Probably some of the most important questions that begin your fundraising initiative are – How are we going to fundraise? What type of fundraising event or campaign should we host? How will we go about the marketing and planning of our campaign? The most successful fundraising campaigns tie into the heart and mission of an organization. This is sometimes called mission-driven fundraising since the organization’s mission is at the heart of its fundraising efforts.
You can see this easily in the reverse as well when organizations select a nonprofit fundraising event that doesn’t align well with their mission. An example of this might be an elementary school that hosts a fundraising raffle for a rifle. They chose the event because someone donated a nice prize, but asking kids to raffle off a gun would surely draw negative attention to your school or PTO’s fundraising efforts.
What Exactly is Mission Driven Fundraising?
Fundraising that mirrors your mission aligns the acquisition of your funding and resources with your organization’s most deeply held beliefs and values. Not only can you raise money for your organization and raise awareness for your cause, but when fundraising mirrors your mission, your supporters are more likely to become engaged and supportive of your event. Why? Simply because as stakeholders and supporters, they are dedicated to your mission and values.
Here is one way to keep the idea of mission-driven fundraising in mind. The very act of fundraising should in some way be furthering your organization’s mission, not just raising funds (though this doesn’t mean that you discount the importance of raising as much money as possible).
On the contrary, you can discourage your donors and supporters by hosting fundraising events that may seem at odds or in opposition to your cause. You certainly don’t want to do this!
Examples of Mission Driven Fundraising Events
Here are some creative, mission-driven fundraising ideas that we have seen from our clients at DoJiggy:
- Environmental organizations hosting hike-a-thons in beautiful wilderness areas
- Read-a-thon fundraisers where students raise money for their school or library
- Yoga organizations hosting All Day Yoga events – marathon yoga or sun salutation sessions with various local teachers
- A high school hosting a community serve-a-thon, teaching students to help in their community and supporting their school’s mission of service
- Bike-a-thon events where riders bike to local farms in support of community farming and education
- CSAs or Sustainable Agriculture organizations hosting a Farm to Table dinner
- A film festival hosting a 24 hour movie viewing
- Baseball and softball leagues hosting hit-a-thons
- Animal shelters and rescue organizations hosting Dog Walks
These mission-driven fundraising events can be very successful for your non-profit, especially if you include a peer-to-peer or crowdfunding component. Your participants will be engaged and excited about the event and can be encouraged to invite friends and family to donate to your cause.
Mission-Driven Auctions or Fund-A-Needs
Another way to incorporate your mission into your fundraising efforts is via a charity auction where the items that you auction off are packages that relate to your organization’s cause. For example, school booster clubs can auction off tickets to sporting events with VIP parking spots. The school choir or band could auction off tickets to a performance, with a gift certificate for a dinner at a local restaurant before the event. These mission driven auction items generally cost very little or nothing, but can bring in bids, since your supporters feel strongly about your cause.
Nonprofits can create packages that benefit their constituents and auction them to their supporters. For example, mentoring organizations could offer packages to pair a young child with a mentor for a year. Food pantries offer packages to feed a family of 4 for a week, month, or year. Animal shelters offer packages that allow an animal to be adopted into a forever home. The bids start at the cost that this service generally equates to, and go up from there. Many supporters are willing to bid and support your mission when the Fund-a-Need is presented in an inspired fashion.
How Can Your Organization Implement Fundraising that Mirrors your Mission?
Start with the basics to find a fundraising strategy that works for your nonprofit:
- You already know what your organization does and why you need to raise money, right? Who will benefit from your fundraising efforts? These are important questions that you should already have a good handle on, but you may not be keeping them in mind when it comes to fundraising.
- Think about your target audience of donors. Your donor base should be a reflection of your organization’s needs and values. They are the heart of your organization and fundraising efforts. How much can your donors give? Are you looking for major gifts or smaller donations from more donors?
- How will you go about fundraising? What types of communication and outreach efforts will you use? Do you and your team feel good about what you are doing?
- With these ideas in mind, be creative and have fun. See our creative fundraising ideas.