The holiday season represents a special opportunity to maximize fundraising events. By thinking creatively and putting a new spin on old methods, you will attract more volunteers, thereby gathering more donations. The idea is to raise awareness, gather volunteers, communicate regularly and specialize in one fundraising activity that your group does well.
Raise awareness and enthusiasm for your fundraising campaign by holding a kickoff a few weeks before your goal date. (If you want to raise funds by Christmas, hold your kickoff by December 1.) Begin advertising with email lists, newsletters and bulletins. Schedule some time to let people know about your kickoff at a high turnout event, like a weekend football game to get the largest audience. This will ensure a high turnout at your kickoff event and provide you with more volunteers.
Once you raise awareness, you will want to raise enthusiasm by motivating your volunteers. The best way to do this is at the kickoff as well, when you announce the prizes for the biggest fundraisers. You may be able to get good prizes by getting a local retailer to sponsor the event. A good prize will help spread the word to gain even more volunteers.
Because the market is overcrowded with fundraisers, it is even more important that people know why you need the funds and what the funds you raise will be used for. A statement should be included in every flyer, email or other communication about your event. Be sure potential givers know what you need, how much it will cost and why it is important.
Remember that often decisions involving money are based on emotion and then justified by logic. People want to give already, but need to justify the emotion with a good reason. By explaining the necessity of your fundraiser and how it benefits the community, you give people the reasons they need to back up their desire to give.
Don’t Forget Email Reminders
Send out a weekly progress newsletter explaining how the event plans are progressing. One update per week should be sufficient to help everyone remember the event. Include a link to your donation page in your emails and newsletters. Most people will participate in some form if you offer them good reasons and an opportunity to give as much as they can afford.
Consider Limiting the Number of Fundraising Products
Because the market for fundraising during the holidays is so crowded, it’s important to keep things simple. Choose what has worked best for your group before and focus all your efforts there. Surveys show that well-meaning people who are offered too many choices will pick the lowest priced option just to get it done. By offering just a few choices of products that people enjoy, your fundraiser is likely to enjoy higher sales volume. It may also help to find out what other fundraising groups in your community have planned in order to avoid selling the same products etc.
As with any fundraising campaign, keep in mind that your volunteers represent your group. Especially during the holidays it is important to pay attention to the image you’d like your group to portray and to train your volunteers accordingly. Yes, raising funds is important to fill up your group’s bank account, but spreading some holiday spirit throughout your community is priceless!