunteer services and distribution of information pieces by targeted mass mailing.

Donor Profile
A description of basic information about an individual donor through research.

Principal or corpus maintained in a permanent fund to provide income for general or restricted use of an agency, institution or programme.

The moral considerations of the activities of a philanthropic organisation. Also, standards of conduct and methods of doing business by organisations of fundraising consultants that provide assurances of professionalism in client relationships.

Feasibility Study
An in-depth examination and assessment of the fundraising potential of an institution or agency, conducted by fundraising consultants, and presented in the form of a written report setting forth various conclusions, recommendations and proposed plans.

The raising of funds for a specific cause.

Person who organises and orchestrates the raising of funds for a specific cause.

Fundraising Consultant
An individual operating independently, or a company organised specifically for the purpose of advising charitable institutions in all aspects of fundraising.

Gift Aid
UK taxpayers who give donations via Gift Aid are able to generate an extra 25% (depending on the current rate of tax) of funds for the charity they are donating to due to tax relief. This also applies to regular donations made by direct debit on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis. With tax claimed these donations can grow substantially.


  1. Advance: strategically important gifts solicited in advance of the formal public beginning of an intensive campaign to ensure a level of giving equal to the requirements of the campaign cash objective.
  2. Big, leadership, key, strategic gift: Terms used interchangeably to indicate substantial or largest gifts – generally, six or seven figured – that are required to provide the stimulus for a major campaign.
  3. Major gifts: In an intensive campaign, major refers to gifts below the level of ‘big’ or ‘leadership’ gifts and above the level of ‘general’ gift.
  4. General gifts: Final 5 to 20% of funds raised through a multitude of gifts from constituencies or through a wrap up mail campaign.

Lead Gift
A gift given early in campaign that, by its nature and size, tends to lead others to increase their level of giving; a pacesetting gift.

The force within an institution, agency, programme or fundraising appeal that stimulates others to act or give.

An amount of money left in a will or a bequest of personal property.

The power to influence another to contribute or to serve as a volunteer.

Major Gifts
A gift of significant amount (size of gift may vary according to organisation’s needs and goals); may be repeated periodically. Also a programme designation.

Potential source of funds, members, or clients (individuals and organisations).

Market Research
The process of gathering, recording, and analysing information relating to the marketing of goods and services.

Match Funding
A gift that is made on condition that it be matched within a certain period, either on a one-to-one basis or in accordance with some other formula; also a gift by a corporation matching a gift by one of its employees.

A philosophical or value statement that seeks to respond to the ‘why’ of the organisation’s existence, its basic reason for being. Mission statement is not defined in expressions of goals or objectives.

Not-for-profit Organisation
Organisations of members and/or volunteers that are classified by the Inland Revenue as providing a public benefit without purpose of profit for members of the corporation.

One who lends his or her name for purposes of promotion of a benefit or similar affair; also, a category of contributors at a certain level of giving to which an institution gives special recognition. A well chosen patron is a valuable asset and puts a charity on the map. They have no legal status or obligations but lend their names to the cause as a hallmark of credibility and stature.

Payroll Giving
A tax-effective payroll-giving scheme involves the employer registering with one of the approved payroll agencies so that employees can give to charity and save income tax by making a regular deduction from their pay.

Broadly speaking, anyone who makes a gift; but usually used to describe a wealthy individual known for his/her exceptional generosities in support of charitable causes.

Volunteer action for the public good, including voluntary service, voluntary association, and voluntary giving.

A signed and dated commitment to make a gift over a specified period, generally two or more years, payable according to terms set by the donor, with scheduled monthly, quarterly, semi-annual, or annual payments.

Professional Fundraiser
Professional consultant who advises, helps to plan, co-ordinate and implement fundraising strategy for major capital appeals.

A written request or application for a gift or grant that includes why the project or programme is needed, who will carry it out, and how much it will cost.

Any logical source of support, whether individual, corporation, organisation, government at all levels, or foundation; emphasis on the logic of support.

A reserve of money accumulated and kept by charities as protection against the unexpected.

Quid Pro Quo
Something in exchange for something; in fundraising, the process where a donor makes a gift in exchange for specified privileges or services, with possible benefits of tax deduction.

Percentage of a total fundraising goal assigned to a division or other unit of the campaign organisation.

A mutually beneficial and tax-effective way to gift shares to charity; it can reduce taxable income by the market value of the shares given.

Statutory Grants
Generally refers to commitments of funds by government agencies rather than those distributed by charities.

Steering Committee
In fundraising, an executive committee of top leadership that bears overall responsibility for a fundraising campaign.

Third Sector
A term used to describe all not-for-profit organisations and institutions. Also known as the voluntary sector.

Trust Funds
Money, securities, property held in trust by an agent of wealth (bank, estate manager, solicitor) or managed by an institution under trust agreement to produce income for the beneficiary.

The willingness of private individuals to serve voluntarily a great variety of programmes and causes, both in fundraising appeals and other capacities.

Year End Giving
The practice among many charitable organisations of seeking gifts, usually via mail campaigns, in the last two or three months of a calendar or financial year on the premise that prospects will take last minute advantage of opportunities to secure tax deductions.