The thought of doing fundraising events for your group or organization can be downright scary, if not totally off-putting. Please don’t despair, however.
Doing fundraisers is not as daunting as it appears to be at first blush.
The whole process of fundraising needs to broken down in to a series of highly doable steps that lend momentum to the planning and conduct of the fundraiser.
Gather Participants and Create Passion
Bring together a group of people who are passionate about the project or service for which you’ll be raising the money (1). Additionally, ensure that they’re willing to do the careful planning and implementation work which will be vital to the success of your fundraiser, or fundraisers. Ideally, over time, as you do fundraisers, have experienced members of your group train those who join your group but have no experience in raising money.
Meet Regularly, Weekly if Possible
During the planning phase of the fundraising event, try to hold weekly meetings to foster accountability and to maintain the morale and forward momentum of the group. It is important that the meetings have a very clear focus and that they last only 15-20 minutes, as people’s time is extremely valuable.
Be organized and plan each part of the fundraiser: goals, how the money will be used, who will be invited and how invitations will be extended, what will happen the day of the event, and evaluation.
Set Clear Goals
During the planning stage be sure to set forth clear goals in terms of how much the group wants to raise and what resources will be needed to achieve those goals (2).
Determine Exactly How the Money will be Used
Clearly set forth exactly how the money will be used once it is raised. Make sure that all your participants and supporters will be in agreement.
Don’t Reinvent the Wheel. Look at Others’ Efforts
Don’t be afraid to study fundraisers that other groups have done in order to learn from their successes or lack thereof. Be sure to share with your group successes that other groups and/or organizations have enjoyed so that they (your group) are motivated. This encouragement can make group members feel empowered which may generate better fundraising results.
Start with Who You Know (“Warm” invitations)
Encourage members of your group to invite people they know to attend the fundraiser before they reach out to those outside their circle of family, relatives, friends, and acquaintances. In so doing, individuals in your group will gain confidence in inviting people to the fundraiser and bridging into inviting people they don’t know.
Avoid “Cold Calling” Unless It is Necessary
“Cold-call” invitations should be avoided whenever possible. Unforeseen invitations are often refused, and, however politely the refusal is made, this can erode the morale of the group.
Do the Event
Your planning should make the event easy. It will still be work, but with good planning you have no need to be nervous. Just follow the schedule that you create, and it should all fall together.
Evaluate After the Event
Be sure to evaluate the fundraising event that you’ve just conducted. Several questions should be raised to this end (3):
- What things at the fundraiser worked, or went well?
- What things did not go well? Analyze why those things didn’t go well? How can the same mistakes be avoided in the future?
- What was the fundraising goal versus that was actually raised?
- Were the objectives of the fundraiser broken down in to easily manageable steps?
Plan well, invite your “warm” supporters, do the event and evaluate. Following these fundamentals, you should be able to do many fundraisers to help you raise the money you need.
About the Author
Dave S. Morse is a freelance writer/editor in Knoxville, Tennessee who also serves as a volunteer community advocate. Dave holds Master’s degrees in Christian Service and Management/Public Administration from NW Christian College (now NW Christian University) and the University of Phoenix Online, respectively, and has a strong passion for social justice.
Image used with permission. Copyright: iqoncept / 123RF Stock Photo