01 Mar Finding the Best Fundraiser
Finding the Best Fundraiser
Fundraising is a very rewarding experience. However, running a fundraiser can feel overwhelming. There are many types of fundraisers and then lots of vendor choices. What is best for one organization may not be for another.
To start on the right track, consider these things in choosing the BEST fundraiser for your organization.
BE AWARE: Understand Your Donor Base
The donor base varies in every organization. It is important to understand who they are in order to choose the BEST fundraiser for your organization. Factors to consider in evaluating your donor base are:
- Size of base
- Generational giving behavior patterns
- Passion for your cause
Size of your donor base lets you know if you can reach your financial goal with small contributions or with large contributions per donor. For example, organizations having a large and broad social-media connected base could consider a Crowdfunding fundraiser. Crowdfunding fundraising allows a large number of people to make a small contribution and the organization can still reach its goal. Knowing the size is one key factor in choosing your fundraiser
The age of your population can also give an organization insight on to how best to communicate and engage with them. There are many ways to reach your base such as social media, emails, phone calls and letter. With limited funds, time and human resources, understanding generational giving behavior allows you to tailor your communication effectively. Generations are divided into 5 groups: Greatest, Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z. Each one is motivated by varying preferences in giving. Learn more about each group from Clarification.com.
Finally, groups who have donors that are passionate and highly committed to your cause can consider sending a survey to their base. This will make them feel part of the decision making processes. Stakeholders that are involved in the decision making have an inherent obligation to support it. Free tools such as Survey Monkey make this easy for any organization to develop a survey.
EVALUATE: Past Fundraising Outcomes
Reviewing your organization’s past fundraising outcomes is important in determining what will work for the current year. Take time to analyze:
- Type of fundraiser used in the previous years
- Participation in fundraiser by the donor base
- Volunteer support
Analyzing these factors will give you a basis for determining whether to keep the same type of fundraiser or look for a new one. Sometimes the type of fundraiser may still work but it may just be time to look for another vendor. The world and volunteers are constantly changing and it is important fundraising groups keep evolving in their fundraising efforts.
Donor participation in the fundraiser is another factor to review. If donors have decreased from previous years, you will need a fundraiser with broader communications to expand your donors. Types of fundraisers that fall in this category would be done primarily online. This would allow you to reach beyond your audience to friends and family of existing base.
The number of volunteers is a huge factor too since you cannot do this alone. Match the volunteer help with the right skills. When a volunteer does raise their hand to help first thank them!
Fox Tip: Being realistic about what your volunteers can and are able to do will help you choose a fundraiser that best fits your organization.
SUPPORT: Assess & Align Needs with a Fundraising Vendor
Once you determine what type of fundraiser to do, it is time to evaluate the many vendors out there to help you meet the fundraising goal.
Pre-questions to discuss within your organization :
- What is your budget?
- What support do you want from the vendor full service, online only or phone availability?
- Would you prefer to work with a local, regional or national vendor?
- Is the product/software user friendly?
- Do you have volunteers to run the fundraiser and all the details?
- Do you want to turn volunteers jobs over to the vendor?
Once you have answers the above questions, then it is time to
- “Talk” to the vendor directly
- Define expectations with them
- Create a game plan and timeline
In search for the best fundraising vendor, consider the quality of answers you are receiving through these communication channels. The quality of service shown in the pre-sale process should be precursor to the quality of service expected during and after the fundraiser. Make a decision based upon your interactions.
TIME: Evaluate Volunteers Time Commitment and Abilities
Volunteers are essential to a successful fundraiser. Evaluating the volunteers time commitment and abilities are important factors in determining the best fundraiser. Special events such as walk a thons, galas and holiday shops need a large number of volunteers to participate on day of event. Fundraisers such as crowdfunding, product and food sales can be done with a smaller group of volunteers. Knowing your volunteers availability will help in narrowing down fundraising type.
Another factor to consider is the ability of what your volunteers can do. Are they computer savvy or prefer an “old school” approach? Although you may want a particular fundraiser if you are unable to round up volunteers to execute the fundraiser properly, there is no reason to consider it.
Do the homework and make a choice– BE CONFIDENT in your choice!
There are many exceptional vendors to work with. Your choice of fundraising vendor should be made to match your group’s specific needs and this will be the BEST fundraiser!
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