What is Fundraising?
Fundraising includes seeking financial support for a charity, nonprofit organization, or other enterprise. This could mean anything from hosting a roadside lemonade stand to raise money for your local animal shelter, to hosting a raffle to buy your sport’s team new uniforms, or organizing celebrity-endorsed events to fund medical research toward a cure for cancer. With countless types of fundraisers to choose from, creating a plan for success can be a challenge. However, regardless of how you choose to approach it, there are a few fundraising tips that will help propel you to success.
- Plan Out the Details
Every successful fundraiser begins with a solid plan. Consider your group’s goals and abilities in addition to your target audience’s interests, then devise a plan to put them all together. This will likely drive the type of fundraiser you choose; A political campaign will undoubtedly have different goals and demographics than a high school sports team. Will you be hosting a black tie gala, holding a raffle, or setting up a booth to sell a fundraising product, like meat sticks? Decide what makes the most sense, then plan out the details, from start to finish, including who will be in charge of which tasks and activities. Once you have a plan in place, your chances of success increase exponentially.
- Set Specific Goals
Part of the planning process should include goal-setting. Determine exactly how much money you need to generate from your fundraiser; is it the cost of new uniforms, or travel costs for the big competition? Keep your goals in mind throughout the entire planning and fundraising process in order to keep your team accountable and motivated.
- Put the “Why” Front and Center
No matter how enticing your fundraiser’s event or product may be, experts agree that supporters are significantly more likely to lend their support (and money) to causes they can get behind. Help potential donors understand exactly why you need their money, and how each dollar will help your nonprofit organization reach its goal. With a clear and convincing “why,” you’ll be surprised just how quickly the support will add up.
- Keep Messaging Clear and Consistent
One of the worst things that a nonprofit can do is confuse potential donors with mixed messaging. This includes using inconsistent logos, running too many different fundraisers simultaneously, or not clearly explaining your organization and its cause. If you’d like to offer multiple fundraising options at once, consider activities that naturally flow together, like selling Country Meats meat sticks in-person at community and school events, as well as setting up an online fundraiser store where supporters near and far can order their meat sticks directly. With consistent activities and messaging, potential donors will have no doubt that they’re supporting the correct cause with their purchases, and they’ll be much more inclined to continue to give as a result.
- Start with a Soft Launch
Practice makes perfect, so always look for a way to “practice” your fundraiser on a select group of close friends, family, or previous supporters. This allows you to work out the kinks and streamline your process before getting in front of a larger audience, plus potential donors are more inclined to lend their support when they see that your fundraiser already has some momentum. Continue to advertise how much money you’ve already raised and how much more you need to reach your goal in order to help keep your goal in focus and encourage supporters to continue to lend their support.
- Offer Flexible Payment Options
While we used to be able to rely on cash donations for the majority of our fundraising activities, times have changed. Nowadays, people rely more and more on digital currency, so offer flexible payment options by keeping a mobile card reader on-hand or offering peer-to-peer money transferring apps, like Venmo, PayPal, or Zelle, for in-person sales.
- Use Social Media
In today’s digital landscape, social media is one of the most powerful tools for nonprofit fundraising. What once required costly newspaper or radio ads, flyers, and word-of-mouth to get the message out can now be easily accomplished with a few strategically coordinated social media posts. Assign a point person to manage a social media page for your nonprofit on your preferred platform, generating consistent messaging with clear branding to promote your cause and get the word out about any events or activities. Then spread the word even further by asking all of your group members to share the posts on their personal social media pages, and watch as awareness balloons.
- Be Patient and Persistent
Most fundraisers take time, so don’t get defeated if you don’t reach your goal after a single event or sell out of your fundraising product on the first day. Stick to the plan and be patient as you continue to promote your fundraiser and work to achieve your goals.