Australian Fundraising Ideas Blog

Learn the secrets to holding a fun and profitable fundraiser from Mr Fundraising himself, Billy G - and others who have made fundraising work for their school or organisation!

How to Promote Your Fundraising Event?

A fundraising event’s success lies in the effectiveness of its promotion. If not enough peopleshow up, it would not hit the revenue target it. And while this fact is only a matter of commonsense, some fundraising event organisers still fail to allocate sufficient money and efforts on thepromotion side, which has led to many failed attempts at raising funds and the need to create asecond event to fill what the first one was not able to gain.

Events promotion is an art and a science in itself and people who know and understand this,use it to leverage the success of their events. With the right strategy and some hacks, anyevent can be promoted effectively. Here are some of the best ways:

1. Package Your Event to Make It Attractive

You can’t effectively sell what comes out as unattractive to your target market. This marketingprinciple is very much applicable to fundraising events promotion. The fundraising event is yourproduct and you need to package it well so it would be easier to sell. This means choosing agood venue, creating a theme, incorporating some gimmicks, and many other things. The moreattractive it is, the easier it is to promote. This means more people will join your event to helpyou hit your target.

2. Create a Promotions Plan

Before you start any promotional campaigns, plan it out. Identify your promotional goals andtargets and create a strategy on how you would hit those targets. Put as many details aspossibly can on your plan. Identify key people, promotional channels and some techniques youwould be using to put your event out there. Moreover, put a timeframe on how long thepromotions will run prior to the start of your fundraising event.

3. Leverage Word of Mouth and FOMO Marketing

More often than not, fundraising events and galas are very popular not because of whathappens during the event but the glamour that its promoters were able to create around it. Thiscan be replicated for your event, no matter how small or simple that event can be. Leverageword of mouth through your working committees, friends and family.One very effective way to build a sense of excitement for your fundraising event is using FOMOmarketing or the fear of missing out marketing. This creates a sense of inclusivity for yourevent that people would want to be a part of. Just writing “For Selected Invites Only” onpersonal invitations will surely create that feeling of excitement.

4. Use Traditional Marketing

Print, radio, TV, magazine, company newsletters and flyers may sound out of date but they arestill very effective for local event promotions. If you have the budget, go for these traditionalmedia options. If you don't, maybe you can make some deals with media entities to help you

promote your event. The way you package your exchange deals will be very helpful, so learnhow to do it right. Many local media institutions are willing to promote your events in exchangefor some promotions and sponsorship mentions for them during the event.You can also offer such deals to local businesses and institutions in your community.

5. Put Your Promotional Campaigns Online

Bring your promotions online and identify necessary steps to make it stand out amidst the socialonline noise. This means creating quality HD graphics, an events page on Facebook and alanding page. Sell tickets online for you to be easily accessible to your target participants.Leverage the World Wide Web and targeting local can go a long way, especially in this digitalage.

6. Use Social Media Channels

This needs a separate mention from an online campaign because it is an important step on itsown. Social media channels are where the people are. Using channels like Facebook, Twitter,Instagram, and others can greatly hype up your fundraising event.Run Facebook and Instagram Ads that will get more traffic to your event page. Use the righthashtags and engage people. Using basic social media marketing techniques will greatly helpyou in this endeavor.

There are different ways to effectively promote your fundraising events and allocating a budgetfor campaigns will amplify the efforts. Just make sure to create a strategy and plan that willensure their cost-effectiveness. A detailed, critical, thorough and well-executed plan can make agreat difference in your fundraising event’s outcome.

Common Fundraising Mistakes to Avoid

Running a fundraising program is hard work. It requires commitment, resources, and a lot of effort. Through the course of running and organising fundraising events, mistakes are bound to happen, some of them trivial while some are considerably large that it has a huge impact on the organisation and its activities. Some costly mistakes, however, can be avoided given the right mindset and strategy. 

Avoiding costly mistakes will not only save one or two of your fundraising events but also your program as a whole. Here are some of the most common mistakes that fundraisers and non- profits commit that you can and should avoid. 

1. Failing to Build Relationships with Donors

Relationship building is vital to running fundraising especially when it concerns your donors. It should not be treated as a one-shot deal, but rather one that needs to be nurtured and cared for. Building donor relationship means regularly getting in touch with them, sending out thank you cards, and many others. It is imperative that you get in touch with your first-time donors after their first contribution. You can schedule some donor “thank you” phone calls periodically or get in touch with them through social media. 

2. Too Much Focus on One Time Donors

All donors are important, this is unquestionable. However, some fundraisers tend to provide more focus and attention to one time donors than they do for their long-term and recurring donors. Some may say that they are trying to commit the one-time donors into longer term, but this should not be an excuse to not providing recurring donors the due attention and effort they deserve.

3. Lacking Clear Funding Purpose

There is a difference between soliciting $10 to help reduce domestic violence in Africa and soliciting $10 to provide training to 1 social worker that will respond to domestic violence cases and be part of an intervention program. 

Though both are soliciting the same amount of money, the second one is more appealing as it states a clear view of the purpose of the fundraiser. Asking “so what?” is a common question from potential donors and you should be ready to answer it. 

Hence, when seeking out and engaging with potential donors, you have to have a clear perspective of the purpose of your fundraising. 

4. Not Measuring the Impact of the Cause

Some non-profits are unable to measure the difference that they make through their efforts and the money they raise. The inability to determine the effects of their efforts and where they allocate their resources prevents them from improving their performances. 

There are lots of reasons to measure social impact. This includes gathering stories and materials for marketing your efforts, getting feedback from programs and activities, and share information with other non-profits. 

Measuring your social impact is also great for attracting donors. New donors want to contribute to an organisation that is really making a difference. It motivates them to continue donating money when they get updated on where their money goes and what it has done. 

5. Asking Only for Money

Yes, fundraising is all about raising money and there is no reason to hide your intentions in your call of action. However, if your only engagement with your donors is only all about soliciting money, then you are risking your relationship with them. 

Be creative in engaging with them. It should not always be about money. Invite them to take part in the ownership of some of your initiatives.  And your communication plan should include various outreach activities targeting your donors. 

6. Poor Donation Processing System

Not having an excellent donation processing system can discourage large donations from new donors and can alienate your current clients. Giving donations should be easy and user- friendly for donors. You must invest in user-friendly and highly sophisticated donation processing system with all the features and options that make it a great experience for donors to contribute. 

7. Not Investing Enough for Fundraising Events

There is no overstating the importance of fundraising activities so you must allocate due investment to them. Do not settle for mediocre activities, be generous in your venues, productions, and activities and achieve the quality befitting the generosity of your donors. 

While it may sound like a good decision to underspend on overheard and allocate as much money to the cause, non-profits who are hesitant to spend on things that will allow the organisation to grow can stagnate and later on, regress. 

By avoiding these mistakes, you can protect your organisation and your cause in the long term and make a lasting difference. 

Planning Your 2019 Fundraising Calendar

Planning Your 2019 Fundraising Calendar

For many, fundraising is not just a one-time thing. Many institutions rely on the generosity of benefactors to sustain their cause. For big projects, a single fundraising event may not be sufficient to gather the needed funds. A series of fundraising events must be designed and scheduled to gradually reach the financial goal intended for big projects and even for recurring causes that need support for sustainability.

What is a Fundraising Calendar?

Fundraising calendars are created to keep track of the timing of different things involved in holding fundraising events. It serves as a timeline of all the fundraising activities that will be held during the calendar year. It also outlines other details including:

  • Preparation and Post- Event Activities Schedule
  • Schedule of Tasks
  • Timeframe for Donations

Starting Your Fundraising Calendar

It is best to start your fundraising calendar prior to starting your calendar year. Some organisations create fundraising calendars from January 1st to December 31st, while there are those who start on July 1st and end on June 30th. One month before the calendar year is the best time to start planning your calendar so you have ample time to implement it.

Here are the things you need to prepare in the outline of your fundraising calendar:

  • Recurring Fundraising Activities (Annual, Bi-Annual, Quarterly, or Monthly)
  • Seasonal Fundraising Activities (Winter, Holidays, Special Occasions, Founding Anniversaries, etc.)
  • Donor/ Benefactor Engagement Schedules
  • Reporting Schedules

You need to identify all of these so you can efficiently spread them throughout your fundraising calendar and avoid the overlapping of schedules.

Designing Your Calendar

Aside from scheduling your fundraising events, fundraising calendars are also used to track and monitor the progress of tasks for a fundraising event. This is to make sure that all tasks are performed at the right time and that deadlines are met.

There are different ways to design your fundraising calendar, depending on your needs and preferences.

A more detailed fundraising calendar would look something like this:

January

Sunday

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

 

Board Meeting

9 Am


Donor Appreciation Calls

All Day


Marketing Meeting 2pm


Major Donor Brunch 2pm



Walkathon

6 pm


Send Thank-You Emails

8am

15th

16th

17th

18th

19th

20th

21st


This one outlines all the tasks that are relevant to a particular activity.

Filling Out Your Calendar

Filling out your fundraising calendar is the trickiest part. There are a lot of things that need to be considered. It requires a keen ability to think ahead and be critical of the steps involved in creating an efficient fundraising activity timeline.

Fill Out Important Dates and Holidays

Before even beginning to fill out your planned fundraising activities, put in important dates first. This will greatly help you in creating spaces between activities. It may even help you decide the best dates for certain events. Some even get the idea of new fundraising activities based on holidays and celebrations. For example: Mothers’ Day Brunch, Fathers’ Day Carwash, Valentine’s Day Dinner for a Cause and many more.

Scheduled Fundraising Events First

Before delving into the details of every activity, you need to fill out the dates for your scheduled events. Through this, you will be able to decide how to space out the dates of every event for ample preparations and appropriate post-event activities.

Indicating seasons on your calendar will also help you determine which activities fit certain seasons.

Put in the Details

After you have successfully determined the dates of your fundraising events, you can now fill it up with the relevant details. Make sure that every step of the preparation and post-activity process are included and given enough time. Consider the length of time that each of the tasks can be completed including some contingencies. Mark deadlines for every deliverable that should be communicated to the assigned individuals.

You can go as detailed as possible on your calendar to ensure that nothing is overlooked.

Some Important Thoughts

When making your fundraising calendar, please note of the human limitations. It is not advisable to make an event one after the other without any time provisions for relaxation time. Also, include on your calendar some schedules on how you can connect with your clients to maintain them. There must also be time for the team to bond and improve your teamwork, and to make sure that there is time for recognizing and rewarding the best efforts.

Update your calendar when the need arises. Nothing is really final until you are about to do it. Be considerate and flexible in your schedules so as not too extensively exhaust your donors and volunteers.

The Fundraising Event Planning Checklist

The Fundraising Event Planning Checklist

Fundraising events make generating funds, fun and exciting. It is like promoting and exposing your cause to a larger audience, getting huge benefits from it, and enjoying the whole process.  Holding a fundraiser is as challenging as it is fun, but a strategic course of action will help ensure efficiency, accuracy, excellence, and success.

There are lots to prepare for before a fundraising event happens. This is where planning becomes crucial. Having a concrete plan on how to do things and who are tasked to do certain things within a timeframe is of high importance.

Why a Planning Checklist Is Important

There is no overstating the importance of having a planning checklist with you as you plan your fundraising event. Just like a grocery checklist, a planning checklist guides you through the process in the right order without forgetting the minor details.

As you grow along and plan more fundraisers in the future, you will be able to master the checklist and commit it to memory. However, if you are only new to the job, you need some clear and effective guidance and a planning checklist can very well do it for you.

Event Planning Checklist

An event planning checklist includes things, tasks, and reminders that you need to plan a successful fundraising event.

This checklist is specifically designed for a fundraising event. There may be other things necessary and unique to your needs that are not included in this checklist so feel free to customize and modify it to fit your preference.

1. Establish the Purpose of Your Event

Before anything else and prior to delving into the details, you must first have a clearly defined purpose or intent for your event. Fundraisers are, of course, held to gather funds but they may very well serve other purposes. For example, you can use also use it to create a cooperative atmosphere in your community, or raise awareness, or actively include certain sectors to a worthy cause.

Determining the purpose of your event gives birth to the motivations on working hard and pushing for it. More importantly, it will help you structure your plans and the event itself more effectively and appropriately.

2. Determine Your Goals

Having a clear set of goals allows you to design your event more appropriately. Goals steer your planning and designing process toward the right direction. It helps you grasp the essential details of the event and arrange them accordingly.

For fundraisers, one of the main goals you need to identify is the amount of money you want to raise. The return of investment (ROI) you wish to achieve should be clearly identified so you can design a fitting plan to achieve it.

3. Identify Your Target Audience

In the case of fundraising events, you need to identify groups or individuals you want to get involved. They can be as participants or as benefactors. Specific events are best for specific audiences and knowing who you want to target will help you decide on the type of event you will be doing.

4. Set a Budget

Financial preparation is imperative when it comes to planning events. Setting a budget will help you determine your monetary limitations. This will also allow you to identify how much money you need to start your fundraising. Your budget should include all necessary expenses. Here is a list of common expenses during events:

  • Invitations and marketing
  • Entertainment Equipment
  • Catering/ Bar Service
  • Staffing
  • Printing
  • Rentals
  • Activity Equipment
  • Incidentals

In the case of fundraising activities, start-up money may be needed to purchase materials necessary for holding the event, like cookie doughs for selling cookies.

5. Create a Working Committee

From your organizers, board, and volunteers you will now create a team of working committees. Committees are assigned with specific tasks related to the fundraising event. The number of people in a particular committee varies on the nature of the tasks assigned to that group. The selection will also help in delving down with the details of what tasks to do and who will do them including other information.

6. Design a Promotion Strategy

Once all is set, you need now to spread the word on your fundraising event.  A promotion strategy to gather participants and get sponsors should be designed well. This is to effectively capture the intended participation to reach your goal. A timeframe of how long the promotions will run to inject a sense of urgency on the promotion.

Keep in mind that planning a fundraising event requires hard work and a clear track to achieve your goals. Be critical in your planning, but do not limit your creativity. Some out of the box solutions to certain concerns may just be what you need.

More importantly, have fun doing this for a worthy cause.

Introduction to Fundraising Planning

Introduction to Fundraising Planning

Earning a basic understanding of fundraising and fundraising planning is an essential step towards effective execution. Fundraising is easy to think of but can be challenging to execute. Moreover, holding a fundraising plan can be tedious if you don’t know what things to plan for and how to go through the planning activity. Here are some of the things you need to understand about fundraising planning.

What is a Fundraising Plan?

The first thing you need to know and understand is what a fundraising plan is and why it is important.

A fundraising plan is a draft or document of the things that need to be accomplished to successfully hold a fundraising event. It outlines tasks to be performed for the preparation prior to the event, the event itself, and after the event, by assigning them to employees or volunteers.  All of these are bounded by a timetable or schedule to ensure that things are accomplished on time. Basically, it serves as a roadmap that helps organisers and participators determine where they are, where they are supposed to be going and accomplish, and at which time.

Why Is It Important?

A fundraising plan is a significant document that sets the direction of the organisation and the effective and successful execution of the fundraising activity. It provides a clear guide on what direction the organisation must take.

It also sets the agenda of the milestones that need to be reached and give the organisers and volunteers a glimpse of the bigger picture of the fundraising event organisation. It outlines the needs of the organisation to reach its goals and the specific steps on how to meet those needs.

It is also important that everyone part of the working committee and the organising committee learn and understand the fundraising plan. In fact, this ensures that all can perform their tasks mindfully and effectively.

What Is Necessary for the Drafting of the Plan?

There are lots of factors that need to be ensured and provided when making a fundraising plan. These include:

1. A Case Statement

Every successful fundraising plan needs to have a case statement. This works in a similar way to the vision and mission of an organisation. A case statement is necessary to provide the idea, concept, vision and desired outcome of the fundraising. This will also help in keeping details in track when drafting the rest of the plan.

2. Anchored on Established Goals

A fundraising plan will not be comprehensive, clear, nor effective enough if it is not anchored in the established goals of the fundraising.  Established goals serve as steering wheels that point towards the direction of the plan. Every part of the plan must adhere to these goals or work towards them.

3. Inclusive Processing

A fundraising plan is not something that is written overnight by a single person. An effective plan must go through considerable deliberations by key competent people. The board management and top organisers must sit down and go through the planning process to make it comprehensive. This also ensures that all possible angles are covered. Moreover, a sense of ownership by the board management will help in the smooth execution of the plan.

4. SMART Tasks

Just like the goals, the tasks outlined in the plan must be SMART- that is specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time- bounded. This will make tasks easier to understand and easier to perform. One must note clear descriptions where details are necessary, to not keep people guessing on what a specific task actually means.

5. A Before, During, and After Phase

A fundraising plan must have three fundamental phases, each phase with corresponding tasks and milestones that need to be accomplished and reached. A complete fundraising plan does not only discuss the fundraising’s preparations and ways of execution. It also includes a post- activity phase where things such as the fundraising evaluation and sustainability report, among other post- activity tasks, are drafted.

6. Diversify and Establish Contingencies

A diversified fundraising plan allows more flexibility regarding the achievement of the set goals for the fundraiser. It is created to avoid over depending on one source or medium for success. Contingencies, on the other hand, are established to make adjustments when something does not go as planned. They serve as a safety net for the accomplishments of tasks. Diversification and contingencies are created in recognition that the execution cannot always be perfect.

With the right concept in mind and the recognition of the important factors that must be ensured in a fundraising plan, you will be able to develop a document that functions as it should and gives you clarity on what you and others need to do. This will make both the planning and the execution easier for all members of the organisation.

Fundraising Planning: Tips To A Successful Fundraising Plan

Fundraising Planning: Tips To A Successful Fundraising Plan

Acting as chairperson for an upcoming school fundraising plan is difficult but doable. With organisation and planning, fundraisers can be successful and fun too.

Candy bars and car washes are yesterday’s news. Caring parents will buy almost anything to promote school spirit, but this doesn’t mean you’ll attain your goal.

Let’s explore how to plan a fundraising event that is innovative and attainable.

1. Clear & Attainable Fundraising Goal Setting

Help P&C members set a realistic financial goal for fundraising efforts. Knowing the precise dollar amount motivates the group.

What is your goal? Your goal is the reason your school needs funds, such as Formals for graduates or new uniforms for the soccer team.

Remember the adage – work smart, not hard? Here’s how the acronym SMART will keep your campaign on target.

  • S = Specific: Gather facts and set a specific dollar figure needed to accomplish your goal. For example, buying three new computers would cost less than an overnight train trip for the entire 7th grade class. Gather facts, i.e. cost of computers and software, to determine the specific amount of money your fundraiser must attain.
  • M = Measurable: It’s hard to determine success or failure for a wishy-washy goal such as raising enough money to pay for the senior prom. Maintain up-to-date records of income and expenses throughout the campaign. This provides a deeper understanding of what worked and what didn’t, so you can determine strategies for future fundraisers.
  • A = Attainable: Assess fundraising trends for previous years. What worked and what didn’t? Look at expenses vs. funds raised.  Estimated total hours vs. the number of volunteers (will you need more helpers?). Any problems collecting donation money? Does your goal amount appear attainable?
  • R = Realistic: Setting reachable goals will inspire the team to new heights. Unrealistic goal setting sets your group up for failure. Avoid getting over-ambitious, as it deflates your team’s self-confidence.
  • T = Timeline: “When” must you have the money to satisfy your goal?

2. Actionable Fundraising Timeline

All your good intentions will collapse if you fail to incorporate an actionable timeline in your fundraising plan. It’s critical to your success to detail what happens. A comprehensive timeline will prevent rushing to get things done at the last minute (working hard, not smart).

Let’s develop a sample timeline for the Formal at the end of May.

February: Establish fundraising team.  Note tasks, Confirm who will do what, i.e:

  • Create the website
  • Track sales and expenses
  • Find a venue and a band
  • Select your fundraising product(s)
  • Estimate expenses and determine the amount of funds needed
  • Organize a workable timeline

March:

  • Team meeting
  • Order product (s)
  • Set up website promoting product(s)
  • Recruit parents to sell product(s)

April – May:

  • Team meeting
  • Select students to create flyers and distribute them
  • Promote the product(s)
  • Start selling the product(s)
  • Confirm the venue and the band.

This is just a sample. Adjust the timeline to fit your needs.

3. Realistic Strategies For your Fundraising Plan

A strategic plan provides direction when problems arise.

School fundraising success hinges on effective communication. Once you’ve determined what your school needs, how much money you need to raise and your timeline, schedule regular team meetings. Encourage volunteers to address any problems within the group that could keep you from attaining your goal.

Parents are the main target for your school fundraiser, but it could prove prosperous to hold an event that can encourage the kids to dive in, such as a School Colour Explosion event.

Promotion is an essential strategy of your fundraising plan. In advance of planned events, give the kids a letter to take home to their parents. For products, send any sales brochures, etc. home for the parents.

Have students distribute flyers in the local area and make effective use of social media. Set up a Facebook page to attract locals to your event. They can buy your fundraising product or make a donation.

If your school has a dedicated website, announce fundraising details on it and use Twitter for short updates.

An online presence is valuable, but face-to-face or telephone conversations will initiate valuable word of mouth advertising for your school fundraiser.

4. How to Plan a Fundraising Event: Ideas

Fundraising ideas that encourage the kids to play outdoors

Colour Fun Event

What’s better than a major event where the kids have so much fun with an an explosion of colour and receive rewarding incentive prizes for their efforts?

School Run4Fun Colour Explosion events are risk free and easy to run while they guarantee a high level of involvement from children as well as positive feedback from students, parents/carers and teachers.

School Fun Run and School Walk-a-thon

Though adopted years ago, school fun run events are still a favourite of many schools as it promotes physical fitness.

Participated by students, teachers, and parents, the event creates a perfect opportunity to bring everyone closer together and promote the school spirit.

Want to take your school run event to a higher level and generate more profits? Consider adding some colour to your event, as in a colour fun event.

Fundraising ideas that improve your children’s skills

Spelling Contest

Spelling and reading are important elements of the school syllabus. Make spelling and reading a fun adventure for your students by combining an educational spelling fundraising program.

This fundraising idea has been proven to raise substantial profits whilst also bringing educational outcomes for your students.

Fundraising ideas that get the whole family to dive in

Cookie & Biscuit Dough

Cookie & biscuit dough is an all-time favourite fundraiser as it is easy to sell and has no upfront costs. For kids, it is fun. For parents, it is a healthier form of food (compared to a bag of chocolate). Plus, who can resist the smell of cookies around your home during weekends?

5. Resources to plan your fundraising event

We’ve put together a resource that will help with your entire planning process. Download the free fundraising planning ebook here and prepare to spell success.