Fundraising has become an essential element for schools, scouts, sports and cheerleading teams, youth sports leagues, and other community groups in both small towns and large metropolitan areas. The need for fundraising has become more important than ever before for a variety of needs ranging from playground equipment, uniforms, and travel to primary funding to support and maintain many types of programmes and curricula.
Fundraising used to be a means of offering or supporting additional programmes or activities, but in today’s world, fundraising is becoming more and more dependent on the survival and primary support of more and more groups, activities, events, and programs.
This importance of fundraising in today’s market has led to the need for stronger and more successful fundraising programmes that can generate impact and results. Fundraising is no longer just a fun activity, but rather an entrepreneurial endeavor—a business.
Parents, students, and community members are being bombarded and approached with more fundraising requests than ever before. The one critical element is to make sure your fundraising efforts aren’t lost in the shuffle. You need to make sure your fundraising campaigns are executed correctly to position yourself to get the best possible results.
There are seven important steps you can take to make sure your fundraising is a success.
1. Form a strong fundraising team.
This is one of the first and often overlooked aspects of a successful fundraising program. Your team is the heart and soul of your fundraiser. While it is often difficult to get volunteers and quality people to be part of your fundraising team, one of the biggest mistakes that can be made is simply accepting someone on your team. Look for people who are driven, motivated, and who share your vision of fundraising. Those who can achieve their stated goals. Confident, self-starters who can give direction yet function and operate independently.
It is better to have a smaller team of like-minded and motivated members than a larger team with a few weak links.
Take the time to find the right people for your team. Talk to them, learn their interests, discover their strengths and weaknesses, and then put the best qualified person in the most suitable position.
Do your homework and put in the effort and you will find that this is time well spent as you are laying the strongest possible foundation for your fundraising abilities.
2. Choose the best fundraiser
Just as important as assembling the best fundraising team is selecting the right fundraiser yourself. Factors such as the length of your campaign; the season or timeframe of your campaign; the size of your commission or team; the amount expected; and your target audience and demographics are just some of the key elements to consider to help you select the right fundraising program.
Make your fundraiser stand out. The market is saturated with many of the same typical fundraisers like candy, candles, wrapping paper, cookie dough, discount cards, and so on. While some of these may yield decent results, by offering a different type of fundraiser, you’ll find that your efforts are greatly enhanced and better accepted by your target audience. Tailor-made fundraising products, live event fundraisers, family entertainment, and other unique fundraising ideas can help you deliver that “something different or special” element that makes your campaign stand out, gain acceptance, and provide a welcome relief from the typical standards.
Explore your options and ideas. Which programmes really excite your team and can create excitement in your market? Carefully look into these things if you want to choose a successful fundraiser.
3. Make a Plan for Fundraising Success
Often, the lack of proper planning is the reason behind a lack of expected results. Map your fundraiser from your first step to completion. Creating a plan to run your fundraiser will help you and your entire team see the big picture.
Plan everything about your fundraiser, including the staff, dates, times, promotion, product distribution, ticket sales, accounting, meetings, and any other important details that may not be in your overall plan.
4. Establish your objectives
Along with proper fundraiser planning is creating and executing your goals. By creating a written set of goals, you can see your starting point, where you are at each step, and what your ultimate goals are at all times.
Having these written goals also helps keep your team invested and aware of their expectations, while also being a great way to measure and track their results and progress. Your team will enjoy a great sense of pride and achievement as every goal is achieved during your campaign. There is no better feeling than achieving your expected goals and even exceeding them to achieve more success. This also helps build team spirit and keeps everyone on your team or committee motivated.
5. Supervise your fundraising team.
Once your team is in place and your plans and goals have been determined, it is critical to properly manage your fundraising team. Make it clear to your leaders and team members about their roles and duties. Make sure they have the tools and materials to succeed. Identify your strengths and weaknesses. Take care of the weaknesses and play to your strengths. Who are your team’s “superstars”? Who needs special attention, reinforcement, and maybe personal motivation? Which combinations of team members work well together and produce the best results?
Managing your team while helping and supporting your team leaders will get you to where you want to be quickly.
6. Publicize and spread the word
After all team goals and organisational efforts are in place, the priority is to continue promoting your fundraising campaign. Your main goal is to make sure as much of your target audience as possible is informed about your fundraising program.
Spread the word in any way you can, including as many methods and resources as possible. While you should have a combination of promotional methods and techniques, word of mouth is the most beneficial. Let everyone you meet know about your fundraiser and the important cause or benefactor of your efforts. Promote the reason for your fundraiser and remind your target audience or potential customers that they are helping your cause. People want to feel that they can help make a difference.
You will soon find that the amount of promotion directly affects your final results, so promote, promote, and promote even more.
7. Inspire Your Fundraising Team
The importance of maintaining the right focus and motivation is also very important to the success of your fundraising. Different people get bored or lose motivation at different levels. Keep track of your team members and provide support and motivation to each member as needed. Recognize their accomplishments and successes, remind them of your objectives, and emphasise their importance to the overall success of your team.
Avoid “fundraising fatigue” or burnout. Offer your team members rewards and rewards for achievements.
Maintain the spirit, attitude, and enthusiasm of your team members. The right positive attitude is contagious. Being aware of these factors can help you keep everyone focused and on track to achieve the results you want.
By following these seven steps, your fundraising campaign will be well managed and positioned for optimal success. “While these steps may seem like a more businesslike approach, this is how fundraisers need to operate to achieve their goals, succeed in today’s potentially saturated market, and overcome even tough times.” These steps work well with all types of fundraisers and provide immediate and residual benefits.