Raising money for a nonprofit can certainly be a challenge. There are many facets and nuances when it comes to being successful with fundraising campaigns. How can you get the most out of your fundraising strategies and efforts? As is the case with many things, one of the best ways is to go back to basics. Here are just a few of the more critical tips for nonprofit fundraising to get you started.
We’ve compiled these fundraising tips to help make fundraisers’ lives a little easier. This is 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 corporate sponsors, as well as community members, these groups would not be able to raise money or continue to support important causes.
We hope that the fundraising tips below will help these various groups organize successful fundraising campaigns.
Fundraising Tips for Planning a Successful Fundraiser
Most nonprofits and charities rely on the generosity of their supporters and donors for funding. Therefore, raising funds to allow your organization to accomplish its goals is very important and can make or break an organization. They also allow the organization to connect with donors and the surrounding community. Here are our top eight tips to help your fundraising campaigns succeed:
1. Create a Plan & Establish Fundraising Goals
It’s always good to have a plan, right? When it comes to raising funds for a nonprofit or charity, having a clear vision and strategy is critical. Once your vision is in place, you can start to build a fundraising strategy. Determine how much money your organization needs to accomplish your goal, when it’s needed, and estimate costs for fundraising initiatives. If you’re planning a peer-to-peer or crowdfunding campaign, 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.
We’ve compiled helpful nonprofit fundraising strategies and advice to get you started.
2. Identify Funding Sources
Create a list of potential donors and sponsors 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 support. For example, individual donations range from $20 – $50, businesses typically contribute $100 – $1000 or more. Utilize your networks and Social Media for reaching these sources. Send an email blast to friends and family with a personalized webpage 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.
3. Create a Campaign Timeline and Checklist
The most successful fundraising groups start planning several months in advance, 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
- Identifying food & beverage needs, entertainment, etc.
- Implement software systems for collecting donations, managing money, tracking participant performance, enabling online bidding on auction items, etc.
4. Implement Fundraising Software
One of the most important considerations when planning a fundraising event is how to successfully manage and securely track the money raised for your cause. Our platform for online and virtual fundraising can do it all.
DoJiggy offers a complete suite of software tools to assist in managing nonprofit fundraising events
- 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.
- Our peer-to-peer software is designed for fundraising events like walkathons and pledge drives, allowing individual participants to create a personalized fundraising page and invite friends and family to make a donation through secure, online donations and pledges.
- DoJiggy Golf Pro is an online golf tournament software platform for managing charity golf tournaments including online registration, sponsor promotion and management, foursome pairing, and complete event management and reporting capabilities.
- DoJiggy Donations is your year-round donation and recurring donation management system. Every organization needs a donations webpage linked right from your organization’s home page and main menu.
- DoJiggy Auction is a powerful fundraising auction platform for online auctions. It includes free text to bid and advanced mobile giving technology.
- DoJiggy Raffles provides an industry-leading online raffle platform with tons of innovative features.
5. Recruit Sponsors & Volunteers
Seeking sponsorships is a great nonprofit fundraising strategy. 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!
6. Motivate Your Participants
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 donation 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.
7. Never Stop Promoting Your Fundraisers
- 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 emails to your database.
- Contact local media about your fundraiser including a press release with event details and announcements 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 on 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, and do it in person.
8. Manage Your Money Wisely
- Implement fundraising software like DoJiggy Donations 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.
More Fundraising Tips and Resources
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, and advice and examples to help you come up with creative fundraising event ideas specific to your audience (i.e. fundraisers for schools).