Fundraising Questions: 7 to ask BEFORE choosing a fundraiser
How much money do you need to raise?
Quantifying your goal is an important first step in choosing the best fundraiser to meet your needs. Organizations with high fundraising targets and small donor bases may look at fundraising options which are smaller, more personal and ideally can generate a high profit margin to meet their needs from limited donors. For example, you can have a Bingo Night where participants pay for bingo cards, you can sell refreshments, and even solicit donate items to be raffled off at event. This is a fun personalized event with high margin earnings. Entities with a similar high target and a large donor base have more flexibility to utilize a fundraiser with a broader mass appeal but potentially a low profit margin and still be able to reach your goal amount. Walk-a-thons can be a good match for larger organizations since they have more exposure in promoting the event, gathering teams to register and soliciting sponsors. You want to get as much bang for your buck so knowing how much you can earn is vital!
Where will the money go?
Determining and communicating where the money raised will go before choosing a fundraiser, helps to motivate your volunteers and donor base. It allows volunteers and donors to know their time and/or money has directly helped a component of your cause which they care passionately about, ensuring an aligned and motivated team.
How many volunteers will you have to work on the fundraiser?
There are so many great fundraisers. However, each has it’s own unique requirement for resources (both physical and personnel) and you must realistically determine how many people will be helping you and how much material or product must be secured. For example, walk-a-thons would need many volunteers for planning stage, recruiting participants, day of the event etc. On the other hand, working with a product fundraising company would not require as many volunteers and frequently offers company support. Answering this question will help you narrow down choosing which fundraiser is right for you!
What type of fundraiser would motivate your donor base?
There are many factors to knowing and understating your donor base. A few questions to ask yourself is:
- What is my donor base geographical location?
- What is the average age of population?
- Is my base tech savvy?
- What are my donors giving trends?
Being informed about your donor base audience wants and needs allows you to better choose which fundraiser would be successful.
What type of fundraiser would you be comfortable doing?
The fundraiser you choose should be something you are excited about and comfortable running. Your job is to sell it to your committee members so they will in turn work hard for your cause. For example, auctions are great fundraisers. However, if you are not comfortable asking for donations, you most likely will not show enthusiasm and this will not motivate your committee members to do their best. There are many good choices out there so pick one that gets you excited!
What is your fundraising budget?
The goal of fundraisers are to raise as much money as possible for your cause. As in the for profit world, your “earnings” or contribution to your cause will be revenue minus expenses. Thus, knowing how much it will cost to run a fundraiser is a vital data point in creating an accurate estimate of how much you will earn. When researching companies as potential partners, look to to see what percentage you need to pay them in addition to any indirect costs you may incur to promote and assemble the event. Don’t worry there is a fundraiser to fit every budget!
How much time do you have to prepare for the fundraiser?
This is a crucial question in choosing a fundraiser. If you have months to prepare you can focus on fundraisers which need ample promoting time, securing sponsors and organizing a large amount of volunteers. This would be necessary for event type fundraising (ie galas, athons, golf tournaments). With preparation time less than 2 months, you would want to consider fundraisers like crowdfunding where you can let donors know the urgency of your cause and how important it is to give now!
Proper Planning is Key
As with many endeavors, proper preparation and attention to the basics will help position your fundraiser for success. Asking the 7 questions above is a good place to start and to help identify the best fit for your organization!
Fox Fun Fact:
There are 37 species of foxes. Knowing which foxes you may encounter in the woods, will help you get of woods alive. Same strategy goes when choosing the right fundraiser, you need to which one will benefit your organization best so you will be successful.
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