Make no mistake, however. Fundraising is absolutely what you make it, so make every effort not to make it hard on yourself.
Here are 11 top tips that’ll ensure you rock your fundraising efforts and quickly get to where you want to go:
1. Be an Early Bird
Everyone is guilty of procrastination at some point or another, but when it comes to fundraising, leaving things to the last minute just won’t cut it. Plan early, way early. The entire process will instantly feel more fun and effortless because you’ve preemptively taken some pressure off. This will give you much-needed time to get your Google on, in order to research fundraising ideas, tips and checklists. Search for testimonials of things others have done to raise money, and take note of any obstacles that might’ve come up for them. Knowledge is power. Arm yourself with it early and you’ll get your worm.
2. Set a Goal
Sounds like an obvious thing to say, but you might be surprised how many people start their fundraising without first figuring out exactly how much money they need. Take some time and make your tally, factoring in some extra for unforeseen incidentals and for peace of mind. Publicize your goal proudly to potential supporters. It will give them a frame of reference as far as how much to give, and they’ll feel more confident giving when you appear entirely confident about your needs.
3. Break it Down
Break your total fundraising goal into digestible, equal portions over time. While $2,000 all at once may feel like a lot, shooting for $500 a month over the next four months doesn’t feel quite so daunting, does it? Meeting mini-goals along the way will also highlight your progress and give the motivation you need to keep moving forward.
4. Budget, Budget, Budget
Even if math was always one of your favorite subjects, it’s never easy work to create and adhere to a detailed budget. If you have plans to orchestrate an event to raise your funds (say a car wash or auction), or if you plan to perform some services for cash (think house painting or landscaping), you’ll want to ensure every purchase you make for the tools and supplies stays within your financial limits. You’ll have to promote your events and/or services too, so don’t forget to include those costs. Finally, immediately subtract any little surprises that come up along the way, so that you always know exactly where you stand financially.
5. Pinch Those Pennies
On a similar note, be sure to stay on the alert for stray, additional expenses that have the tendency to get tacked on where you least expect them. When sourcing out fundraising products, for example, look for those that come with free shipping, or better yet, one that requires no payment up front. There’s simply no reason to buy what you don’t need.
6. Help Yourself
We’re huge advocates of calling on the talents and pull of friends and family to help you along your way, but there’s still nothing like drawing on your own unique talents to bolster your fundraising efforts. Are you a Photoshop whiz? Are you handy with video editing or a palette of paints? Call upon the strengths you already possess to create compelling collateral to promote your campaign.
7. Flex Your Popularity Muscles
Sure, it’s a given that Mom, Dad and the grandparents will be your most avid supporters, but what about your aunts and uncles? Your neighbors, your teachers, your friend’s parents or even your brother’s basketball buddies? Now is the time to get out there and get schmoozy. The more people you reach out to, the better chance you’ll have at raising the funds you need.
8. Keep in Contact
Your early supporters jumped on board because they care, so be sure to keep them in the loop on your progress. Did you have a particularly good day fundraising? Share the news! Did someone do something especially generous? Name names! Fundraising isn’t just about asking people for help, it’s about making them feel appreciated and a part of something meaningful.
9. Make it Routine
Set aside time every day – whatever time you feel most productive – to further your fundraiser. Whether it’s sending another round of emails, writing thank you notes to those who’ve already contributed, or updating friends on your progress through Facebook. Keep your cause fresh and alive by making it a daily priority.
10. Get Friendly with Facebook
Hands down, there is no better online tool out there to spread the word to literally thousands of friends − and friends of friends − in one fell swoop. This doesn’t mean, of course, that you should inundate your pals with nothing but fundraiser talk. Three to four times per week should be plenty to fill them in on how you’re doing. Give props to the people who support you as you go, and express gratitude and positivity at every turn. Post photos and videos to capture attention. Consider using notes to broadcast major milestones. As you know, even a few shares can go a long, long way in terms of visibility.
11. Go All Out Online
Consider registering with a free online fundraising platform like My.Fundraising.com. Whether running it alone or in conjunction with other fundraising initiatives, you’ll have a customizable, virtual storefront that makes literally hundreds of items available to your supporters around the clock — from mainstays of cookie dough, chocolate and magazines, to “wow-factor” goods such as exclusive jewelry, gifts and gourmet food. Human touches like photo galleries and customizable email templates bolster the impact of your fundraiser, while sales and other campaign insights can be tracked through a dashboard or Campaign Manager. You’ll keep as much as 40% profit of all sales, and a profit check will be mailed to you monthly. All items are shipped direct to your supporters nationwide. Easy peasy!
Bio: These fundraising tips are courtesy Fundraising.com, a Great American Opportunities company. Since 1995, Fundraising.com, alongside site company eFundraising.com, has helped thousands of schools, sports teams and non-profit groups raise millions for their causes.