fund-raising, large-scale soliciting of voluntary contributions, especially in the United States. Fund-raising is widely undertaken by charitable organizations, educational institutions, and political groups to acquire sufficient funds to support their activities. Among the methods used are door-to-door appeals, direct-mail campaigns, charity dinners and testimonials, charity balls, benefit entertainments, and, more recently, televised appeals and telephone solicitation. These techniques are generally accompanied by advertising and public relations campaigns. Before World War I private social agencies conducted individual fund-raising drives in their own communities, but with the war came the start of federated drives conducted by several agencies for purposes related to the war effort. The community chest movement had its origin in these federated efforts. These joint efforts were highly successful in that they raised more money at a considerably lower cost. The United Way of America is now the national association of all community chests and community welfare councils. In addition to federated drives, the period following World War I also saw the development of professional organizations that raise funds for a percentage of the total. Although the united fund movement spread rapidly, many agencies still chose to conduct independent campaigns, notably the health-promoting organizations. After the American Red Cross reversed its position in the 1950s and allowed local chapters to join United Way drives, most health groups did likewise. Fund-raising for political purposes has led to demands for national and state regulation of such activities.
See G. A. Brakeley, Jr., Tested Ways to Successful Fund Raising (1980).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.