Having the reins of the fundraising wagon passed on to you can be a daunting and overwhelming task. If you are new to the position, or even if you have been involved in a fundraising campaign that needs some new ideas, you’re sure to find yourself wondering where to start.
More than any other piece of advice you will receive from seasoned fundraising professionals and successful fundraising chairpersons, you will hear one thing – plan. The key to your fundraising success is in the planning!
Elements of successful fundraiser planning
Regardless of whether your fundraiser is to benefit a church group, elementary school, high school, dance class, or senior center, there are basic elements of planning that will ensure a well organized fundraising campaign and ultimate fundraising success. Follow these fundraising tips to get yourself well situated from the start.
* Know your organization’s needs. Know exactly how much money is needed and for what purpose. Know when the funds will be needed by.
* Analyze your organization’s manpower and resources. Estimate how many members and family members will volunteer to sell and lend administrative support. Poll volunteers to determine your available skills base and choose a fundraiser that fits in with your available skill set.
* Analyze past fundraising experiences. This will include researching former fundraising records and talking to past organizers and volunteers. Find out what sales and events were successful and which were flops; try to determine why failures failed.
With this information in hand, choose a fundraising method and/or product that promises to be a good seller and a manageable undertaking given the skills and constraints of your group. Keep your expectations and goals realistic.
* Set a clear, obtainable goal. Put a dollar figure to the amount you need to raise. Keep volunteers apprised of your success.
* Organize your help. No one person can single-handedly run a successful fundraiser; it takes a village. Assign responsibilities to volunteers without overtaxing anybody. Make sure job assignments are clear, including time expectations.
With an organized structure in place, delegate. Then delegate some more. Share the load and support each other. Also, plan for contingencies when someone cannot meet their commitment.
* Plan rewards and incentives. A little motivation can go a long way towards encouraging people to stick with the task. Set aside money for a little ‘Thank You’ such as small prizes or a volunteer appreciation party at the end of your campaign.
Planning can get lost in the initial excitement of raising funds for a great cause, but without this essential step, your fundraiser will be disorganized and unfocused. Prepare your fundraising campaign to be the best that it can be and in the long run, your good planning and attention to detail will surely show in the form of increased fundraising profits!
For some help with planning, print out one or more of our fundraising checklists.