Map Out the Fundraising Year
Create a game plan for the entire year in advance. This may sound scary at first but think of it a business plan. Make estimates and build in a few “what ifs”. The fundraising map can keep the fundraising efforts on route and headed to the goal.
Don’t be Afraid
Don’t be afraid to change the plan yet don’t be afraid to keep the same either. Assess each opportunity on its own merits but also as part of the overall plan. Change in fundraisers is good for variety and re-energizing a sleepy audience. Selling the same products year after year can become mundane. Products that are consumable (like food, or gift wraps) or time sensitive (like periodicals or coupon programs) do have a longer lifecycle.
BUT, if something is working spectacularly do not change it! Don’t feel obligated to change just for change sake. Consider adding on new features, changing themes or maybe time of year to freshen the spirit.
Ask for what is Needed
Prioritize and communicate NEEDS and WANTS. Differentiate what is needed to provide the basic services to the charity. Communicate the needs and don’t be afraid to ask explicitly for donations or volunteerism. Before the ask, be sure that the story is told. Gain buy-in to the activity personally or emotionally, then do the asking. Remember to thank too.
So many times in surveys the feedback from supporters is
“I didn’t know they needed that… I would have given”.
Use Social Media
Social media is not optional these days. Create a Facebook page, Twitter account, Instagram account. It’s not necessary to have every social media account just poll your supporters and ask them where they ‘hang-out’ digitally and GO THERE.
It’s ok to spend a little money here advertising on social threads to raise awareness. Because of the nature of social media and people liking and sharing, social companies have a huge amount of data. Advertising or boosting posts on social media can be sharp and focused for very low investment. Be sure to engage the audience but not barrage.
Include all Stakeholders
Do a 360 degree evaluation before embarking on a fundraiser strategy. Do a formal survey using a free tool like Survey Monkey, or an informal survey. Either way be sure to evaluate the the answers from: supporters small and large, users of the charity funds, volunteers, the board, executive board, general membership and any employees that touch the fundraising scheme. It may be quite constructive to bettering the fundraising efforts.
Fundraising Fox Tip: As a byproduct of asking opinions of all stakeholders each will feel respected for consideration.
Ask for Help
Asking for help is a sign of leadership. Asking for help is a sign of inclusion. Asking for help is a sign of teamwork. It’s totally respectable to ask for help with fundraising. Too many times individuals take on the task then feel obligated to run the entire program in a solo fashion. This can be stressful and lead to a sub-optimal performance and feelings of regret. Include a friend or make a few new friends by asking for help. Teams can share the work and collaborate. Just like the Foxes in a pack can accomplish more as a group, fundraising teams can do more with a team. A clear ask for help yields the best return.
- Brief overview of the activity
- List of tasks
- Time commitment
- Timeframe for completion
Fundraising Fox Tip: Match the volunteer to the task they want to do. Don’t force a task on a person that does not fit.
It’s Okay to Spend to Make Money
A fundraising budget has 2 sides, income and expenses. Don’t assume that there will be NO expenses involved in fundraising. Dust off the cobwebs from your economics files and remember the Diminishing Rate of Return. There is an inverse relationship between the returns (meaning- income from a fundraiser) and the cost of production (meaning- running the fundraiser)
A good fundraising team can find the balance between expenses and obtaining the highest yield. It takes some time to study the past behaviors of not only past fundraisers but any other events that included a similar population.
It takes a few trials to find that sweet spot fundraising income vs spending on marketing, promotion, prizes, advertising, printing.
Fundraising Fox Tip: Don’t be afraid to spend some money to make some money. Just try not to overspend.
Fun Fox Fact
Foxes have an innate ability to find dinner and their way back home without a map or GPS. Fundraising Fox suggests you do not embark on the fundraising without map. Review these landmarks to guide the fundraiser to the destination.
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