"Fundraising Tips" was created to help make our customers' lives a little easier. We've compiled important information to consider when planning a fundraising event or initiative. Our customers include nonprofits, schools, churches and community organizations where fundraising is an important part of survival. Without contributions of local businesses and community members, these groups would not be able to raise money for their important causes. We hope that the fun fundraising tips below will help these various groups organize a successful fundraising campaign.
Guidelines to Assist in Planning a Successful Fundraiser
Creating a Plan & Establishing Goals
Determine how much money your organization needs to accomplish your goal, when it's needed, and estimate costs for fundraising initiatives. Allow participants to set personal and team goals to instill motivation. Run your fundraiser like a small business. Create a written project plan that spells out goals and outlines roles and responsibilities. Assign motivated individuals into managing roles and equip them with the tools to do a great job.
Identify Fundraising Sources
Create a list of potential donors and approach them for support. This list can include local businesses, colleagues and co-workers, friends and family. Suggest a minimum amount depending on the group you reach out to. For example, individual donations range from $10 - $50, Businesses typically contribute $100 - $1000. Utilize your networks for reaching these sources! Send an email blast to friends and family with a personalized web page where donations can be made online! Post a link to your fundraiser on your Facebook page. Create flyers to hand out to your neighbors or distribute at work, etc.
Create a Timeline and Checklist
Start planning months in advance (if possible) as there are many items on your checklist including:
- Recruiting participants and volunteers
- Soliciting sponsorships and in-kind donations
- Producing flyers, press releases and promotional materials
- Determining event logistics such as date & location
- Identify food & beverage needs, entertainment, etc.
- Implement systems for collecting donations, managing money, tracking participant performance, enabling online bidding on auction items, etc.
- DoJiggy provides various online software tools to help with managing your event.
Recruiting Sponsors & Volunteers
Approach potential sponsors as partners, and remember not to ask for anything without providing value in return. Give them an informational sheet explaining your goals and outlining the benefits they'll receive as a sponsor. Remember there are different kinds of sponsorships including: Title sponsors, financial contributors and in-kind donations.
To find potential volunteers, ask for names of those who volunteered in past fundraisers. Let volunteers choose their interests and assign them accordingly. Ask fundraising participants to recruit friends and family. Be sure to thank all volunteers and sponsors!
Make sure that participants know a specific reason why the money is being raised. Motivate your team with enthusiasm and incentives. For large fundraisers, provide prizes for top-performing participants or teams who raise the most. Make your fundraising event fun! Remember that participants and volunteers are giving up their free time to help. Provide meals and an exciting environment that people enjoy being a part of.
Your fundraiser should enable everyone to comfortably participate. For instance, when the Austin Waldorf School raises money for their knit-a-thon, even those who don't know how to knit have a place in the fundraising effort as the school provides opportunities for them to learn. People can also participate without knitting at all by creating a pledge page and getting sponsors while the event provides a "ghost-knitter" to knit squares for them. People can also help by volunteering at the Casting Off Party or simply making an online donation to support a registered knitter.
Promoting Your Fundraiser
- Promote the event on your organization's website. Put an announcement on the home page with a link to more information about the fundraiser and instructions for 'how to donate'. Post an announcement in your calendar of events and send out email to your database.
- Contact local media about your fundraiser including a press release with event details and announcement for local calendars.
- Encourage team members to spread the word to family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, and online through their social networks.
- Create promotional flyers and posters to distribute in bulletin boards at local grocery stores, at offices or churches, or hand out to neighbors.
- Be sure to include a link to your fundraising website for people to get more information or make a donation!
- Utilize community gatherings! Make announcements, set up a display table, recruit participants, etc.
- Implement on online system for collecting safe, secure donations. If you must make sales in person, use cash collection envelopes and keep an accurate record of who collects the money as well as the amount collected.
- Set a deadline for all donations to be collected and money to be turned in.
- Assign an experienced volunteer to be your treasurer. Be sure to have more than one person present when any money is counted.
- Deposit money in a timely manner and keep money under lock and key.
- Control expenses by reviewing records to see which expenses can be eliminated or reduced.
Managing Donations & Pledges
One of the most important considerations when planning a fundraising event is how to successfully manage and track the money raised for your cause. DoJiggy offers a complete suite of online software tools to assist you in managing your fundraising event.
- DoJiggy Events is an event management software system for nonprofit fundraising events such as dinners, galas, conferences and meetings, poker tournaments and other types of fundraising events. With DoJiggy Events, you can easily manage the entire life cycle of a fundraising event including event promotion and marketing, sponsor and sponsorship management, online event registration, product sales, donations, detailed financial reporting, and day-of-event operations.
- DoJiggy Pledge online fundraising software is designed for fundraising events like walkathons and fundraising raffles allowing individual participants to create a personalized pledge page and invite friends and family to make a donation through secure, online pledges.
- DoJiggy Auction, charity auction software was created for online and live auctions where organizers can list an unlimited number of auction items, and bidders create a user profile to privately and securely bid online.
- DoJiggy also offers web-based golf tournament software solutions for managing charity golf tournaments including online registration, sponsor promotion and management, and complete event management and reporting capabilities.
Visit our Fundraising Resource Center for more fundraising resources including detailed information and guidelines for planning a golf tournament, or how to organize a walkathon including: sample forms, templates, timelines and checklists, step-by-step instructions for hosting a fundraising auction, and advice and examples to help you come up with creative fundraising ideas specific to your audience (i.e. school fundraising ideas).