Welcome to your Fundraising Action Center, a step-by-step guide to fundraising effectively and efficiently. We know fundraising can be tough, so we’ve boiled the process down to a few major steps…
Decide if you’d like to plan a campaign or fundraise passively.
“Campaign” is the operative word — they’re deliberate, focused, finite and often a lot work, but they raise a lot of money.
If you’d like to plan a campaign, decide if you’d like to fundraise online or offline.
There are a lot of online fundraising platforms, but we recommend GoFundMe.
The key to any fundrasier — but especially to an online fundraiser — is to promote, promote, promote your fundraiser. We’ll be adding a post about how best to promote an online fundraiser shortly, but, for now, consider the following must-do steps:
- Set up your GoFundMe page professionally and thoroughly and make it crystal clear what you’re fundraising for. Be very specific. What exactly will the funds help you accomplish? Don’t say, “I’m fundraising for my sports team.” Say, “I’m fundraising to raise $500 so that the varsity cheerleading team at John Doe college can get new uniforms for the state championships on May 2nd.” See what we did there? We made it clear that you have a specific plan about what you’ll do with the funds you raise and that your donors’ funds will result in something tangible and meaningful.
- Make your appeal personal. Don’t just say, “I hope you support us.” Say, “I have been a cheerleader for three years and I have grown immensely as a result of my work with the team. The state championship is something we have worked hard to be invited to and it would mean the world to each and every one of us if you helped us make sure that we looked as presentable and professional as possible. Thank you ahead of time for your contribution.”
- Send an email out to all of your email contacts and ask them to donate whatever they can. Include suggested donation amounts, but remind everyone that every little bit counts, even the smallest donations.
- A week later (put it on your calendar), follow up with another email to those who haven’t donated. If someone expressed an interest the first time you emailed but didn’t actually donate, reach out to him or her with a personal appeal now that a week has passed.
- When it comes to Facebook, your status updates are your greatest tool. At least once a day, send out a status update that includes what you’re fundraising for, your progress, and your GoFundMe link. Be sure to publicly thank your donors in your status updates if you have their permission. That will help establish social proof that your cause is worth donating to.
You have two very different options:
Planning a sales fundraiser (e.g. selling candles, chocolate bars, popcorn, etc.):
- You’re going to need products. We recommend eFundraising.com for this. They’re fully stocked with products, have a good brand and offer you competitive margins (i.e. you’ll make the most selling their goods). You can visit their website or call them: 1-866-781-4988
- Motivate your team. A fundraising thermometer is perfect for this. Here is an article we wrote that lists a few places you can get them.
- Make it a competition. Who from your group can sell the most popcorn?
Planning a fundraising event:
We have hundreds of descriptions on our site, but here are a few we really like: “10 Charity Fundraising Events to Raise Large Amounts of Money.” You can also see our full list of articles about fundraising events here.
- Recruit volunteers. It’s best to recruit from within your organization. If you need more volunteers, you can try VolunteerMatch or Craigslist.
- Set a date early and book event space. You’ll want to book space as soon as possible, so you have ample time to spread the word.
- Set up committees with clear leaders who will take charge of the different aspects of the event. Hire an event planner if you have the resources to do so.
- Engage your local newspaper and blogs to help you promote your event. Again, promotion is the key to success with just about any fundraiser.
- As the event date nears, keep focused on two things: (A) How are you going to raise as much money as possible? (B) How are you going to collect as many email addresses as possible (you’ll be able to get more donations out of those email addresses in the future)?
- When the event has concluded, follow-up with those who attended, those who donated, and those who expressed an interest in donating but couldn’t at the time.
Instead of a campaign, are you interested in passive or ongoing fundraising?
If you’re not interested in a fundraising campaign and are instead looking to raise money on a regular basis or more passively, you have some options:
- Car Donation Directory – The companies listed in our directory can help you if you’d like to raise money by tracking down used or broken-down cars (and other vehicles) in your area for big payoffs. You’ll have to convince the owners of the vehicles to part with their junk, but often it’s just that: junk. Even better, the owners can often take a tax write-off. The organizations listed in our Car Donation Directory will have all the info you’ll need about donations and tax write-offs.
- Grant Writer Directory – These professionals can help you find appropriate grants and write grant applications the correct way, greatly increasing your chances of being awarded funding.
We’ll add more passive or ongoing fundraising ideas as time goes on, so check back frequently. You can subscribe to our blog here to get updates as soon as we publish new information.
You can also hire a fundraising professional to do most of the “heavy lifting” for you.
If you’d like to hire a part-time professional, please see these resources:
If you’d like to hire a full-time professional, please see our fundraising job board. You can post your job description there.
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