You're in a tight spot.
You need to bring in money fast for your organization in order to pay for expenses. You have to cover these costs, but you're unsure of the most efficient and meaningful way to bring in enough money.
Does this sound familiar? If you are an athletic coach, nonprofit leader, band director, church pastor, or in charge of any other group, you have faced this dilemma before. How are you going to pay for uniforms, competitions, trips, etc.? You need to plan a great fundraiser.
In order to make the most money possible, you need a plan that is organized and ensures people will want to give money to your organization or cause. You need to max out on your fundraiser.
To help you, here is the "Max My Fundraiser" Plan so you can get started the right way.
The "Max My Fundraiser" Plan
In the "Max My Fundraiser" Plan, there are five steps you should follow to ensure success. The five steps are:
*To jump to a specific topic, click on one of the steps above.
Step 1 - Design the Fundraiser
Before you start with anything, you need to design the fundraiser.
Designing the fundraiser can be done by yourself, or with relevant stakeholders (coworkers, parents, players, etc.). The more people on board in the beginning can help the entire fundraiser be more effective in the long run. However, if you are looking to do something quickly, the better option may be to design the fundraiser by yourself and then present it to others for approval.
To start designing, you or your group must answer these questions:
What is the goal and objective of the fundraiser? (i.e. how much money are we trying to raise?)
Who do we want to target as our customers for this fundraiser ?
What are we going to do as the fundraiser?
How will this fundraiser appeal/benefit our target customers?
How much money are we willing to spend for this fundraiser and will it allow us to make enough profit?
The answers to these questions will give you a good framework for molding your fundraiser. Once you have the answers, you are ready to organize everything.
Step 2 - Organize the Fundraiser
After designing the fundraiser, you need to organize people, resources, and time to make sure you meet your objectives.
To organize these different categories, here are some guiding questions:
How many people do we need to work the fundraiser?
Who can we get involved to help work the fundraiser?
If possible, these people should be different from customers you are targeting. These will be the volunteers/stakeholders who could reasonably be motivated to sell, promote, or work your fundraiser. A youth sports team will have players on that team volunteering while a nonprofit might have community members who want to be more involved with the cause.
What role/job do we need these people to help with for the fundraiser?
Do you need people to be out selling? Do you need people to work an information booth? Do you need people to take tickets? Do you need people to make deliveries? Do you need people to make food, wash cars, cut grass?
What equipment/supplies do we need to make this fundraiser happen?
How can we get that equipment/supplies? (Do we need to pay for it, or can we get it donated?)
Do we need any special facilities for the fundraiser? (If yes, what do we need to do to get those facilities?)
By what date do we need to get tasks done in order to set up, promote, and perform the fundraiser?
Create a timeline when each task needs to be completed. If you are as detailed as possible, those you show this timeline to, especially those working the fundraiser, will have a clear vision as to when everything needs to be finished. They will also see that if they do not get certain tasks done by certain dates, then achieving the fundraising goal will be harder.
In our timeline, how much time will each task need to be completed?
How long should my workers expect to devote to the fundraiser?
Setting realistic expectations for workers will help them understand what is needed from them. This will allow you to find better workers that will contribute to your fundraiser.
As you use these guiding questions to organize your fundraiser, you will be ready to move forward.
Step 3 - Promote the Fundraiser
Once you have organized your people, resources, and time, you are ready to promote your fundraiser.
Promotion is a simple number's game - the more people that know about your fundraiser, the higher the chance you have at raising more money. To do this, you need to make sure people not only see, but remember the fundraiser you are putting on. This will sometimes take multiple interactions the customer has with your materials or team for them to contribute.
The biggest question that you need to consider is where will our target customers see our promotional material? When you answer this, your strategy on what materials you get should go hand-in-hand with locations where customers will most likely see your information.
Different types of promotional materials to use can include:
Social media posts
With these promotional materials, you should encourage all who are involved with the fundraiser to share them with friends and family. This will increase your chances of getting a larger group of people to pay money for the fundraiser.
Step 4 - Manage the Fundraiser
With your efforts in getting the word out, you will now need to deliver on your fundraiser by taking action. While you are taking action and implementing plans by going out and doing the fundraiser, you need to make sure you manage everything well. Without proper management, your fundraiser can quickly spiral out of control.
Part of managing the fundraiser includes the following:
Making sure your plans are being properly enacted
Making sure your people, time, and resources are all in the proper place
Making sure your people are trained to deliver exceptional service
Keeping track of orders and donations
Keeping donors informed about the progress of the fundraiser
Address any concerns or issues that arise from customers, volunteers, or others
You can manage these things through a few tools like paper signups, Google Spreadsheets, or other online project management tools. As long as you are organized (like in Step 2), you will be able to control most of the fundraiser's operations. There will be things here and there that will be hiccups, but if you are not ready to manage them, they can be massive disasters.
At the end of the day, as you provide great service, customers will be excited to donate to your cause.
Step 5 - Evaluate the Fundraiser
Once your timeline is complete and products/services have been provided, you must evaluate the fundraiser.
Fundraisers that are truly successful tend to be reoccurring and grow each time. With repeat fundraisers, you do not have to reinvent the wheel each time your organization is ready for a cash injection. The key to making these fundraisers more successful each year is to evaluate the first one you hold.
When you evaluate your fundraiser, you have to look at certain data to see whether the activity was worth it. These data points include the goals you set in Step 1, the pros and cons of hosting, and the time it took from start to finish to make the fundraiser a reality.
From these data points, you can then determine if the fundraiser is doable for the next time you need money. If the fundraiser met expectations, great! You already have a list of customers to resell to when you are ready again. If the fundraiser was not worth it, that's okay too! Through the process, you have learned what does and does not work. When you look for a different fundraiser, you can apply your knowledge to make that one even better.
You must evaluate your fundraiser if you want to gain momentum on your efforts. Otherwise, you may miss opportunities to make more money in the future.
Time to Get Started!
Fundraising for your organization can be overwhelming, but, by following the steps of the "Max My Fundraiser" Plan, you can get and stay organized. As you follow these steps, your fundraising efforts will be more successful.
What are you waiting for? Go out and raise some money!
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