6 Keys to Fundraising Success
Raising money for your nonprofit or other organization takes skill and plenty of hard work, requiring a team of volunteers to help you reach your goals. The keys to fundraising success should be carefully studied with a coordinator or point person taking charge to ensure that your fundraiser brings in the maximum amount of money with the least amount of stress. You can meet your fundraising goals by carefully choosing the right fundraiser and putting a plan in place.
1. Selection — Perhaps there are no better fundraisers than the women and men who volunteer with Parent Teacher Organizations across America. These people, consisting of mothers, fathers and teachers, are dedicated fundraisers. Writing for PTOToday, Evelyn Beck advises that such organizers simplify their fundraising, by carefully selecting how many fundraisers to hold and how often. Two or three fundraisers are enough, but each event should be done well.
2. Planning — Once a fundraiser has been chosen, then the essential key to fundraising success is your planning. Beck advises a six-month lead time to ensure that the fundraiser succeeds. She advises hiring a fundraising company for your larger fundraisers and doing that first before tackling anything else. This person can offer advice and ensure that no other groups in the area are offering a similar fundraiser. For example, if the Boy Scouts are selling promotional coupon books in your area, you need to choose a different method for bringing in money. Your plan should include deadlines that work toward meeting important preparation points as you move closer to the start of your fundraising campaign.
3. Goal-Setting — With competition for donor dollars strong, setting realistic fundraising goals is essential. Too often, organizers set lofty goals, but are unable to reach these. Organizers must come up with a desired amount of money to be raised and consider what people might buy. Will your organization rely exclusively on parents and students to buy products or will the local community be approached to gain its support? Let everyone know what your goal is. If you need $10,000 to replace the aged computers in the school library, make that amount the essential selling point of your campaign.
4. Promotion — No fundraising campaign stands a chance at success if people are not aware of it and in a timely fashion. Sending a gift catalog home with students without notifying parents to check their children’s bag may result in lost time which means lost sales. Publish your fundraiser on the school calendar, school website, in your local newspaper and send a separate notice to parents by hard copy and by email alerting them to the fundraiser. You want as many people to participate; if your fundraiser has community appeal, then notify the newspaper, radio station and post signs publicly as allowed by law.
5. Volunteers — Recruit an army of volunteers to handle a variety of fundraising tasks. These people can come from a pool of people associated with your school, church or civic organization. For example, PTOs rely on parents already involved in the organization to participate, but a stream of other parent volunteers may be needed. Your fundraiser can help you determine numbers and coordinate workers. If your fundraiser is a one-day fair, then assign volunteers to work in shifts to avoid burn out and to maximize efficiency.
6. Evaluation — Once your fundraising has been finished, you’ll tally up your costs and receipts to determine how much money was raised. Notify participants how much money was raised and whether your goal was met or not. Thank your volunteers and congratulate everyone for their participation. If the goal was not met, evaluate the reasons why. You’ll need this information to plan your next fundraiser and perhaps consider another direction to take next time.
Done right, your fundraisers will be considered as a fun event. Done incorrectly and you’ll have people running in all different directions when you ask them to volunteer.