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Having a fundraiser that is less than successful can really bring you and your group down. You’ve all put a lot of time and effort into your project to see it succeed. When your fundraiser doesn’t yield enough income, it can be very tempting to wallow in self-pity and just give up, but we all know that nothing gets accomplished that way. Instead, you need to identify the problem and find a solution.

No time to be discouraged

There are a host of reasons why fundraisers don’t yield the income you expected. Your task now is to find these reasons and take steps to recoup your losses. After all, you have a mission and a goal that still need to be accomplished!

Maybe you’ve earned the right to a momentary self-pity party. Allow yourself that moment, but keep it short and sweet – you still have work to do.

Tips for recovering from an unprofitable fundraiser

Placing blame is pointless and entirely counterproductive. Finding out what went wrong and taking positive steps to remedy your situation will give you the chance to save your fundraising program so that you can find the profit you need now and in the future.

First, try to pin point exactly why your fundraiser didn’t generate enough income. Was the problem with the product? Organizational? Not enough help? Is your fundraiser dated and stale? Was your timing off? Recession?

Work with your group of volunteers to fix your problem. Make this a group effort, get member input, and work cooperatively.

Optimize your volunteer base. Maybe you’ve assigned jobs to volunteers based on availability only, which will work to a point. But you would lose out if you have a volunteer with excellent communication skills making poster boards, when they could be helping writing letters or recruiting other volunteers.

Look for other ways to either cut costs or organize mini fundraisers. Hold on-hand sales at area events if you have been left with costly inventory, downsize your project so that you can do with less, ask area donors for in-kind donations of supplies rather than cash.

Make changes to your funding schedule so it coordinates better with the availability of your volunteers, funding needs and also other causes’ fundraisers.

Realize your own limits and make sure you and your group are working within them – don’t burn yourselves out.

If you are convinced your fundraiser is good, save the ideas and materials and plan to run it again during a different season for example, or run it as an add-on to another fundraiser, then reassess it.

If the fundraiser just isn’t worth the effort, scrap it and move on to something more promising!

Whether you are a leader or a group member, stay positive and keep your eye on your goal. Remind yourself and your group that you are doing a great thing trying to raise money for this good cause. Be confident, and reflect that to your peers and supporters. And as the old saying goes…try, try again!

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