Planning for a successful fundraiser
Planning for a successful fundraiser
Hosting a successful fundraiser can be a challenge if it’s not something you do all the time. It requires patience, persistence, optimism, and a solid plan to see you through. Coming up with a plan doesn’t have to be a burden when you invite people who share your vision to get involved as well.
When outlining your fundraising plan, you and your team should be focused on the one goal – to raise the money you need. Our team of fundraising specialists put their heads together and came up with this list of 12 things to include in your fundraising plan.
1. The purpose of the fundraising event
Take a moment to decide what you’re fundraising for and how you’ll do it. It is common to have several goals. Some of the schools we have worked with have raised funds for everything from subsidising bus fares during COVID, to building bike shelters and community gardens. It’s a good idea to set a very specific timeframe for your chosen fundraising event that’s not too long. We’ve found four weeks to be ideal. Once you know what you’d like to do and when you’re doing it, the rest of the details are easier to formulate.
2. Setting a goal
Since it is a fundraising event, it is good if you set a certain net amount you want to raise. The net amount is the money left after the deduction of all the necessary expenses. Whether you are doing a DIY fundraiser or plugging into the programs available through professional fundraising organisations, there will always be costs that need to come off the total amount raised. Everything in your event should be dedicated to raising money so that by its end, you have the money you want for your cause.
3. The event budget
This is a vital factor in planning your fundraiser. You should also think about setting aside a budget for unforeseen costs during the event. We know all too well how much it can cost if you fundraise online and need to pay fees for platforms and credit card charges. There may be costs for marketing to promote your event (banners and posters). If you are doing a DIY event for colour powder or slime, you should consider the cost of that and how much each child will get. Incentivising students to raise money is a good idea, and depending on what those incentives are, they more than likely have a cost. Keep your net fundraising goal in mind as you formulate your budget.
4. The target
You must also decide who is invited to participate in your upcoming event. Is it an event for students, parents, or your local community?
5. Get businesses involved
A lot of local community businesses appreciate an opportunity to be able to support events and get their name out there. Draw up a list of potential businesses linked to your organisation, and ask them personally by email or phone to see if they’d like to get involved. It could be a financial donation, or simply helping to provide manpower on the day.
6. Finding your volunteers
Once you’ve identified your target, this is a opportunity to involve community organisations such as the police, SES, and university teaching program students to see if they might want to get involved on the day as well. It’s a great opportunity for them to get involved, and provides another source for potential volunteers.
7. Guide students in best-practice sponsorship requests
There’s a right way and a wrong way to go about asking for money. We always recommend that you arm your students with the best way to go about fundraising. Get them to come up with a list of people that they could ask, like family, family friends, groups they may be a part of and more. Let them know that they don’t need to door knock, and asking others involved in the fundraiser (such as teachers and other students) is not allowed. Help them to know what to say, like ‘Hi. This is Billy here. Our school is raising funds to ‘build a community garden so we can all grow food and learn more about plants and vegetables’, so we’re doing a ‘colour powder fun run’ on ‘the 20th of November’. Can I send you some details on how you can sponsor me for this if you’re able to?’ This should also include letting them know to thank their sponsors as well with a personal note.
8. The event set-up
Figure out early how you plan to setup your event. And example would be if it was a colour powder fun run, this would include the venue, obstacle courses, linking older students up with younger students, the food, the entertainment, and the sequence of events that will transpire during the event.
9. The marketing and communication strategy
For people to get involved, they need to know about it. These days we are bombarded by so much messaging, that simply saying once that you have an event planned is not enough for people to remember it and act on it. You don’t need clever marketing – just consistency and a simple message. This is your opportunity to let people know what you’re raising funds for, how you’ll do it, and what they can do to help make it a success. It’s a good idea to have a plan for spreading the word through social media, emails, newsletters, your website, a fundraising network and word of mouth. It’s also a good idea to let everyone know how your school or group is doing, and how close to your goal is.
10. The sales strategy
How are you going to accept donations – cash or online? You should have a process for accepting donations. Online fundraising has been proven to have a massive impact on the amount raised because it’s so easy for friends and family that don’t live close by to get involved. Assign someone who will be able to setup the online platform, ensuring it’s security and cyber safety, and distribute that information to everyone so they know how to donate..
11. The practice run
Make sure that everyone is there when your team gives out the assignments ahead of time. Once each person knows what to do, you should give the flow of the event. If your event is large, you should have a practice run of everything to make certain that everything happens accordingly. Don’t forget to prepare for unexpected emergencies.
12. The clean up and expression of gratitude
It is always important to say “Thank you” to those who helped put together your fundraising event. Thank you notes mean a lot to those who were involved in the event, even if the task was very small. Donors and volunteers appreciate this gesture. If they are happy after your event, you could ask them for help again on your next fundraiser.
These simple steps have always been helpful to remember when organising a fundraisers. Even if everything seems tedious, do your best to engage with as many people as possible. Your other option is to use an organisation like Australian Fundraising that can take a lot of this work off your plate.
Most importantly – remember to enjoy the event. At the same time, use your social media accounts to promote and share the fun. The true success of your fundraiser is in the cooperation of everyone involved and in the proper execution of your fundraising plan.
[ARTICLE UPDATED FROM 16 OCTOBER 2020]