Annual Fund Drive
Many schools, non-profits, churches and other community organizations host an annual fund drive to raise money for developmental projects and programs. Annual giving is the backbone of any non-profit institution. Without the support of local businesses and community members these groups would no longer be able to provide the numerous services, resources and activities that are important to their community. Therefore, hosting an annual fund drive provides a great way to bring in additional revenue, as well as an opportunity to inform people about the importance their contributions have on the future of their community.
How to run a fund drive?
An annual fund drive can be conducted by reaching out to local businesses and community members and asking for donations once every year. This is typically done through writing donation request letters or hosting an annual fundraising event. Below are some basic guidelines for hosting an annual fund drive:
- Sit down with members of your organization to identify your cause and communicate exactly what the raised funds will be used for. For example, instead of just raising dollars for your organization, state exactly what the money raised will fund, i.e. "Donations will be used to purchase new books, computers and resources for our New Community Library."
- Set Goals! Look at your accomplishments from previous years and try to break records. Monitor your progress on your web site so employees, participants and donors can see how close you are to reaching your goals. This might give people an incentive to kick in a little bit more! If you have not yet met your goal towards the end of the fundraiser, send out a reminder stating exactly how much additional funding you need. Visit our fundraising tips for more ideas.
- Write a donation request letter that kindly requests financial support. For example, send supporters an end of the year fundraising letter. State what the funds will be used for, and explain how each community member can make a difference through their donation. Be sure to include instructions for how people can make donations. Create an email variation of the letter that can be sent through email. This allows for a more viral approach, as this email request letter can include live links to donation sites, and can be forwarded from your contact list to other potential donors.
- Make donating as easy as possible! Create a website using online fundraising software so people can make safe, secure online donations, and include a link to this website in your email letter and on your organization's website or social networking pages. Offer additional ways for donations to be received (i.e. mailing a personal check or calling with a credit card number).
- Be sure to recognize donors for their contributions by sending a thank you letter, listing donor names on your web site, and recognizing them at any fundraising events, etc.
- Remind donors that annual fund gifts are tax deductible in accordance with IRS guidelines.
Annual Fundraising Event
All of these same guidelines can be followed for hosting an annual fundraising event. You'll still want to send a letter or communication to inform people of the fundraising event and ask for their donations and/or participation. Providing a link to a fundraising website is not only a great way to collect donations, but also to share information about your event including: date, time, location, and other important details such as entertainment and food. If you do decide to host an annual fundraising event, be sure to consider other revenue-generating opportunities like a fundraising raffle or silent auction. Make the event fun. Provide entertainment, food, games and contests to draw in a large audience. If your event is a success, people will look forward to coming back year after year, and your event may also look appealing for sponsorship from local businesses. For more guidelines and event fundraising ideas, explore our fundraising resources.