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Organized fund-raising, or philanthropy, is a relatively modern refinement of the old notion of charity. It may be surprising to learn that some people make a living by organizing charity appeals and fund drives, but philanthropy ranks among the largest industries in the United States. The most familiar forms of fund-raising are the much publicized and visible types, such as telethons, direct-mail and social media campaigns, and canned food drives. Successful fund-raising does not depend on a high profile; however, it often requires marketing the appeal for funds to the people most likely to donate. Successful fund-raising requires careful planning, staffing, and execution.

An experienced fund-raiser can make all the difference between a successful revenue campaign and a disappointing one.