7 Steps to Your Fundraising Success : Fundraising has become an important element for schools, scouts, sports teams and cheerleading, youth sports leagues, and other community groups in small towns and large urban areas. Fundraising needs are more important than ever for needs ranging from play equipment, uniforms and travel, to key funding to support and maintain a wide range of programs and curricula.
Fundraising used to be a means to offer or support additional programs or activities, but in today’s world fundraising is increasingly dependent on survival and primary support for a growing number of groups, activities, events and programs.
The importance of fundraising in today’s market has created the need for stronger and more successful fundraising programs than can generate impact and results. Fundraising is no longer just a fun activity, but rather an entrepreneurial enterprise – a business.
Parents, students and community members are being bombarded and approached with fundraising more than ever. “An important element is making sure your fundraising efforts don’t just disappear. You have to make sure your fundraising campaign is executed properly to position yourself to achieve the best results.
The good news is that there are seven important steps you can take to help ensure your fundraising success.
1. Create a Good Fundraising Team
This is one of the first and often overlooked aspects of a successful fundraising program. Your team is the heart and soul of your fundraiser. While it’s often difficult to get volunteers and quality people to be part of your fundraising team, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is accepting anyone into your team.
Look for people who are driven, motivated and share your fundraising vision. Those who can achieve the given goals. Confident, beginner who can take direction, but can function and operate on his own.
It is better to have a smaller team with like-minded and motivated members than to have a larger team with a few weak relationships.
Take the time to find the right people for your team. Talk to them, learn about their interests, discover their strengths and weaknesses, then place the best qualified people in their most appropriate positions.
Do your homework and put in the effort and you will find that it is time well spent as you are creating the strongest foundation for your fundraising abilities.
2. Choosing the Right Fundraiser
As important as putting together the best fundraising team, is choosing the right fundraiser and the right one itself. Factors such as the length of your campaign, the season or duration of your campaign, the size of your committee or team, the amount you are expected to raise, and your target market and demographics are just some of the key elements to consider to help you choose the right fundraising program.
Let your fundraiser stand out. The market is filled with many of the same typical fundraisers like candy, candles, wrapping paper, cookie dough, discount cards and so on. While some of these may have the potential to offer decent results, you may find your efforts are greatly increased and better received by your target audience by offering a different type of fundraising.
Custom fundraising products, live events and family entertainment fundraisers, and other unique fundraising ideas can help you offer an element of “something different or special” instead of letting your campaign stand out and be better received and receive favors than the general standard.
Explore your options and ideas. What programs really excite your team and can create excitement in your market? Take the time and effort to examine these factors carefully to pick a winning fundraiser.
3. Plan Your Fundraising Success
Often the lack of proper planning is the reason behind the lack of expected results. Chart your fundraiser from step one to completion. By creating a plan to execute your fundraiser, you and your entire team will be able to see the big picture.
Plan all aspects of your fundraiser including staffing, dates, times, promotions, product distribution, ticket sales, accounting, meetings and other pertinent details than might be included in your overall plan.
4. Set Your Goals
Along with proper fundraising planning is the creation and execution of your goals. Creating a set of written goals allows you to see your starting point, where you are at each step, and where your end goal is each time.
Having these written goals also helps your team stay invested and aware of their expectations, and is a fantastic way to measure and track their results and progress. Your team will enjoy a great feeling of pride and accomplishment as every goal is achieved during your campaign.
There is no better feeling than meeting your desired goals and even going beyond them to achieve greater success. It also increases team morale and the overall motivation of all your team or committee members.
5. Manage Your Fundraising Team
Once your team is ready, your plans and goals have been defined, it is very important to properly manage your fundraising team. Explain to your leaders and team members their roles and duties. Make sure they have the tools and materials to succeed. Identify possible strengths and weaknesses.
Tend to be weak and play to your strengths. Who is your team’s “superstar”? Who needs special attention and reinforcement and perhaps personal motivation? What combinations of team members work well together and produce the best results?
Managing your team while helping and supporting your team leader will put you on the fast track to the expectations you desire.
6. Promote And Spread The News
Once all of your organization’s teams, goals and efforts are in place, the priority is to continue promoting your fundraising campaign. Your main goal is to make sure as much of your target audience as possible is aware of your fundraising program.
Spread the word in any way you can, including as many methods and resources as possible. While you must have a combination of promotional methods and techniques, the most profitable is word of mouth. Tell everyone you meet about your fundraiser and an important or generous cause for your efforts.
Promote your fundraising goals and remind your target or potential customers that they are helping your cause and cause. People want to feel that they can help make a difference.
You’ll soon find the number of promotions directly affects your final result, so promote, promote and promote more.
7. Motivate Your Fundraising Team
The importance of maintaining proper focus and motivation is also critical to your fundraising success. Different people get bored or lose motivation at different rates. Stay on top of your team members and offer support and motivation to each member as needed. Acknowledge their successes and accomplishments, remind them of your goals, and emphasize their importance to your team’s overall success.
Avoid “fundraising burnout” or burnout. Offer incentives and rewards to your team members for achievements.
Maintain the passion, attitude and enthusiasm of your team members. True positivity is contagious. Being aware of these factors will help you keep everyone focused and on the right track to achieving the results you want.