As you go through life, it is highly likely that you will at one point need to raise funds for an event close to you. Fundraising is now a common occurrence in our times. Therefore, here are some easy to follow do’s and don’ts for fundraisers.
DO plan: This is always the starting point for everything you do. Make a clear detailed fundraising plan indicating how much you think you will raise and how. Show your expected sources, how much you hope to raise from those sources and how.
DO get all necessary permissions: Many times you may need permissions from different authorities for your fundraising activities. So write to them and get all the necessary approvals for your fundraising to go ahead.
DO set a target: All fundraising drives must have a clear communicated target. There has to be a goal that will be met. Make sure that this target clearly appears in all communication regarding the fundraising. The target serves as a motivating factor for your potential contributors.
DO provide as much information as possible about the fundraiser: People are more likely to contribute to causes they can identify with. So be explicit in explaining your cause ensuring that all details are mentioned. Create information packets with details about the fundraising cause. These can then be given to potential donors.
Do offer potential contributors something in return for their contributions: Think of something you can offer your contributors. This can be a service such as car wash, a health benefit, a discounted product, free consultancy etc. If people realize that they get something in return for their contributions, they are likely to be more generous.
DO set up numerous dedicated collection channels: You want to make it easy for all those willing to support you to do so. So ensure there are various ways they can contribute. Set up dedicated bank accounts, dedicated mobile money numbers, nominate specific persons, dedicated social media pages etc. Whichever collection center you can set up, go ahead. The easier it is for people to contribute, the more they will.
DO put your money where your mouth is: Be the first to contribute to your fundraising page. Make sure you publicly contribute so that your target audience notices. By doing this, you are showing your commitment to the cause and setting a benchmark for other donors.
DO spread the word: Use all avenues available to let your target audience know about the fundraising drive. Use word of mouth, social media and distribution of flyers, print media, radio and TV. Depending on your budget, use any or all of these avenues. The goal is to reach as many of your potential contributors as possible.
DO send constant remainders: This is very important. There are a lot of events happening all the time. You must therefore ensure that your potential contributors do not forget about your fundraising drive. Send remainder messages, make phone calls etc. The goal is to ensure your fundraising drive is not forgotten.
DO give constant updates: This is so vital for motivation. Your potential contributors need to know that there is movement towards meeting the set target. When people see that progress is being made, they are motivated to give more to ensure that the overall target is met.
DO show your appreciation: Nothing encourages fundraisers more than being told “Thank you” Constantly show your gratitude for all contributions received towards the cause so far. This reassures your target audience that you appreciate their efforts thus far and emboldens them to give more.
DO be transparent: Be an open book of accounts. Show accountability for all incomes received so far and invite your target audience to review your books at any time they desire. Constantly mention how much has been collected and to what use it has been put.
DO get stuff for free: Holding a fundraiser means you do not have sufficient funds. So use as much free stuff as you can. If there is a free venue, take it up. Don’t waste your meagre resources on the fundraiser yet it is intended to raise money. Reach out to all those that can offer free services and gladly use the services.
Do make the fundraising fun: This is vital to the success of your fundraiser. Ensure that your contributors have fun as they make their contributions. Include lots of fun activities in the fundraising drive. The trick here is that if people are having fun, they won’t pay much attention to how much they are spending.
DON’T wait until the last minute: There is a lot of preparation that goes into organizing a successful fundraising event. It therefore takes time. Start early to give your fundraiser every chance of success.
DON’T go it alone: There are a lot of activities involved in a fundraiser. Too much work to be done by a single person. Don’t try to do it alone. Always best to set up a team to assist you.
DON’T use a one-size fits-all approach: When sending out messages to your target audience to solicit donations, ensure you personalize the note for each person or each group. People are more likely to donate if they feel that you have spoken to them directly.
DON’T ignore non-monetary donations: While you ultimately need money, there may be other non-monetary support that could be very useful. Whether it is publicity, providing refreshments for your fundraiser, helping with venue set up etc., be sure to accept the support, express gratitude and then think creatively about the best way to use that support.
DON’T be afraid to ask for money: You organized the fundraiser because you need money so don’t fear to ask your target donors to contribute the money you need. You won’t know what people are willing to do if you don’t ask.
DON’T expect immediate results: Because there are so many fraudsters out there, potential contributors might want to perform some due diligence before pitching in with their contributions. So even if the start seems slow, if you keep at it, the pace will pick up and you will meet your targets.
DON’T forget to communicate the final outcome: Because you are fundraising for a cause, once the fundraising is done, ensure you keep your contributors updated on the final results. Was the ultimate goal of the fundraising achieved? E.g. was the operation successful? How is the patient doing etc. This keeps you on good terms should the need to return for additional funds arise.
So there you have it, go Organise that fundraiser and best of luck!