Choose and run a fundraiser like a FOX
Know your audience, set realistic goals, market the fundraiser, share your success, thank everyone and set the stage for your next event!
Know Your Audience
It’s imperative to understand the audience that the fundraiser targets. Consider what has worked in the past as well as what has not worked and use this insight to grow smarter with each fundraising endeavor. Consider part of year, day of the week and time of day that will appeal to your audience. Remember that any choice you make may present a CONFLICT FOR SOME of the audience but your goal is to try to ACCOMMODATE A MAJORITY of the audience. Never overlook the use of food and refreshments. Your choice of food and extracurricular activity should be designed to compliment the main fundraising event. Know who to include and exclude. Family event fundraisers, adult only fundraisers all have secondary consequences of barriers that must be considered. How will this impact family time, will it be a barrier or an enhancement? Design your event to best engage your audience to come out and spend money for the cause.
Set Realistic Goals
Setting goals that are within reason takes honesty and self-examination. Goals that are set too high can can easily be a downer for volunteers thinking “we can never make that much money, why bother?” Goals that are set too low may be achieved and contribute to stoppage of fundraising midway through the process. Establish goals that are ambitious but not intimidating. Communication of goals before during and after the fundraiser is imperative. All the stakeholders that are working on the fundraiser success are your best message amplifiers. For a fundraising committee which wants to see advancement toward their goal, there is nothing more motivating than progress. For those that will benefit from the fundraising efforts, communication of goals turning into real-life products and services is a huge morale boost. Imagine all the cheers from 360 degrees as the goal is accomplished. Setting realistic goals can energize the entire fundraising process.
Market & Sell the Fundraiser
It’s ok to say it out loud: marketing and sales skills are vital to the health of a fundraiser. Telling the story of the cause and appealing emotionally to your target audience is a precursor to asking for fundraising support.
Market Like a Pro:
- Establish trust
- Share the story
- Show a need
- Create empathy
- Go for the close
Apply the same steps and professional approach to fundraising. Establish trust with supporters all year long with current information, data and updates. Share the story of the cause and progress you have made through written word, photos and videos. Social media makes this part easy. Needs assessment must be accurate and clearly stated. Determine the gaps in current conditions to what NEEDS to accomplished as opposed to WANTS. Emotional connections create and re-affirm empathy for the cause that in itself lead to the close, so show how past fundraisers have funded past promised needs. Selling a fundraiser is the final goal. Be firm and ask for the sale, and financial commitment.
Share Your Success
Success begets success. It’s human nature for people to want to associate with winners and to be around winners. Fundraising that meets goals financially is important to celebrate. Even more imperative is sharing how the financial achievements will contribute to the cause. Always remember that numbers and data can be mundane, so seek emotional connection.
Use action words and phrases in sharing.
- Animals will be saved
- Students will be enriched
- The Hungry will be nourished
- Teams will travel
- Families will be clothed
- INSERT YOUR ACTION HERE
Sharing success should be scheduled for regular communications in addition to ad-hoc anecdotes. Creating regular emails, flyers, social media posts etc. is a real job that needs serious commitment. The regularity and ongoing communication is imperative to keep the focus on your cause. Be diligent in providing a blend of information with interesting content as well as update on post-fundraising activities.
Thank everyone means each and every person that has contributed in any shape or size to a fundraising activity. Contribution can be in time, effort or money. ALL are vital to the final outcome so each deserve recognition. Thanking now is an insurance policy for asking for support again later. Whether it is small or large in time and effort or financial fortification each deserves a sincere thank you. Fatigue can easily set in after the exhaustive efforts of fundraising and you want to ensure your team is prepared and ready to support your next event. A show of appreciation goes a long way to get them excited to continue supporting your cause.
Plan the time and approach BEFORE the fundraiser to thank AFTER the fundraiser. Whenever possible, be prepared to inform your team of upcoming events and initiatives that will also benefit from their support. Thanking them for their past efforts and laying the groundwork for the future will establish an efficient and speedy wrap up, a satisfied team, and jumpstart your next initiative. When a person, donor, supporter, sponsor, benefactor, patron, contributor does their part, the group NEEDS to say thank you. Always be sincere and timely with a thank you.
Being creative with a thank you can actually simplify the process.
- Staying organized from the inception of the fundraiser will keep the post event thank you notices manageable
- Video record some highlights during the fundraiser
- Snap a few photos and create a collage
- If possible, create a storyline to show the impact the funds will or have had to support your cause.
Fun Fox Fact
Foxes come in all sizes, shapes and colors, and so do fundraisers. Foxes have a lifespan of one to three years yet some live for 10 plus years, and so do fundraisers. Foxes are known to be clever and have a keen sense of their surroundings and use this in their favor. Sure enough the most accomplished fundraisers know their surroundings too!
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