Fundraising In The Holiday Season

It can be very difficult to raise money through donations during a time of the year when everyone seems to be strapped for cash, but never fear!  Remember these few tips, and you will have no trouble with your next holiday season fundraising project.

 

Enlist Friends and Family

Sure, they may not be paid to do this, but your friends and family can always be a valuable asset in spreading the word about your project or organization.  When you feel like you are not able to reach enough people on your own, ask those who are closest to you if they wouldn’t mind telling others about what it is you do, and why donations are so necessary at this time of the year.  Chances are, someone you know will know someone who can pitch in.  Never underestimate the power of word of mouth!  Especially now in our technologically advanced times, it is even easier for you to reach friends through social media who can then reach their friends—and so on.  Networking has never been so stress-free!

 

Stay on Task Everywhere

Going grocery shopping?  Consider taking along some pamphlets to hand out while you’re standing in the long checkout lines that seem to pop up during the holiday season.  Eating lunch out somewhere?  Leave a card or a small leaflet along with your tip for the wait staff or owners to peruse.  Sending holiday cards to your friends and family?  Don’t forget to mention how great things have gone with your organization this year.  No matter where you go, you can find an opportunity for spreading the goal of your non-profit organization or project, and you may potentially make donating contacts just about anywhere!  Remember to follow rules and laws when you do this, however, as asking for donations may be considered soliciting depending on the way you approach the task.

 

Bank on Charitable Sentiments

During the holidays, people may have tighter budgets than they usually do, but they also tend to feel more generous.  There is nothing wrong with cashing in on the sentimentality of good people at the holidays.  Share some stories from your clients or those you have helped (and remember to get permission to use names or likenesses!), and you are sure to see an increase in donations.  Tugging on the heartstrings is always a good way to gather new donations for your cause.  You can also reconnect at this time of year with those who have donated in the past, in the hopes that the spirit of the season might inspire them to give even more this time around!

 

 

Although it may seem like a daunting task to convince people to donate to your cause during the tumultuous holiday season, following these few tips will help you stay on top of your donation quotas with ease.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help, talk with strangers you meet during your day, and play to the sentimentalities of new and recurring donors as well.  Good luck with your fundraising endeavors, and happy holidays!

Start Green Fundraising

Schools and non – profits have to raise money to keep themselves running. One tried and true way to do it is by selling products throughout your community. But the standard wrapping papers and cookies are not exactly green—or healthy. Besides, everyone else is pushing these same products too.

Instead, consider standing out from the crowd and extending the positive impact of each buy with environmentally friendly products.

These days, there’s plenty of eco-friendly twists on this traditional fundraising model, and options range widely, from chocolates to cleaning supplies to green equivalents of classic fundraising staples.

 

Take a look at these great green fundraising options:

 

Jewellery

Green fundraising company Nature’s Vision offers environment and wildlife-themed jewellery, along with a slew of other accessories, tees, and bags. Order using the forms and helpful promotional materials on the website, and collect a percentage of every sale you make.

 

Pampering

Among its many product offerings, Greenraising offers a line of environmentally friendly personal care products. Just encourage your community to shop on the website, and designate your organization as the beneficiary of their purchases.

 

Treats

Treats can be guilt-free when they’re Fair Trade. Irresistible options include Divine Fair Trade chocolates or Grounds for Change Fair Trade coffee.

 

Wrapping Paper

If you want a more traditional fundraiser, take a look at Mother Earth Fundraising’s 100% recycled wrapping papers, gift bags and cards. Your loyal customers won’t even miss your old standbys.

 

Recycle

If pushing products is not your organization’s style, you can still earn by taking environmentally friendly actions. For example, Terracycle lets organizations profit for collecting and recycling waste items such as empty product bottles, baby food containers, and much more. Earth Tone Solutions lets organizations profit for recycling empty printer cartridges.

 

Go Green, Make Green
With so many organizations in a constant battle for those fundraising dollars, a unique green product can help you stand out from the crowd, while offering an extra incentive to give. These are only a few great options for running your own green fundraiser—there’s plenty of ideas out there to meet any need. Get out there and take your organization green!

How To Thank Your Contributors

In a study of 50 nonprofits and 2 million contributors detailed by Fundraiser123.org, as much as 70 percent of nonprofits had not followed up with contributors a month after their donation. Thirty-seven percent never even emailed a thank-you at all.

When your nonprofit sends a timely thank-you, it stands out in a compelling way. It also motivates contributors to develop a bond with your organization.

According to NonprofitMarketingGuide.com, 65 percent of first-time contributors never give a nonprofit a second donation. However, 80 percent of those one-time contributors said a prompt thank-you could have persuaded them to give again.

Those two simple words, “thank you,” are very powerful. But it’s not enough to know the value of a thank-you. How you thank contributors matters, too.

Here are some tips to make sure your thank-you’s to contributors resonates. 

  • Send a card
    When selecting stationery for a thank you note, get away from the organization’s letter template and opt for a card instead—it implies a personal message instead of a business one.
  • Use the person’s name
    This is another important way to be personal with your message. Avoid blanket terms like “donor” or “friend,” and use contributors’ names instead to show people that they matter to you.
  • Show the impact
    In your note, briefly share a success story or recent accomplishment the organization has reached to show how the person’s donation is making a difference. Put the spotlight on the contributor—they have made this accomplishment possible.
  • Extend an invitation
    Encourage the contributor to get more involved by inviting them to an upcoming free event or for a tour of the organization’s work site—but avoid anything that involves additional donations. You could also encourage them to follow you on social media. 
  • Acknowledge past gifts
    If a contributor has a history of giving to your organization, be sure to recognize that. It can be as simple as thanking the contributor for another gift, or you can get creative and show how the person’s cumulative donations have added up for a greater positive impact.
  • Sign from a specific staff member
    Sending a thank-you from an individual in a leadership position at the organization makes the note personal. 

Saying “thank you” to contributors matters—and so does how you say it. To keep contributors motivated to support your cause long-term, send prompt, personal thank-yous within a month of every donation. It’s not just a matter of savvy business practices—it’s also the polite and kind thing to do.

Relay For Life

Image by SOMBILON PHOTOGRAPHY
Image by SOMBILON PHOTOGRAPHY

The Relay for Life is a cornerstone fundraising event organized by the American Cancer Society. This overnight walk/run event is sure to challenge and inspire.

It’s also a great way to support the fight against cancer.

Relay for Life brings 4 million people together each year across 20 countries to fight against cancer with funds to promote awareness, research and treatment.

What to expect
Relay for Life is an overnight event, often stretching for 24 hours in total, and usually takes place on a running track. Teams work together to keep a representative walking or running on the track at all times during the event—because cancer never sleeps.

Meanwhile, participants and supporters camp out along the sidelines as they celebrate survivors, remember those lost, and fight back by raising awareness and funds for the cause.

Take a lap
Every Relay for Life event starts with three walks around the track. The first lap is a Survivor Lap—cancer survivors are invited to walk together around the track to celebrate that they have overcome the disease. For the second lap, caregivers for cancer patients are honored as they walk together. In the third lap, all team members are invited to take to the track to kick off the Relay together. 

Other traditions
The Relay for Life is more than a fitness accomplishment—it challenges and inspires. Throughout the night, teams and others support the walkers while partaking in family games, activites and entertainment.

One popular activity that often takes place during a Relay for Life event is a Luminaria Ceremony. During this nighttime activity, participants light candles and/or luminaria bags to remember those who passed away from cancer, as well as those who are fighting it now.

The event closes with the Fight Back Ceremony. During this closing ceremony, All team members take a final lap together, and pledge to take action to raise awareness and funds for cancer research, treatments and prevention.

Help fight back against cancer
With events in more than 5,200 communities all over teh world each year, Relay for Life raises over $400 million annually for American Cancer Society’s life-saving work to prevent and treat cancers of all kinds.

Are you ready to Relay? Find a Relay for Life event near you here.

Climb Stairs For Cancer Awareness

What burns twice as many calories as running and offers a more complete body workout? Climbing stairs.

Many are finding the challenge of a stair climb race to be more exhilarating than a typical run, and it’s rising in popularity as a competitive sport around the world—it’s even in the Olympics.

What to give it a try? Nonprofits are jumping on board to take advantage of this growing trend for fundraisers. As a result, there are stair climb events popping up all over the place that not only offer a great fitness challenge, but also let you give back to a great cause. Among them are many that nonprofits dedicating to fighting against cancer.

Here are a few of the most popular and most interesting:

Fight for Air Climb
If you’re looking for an opportunity close to home, the American Lung Association’s Fight for Air Climb takes place at locations all over the country. Hosted in skyscrapers, stadiums, and arenas, Fight for Air Climb events raised over $7 million last year for health education, research and advocacy for lung-related diseased, including lung cancer.

Outclimb Cancer Challenge
Huntsman Cancer Foundation organizes Salt Lake City’s annual Outclimb Cancer Challenge at the 24-story Wells Fargo Center. A great event for both competitive climbers and beginners, this event lets you scale the event to your fitness level by letting you decide how many stories to climb (and how many times you want to reach the top!).

Big Climb Seattle – Climb. Conquer. Cure.
The Big Climb Seattle event for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is an extremely popular one—the 2015 event sold out in just nine hours! It takes place at the Columbia Center in downtown Seattle, which boasts status as the second tallest building west of the Mississippi.

Stair Climbing Australia Race Series
If you want to get adventurous, consider the Stair Climbing Australia Race Series. These races for competitive stair climbers will take you all over the country, with challenges like climbing 100 flights of stairs at the Sydney Tower Eye and the Sea to Sky Challenge at Australia’s tallest building. Each race supports a good cause, including cancer.

Hustle up the Hancock
This race up Chicago’s iconic Hancock Building, known for its stellar views of the city’s skyline, offers a great incentive to hurry up all 94 floors. But if that’s just too many steps for you, there is also a half-climb option that stops at the 52nd floor. Each step helps support research and education to fight against lung disease via the Respiratory Health Association, including lung cancer. At the 2015 event, participants collectively climbed an estimated 1.5 million steps.

Step Up for a Good Cause
Are you ready to step up to the challenge of a stair climb for cancer? It’s a sport that’s on the rise, and a challenging alternative to the usual fundraiser run that’s sure to whip you into shape. To get started, check out these training tips. Then, get climbing!

With stair climbing’s rising popularity, odds are there’s one near you. But if not, consider starting your own.

Sorority Fundraising: A Five-Step Guide

Every sorority has different purposes and characteristics, but what they all have in common is philanthropy.

Philanthropy and community service is usually the foundation of most fraternities and sororities. Each year, chapters all over the United States raise millions of dollars for worthy causes, or for their own foundations. Sororities, in particular, are by their very nature, built upon the idea of charity, service and sisterhood. Fundraising is a crucial component of sorority membership and management and is a fantastic way to increase participation and enthusiasm on campus.

Here’s our 5-Step Guide to executing a successful fundraiser for your Sorority;

1. Fundraising Committee

Firstly, a fundraising sub-committee should be established within your group. This may be just two-three members or it may be 80% of the membership – that will be determined by how much interest, time and sisters there are to spare. No matter how many people the committee has, what’s important is that there is a group of interested volunteers who are willing to commit their time and effort into raising money.

Once these members have been established, have a discussion about what abilities and skills those members bring to the table. This will allow people to take on tasks that are most suited to their talents. You will need to make some decision about what roles are needed for the committee to host the event, and who is going to step into those roles.

One person will need to take on the role of the ‘administrator’. This person will be in charge of keeping the event cohesive, following up with committee members to ensure that tasks have been completed and taking care of any hitches that may arise. This ensures that there is at least one person who can see the ‘bigger picture’, while people are going about their tasks.

 

2. Choosing an Event

The most crucial decision to the success of the entire event is going to be choosing the right event. It’s important to keep your ideas fresh – nobody will leap at the chance to attend the exact same event as you held last year, or one similar to what the fraternity down the road held last month. Choose something original – uniqueness will attract much more attention!

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Casino Night
  • T-Shirts
  • Inspiring Women Night (with guest speakers)
  • Mardi Gras
  • Car Wash
  • Dance Marathon
  • Wristbands
  • Battle of the Bands
  • Sell Toilet Paper
  • Bingo Night

Getting sponsors is a fantastic way to cut down costs and increase the fundraising potential. Just be sure that any companies or products you are engaging with for the fundraiser are verified and safe, and make sure that you have checked any boxes you may need to with your college administration. You don’t want to get too far into the planning only to find out that you have forgotten to file the necessary paperwork.

 

3. Logistics

Now that you have your committee and your event established, some of the technical details must be set in place.

Think about the following:

  • What is the fundraising budget?
  • What is the fundraising goal?
  • What resources are needed, and what is available?
  • How long will the fundraiser last?
  • Who will perform which steps?
  • When will it take place?
  • What promotion will you use?
  • Who will be there on the day?

At this stage, each committee member needs to be delegated roles so they can move forward with carrying out their event responsibilities. Make sure that everyone is clear about what is needed, and is comfortable with doing the tasks they have been assigned.

Decide how the event communication will be managed. Will there be regular committee meetings or can it be done through email or a Facebook group? Make sure the administrator is clear about how he or she will communicate with all of the members, and how you will all be able to contact each other if needed.

 

4. Promotion

Now that there are some concrete details revolving around your event, you need to establish a plan for the event’s promotion.

In the busy planning stages of how the event will be run, it can be easy to forget that promotion is crucial. As with anything in life, you get out what you put in. You will need to ensure that there are some members of the fundraising committee who will be actively promoting the event.  The hours that are put into this will pay off.

Publicize your fundraising event as far in advance as possible. This allows people to save the date as well as generate excitement and word of mouth about the event itself. Be sure to include crucial details when promoting it such as where, when and what the cause is. Ensure that people know why your cause deserves to be supported, and what the benefits are to them (a cool new t-shirt, a great night out etc…)

The easiest and cheapest ways to spread the word are by telling people about your event. Create a Facebook and Twitter page and get posting the information as early as possible. Ask everyone in your networks to promote your event and hand out flyers for people to put on their dorm room doors and cars. Make an awesome video, upload it to YouTube and have everyone in your sorority share it around. You might even consider running a competition and sourcing a donated prize for the person who shares the video the most on social media.  If your event is interesting, you can even approach local press and ask if they would be interested in covering the event. This can be fantastic exposure for both the event and for your cause.

Remember: promotion is not the area in which to cut corners. You must promote the event with every resource available to you, in order to pull it off successfully.

 

5. The Day

On the day of the event, ensure that you have enough people present that everything is in place and organized. If possible, have one or two people there who don’t have any other responsibilities other than coming to the aid of any last minute disasters.

Be sure to thank each and every person who contributes, whether they be a volunteer or a ‘customer’ at the event – every dollar helps and contributions are valuable whether big or small. Be kind and smile to your donors as you let them know how valued their support is to the sorority and its philanthropic goals.

Lastly, have a great time! The planning and hard work that was put in by your sorority and volunteers all comes to fruition today. Enjoy engaging with people, and watching that hard work turn into dollars and cents for the causes that your sorority cares about. You did a great thing – now have some fun!

 

 

Learn Fundraising 101: The Basics

Fundraising can be a daunting business, but you can make it easy if you break it down into the basics.

 

Why Fundraise?

Fundraising is an important part of life. To a certain group of people, species of animal, area of the planet, or otherwise – your mission matters. Raising money for your mission will have a very tangible impact on the existence of those that it targets.

The main point of fundraising is to raise funds for something that we need, for bills that need to be paid or to fund projects that need to be undertaken. If your group doesn’t raise this money, then who will? Fundraising is also a fantastic way to fulfill your group’s objectives, to offer something into your community and to raise awareness for your cause.

Many people have developed a cynicism about fundraising, but it’s important to remain clear about the reasons why this fundraising is important, and to maintain your conviction over what this money will mean for your cause. Fundraising enables groups and organizations all over the world to serve the planet in very important ways. Fundraising provides shelters and meals for the homeless, funds research for cancer, keeps school and churches open and provides medical aid for people living in third world conditions. Organizations that rely on donations can’t survive without fundraising – without it, much of the good work in the world would simply cease to exist.

 

Planning Your Fundraiser

An important thing to keep in mind is that successful fundraisers do not create themselves. They take work, time, commitment, passion and often monetary resources.

While some groups are natural cash generating machines, others need to learn the skills that make fundraising efforts successful. The good news is that good fundraising can be done by anyone who has the drive to make it happen– it just takes some planning!

The planning that goes into any fundraiser is going to be crucial to the success of the campaign. Every fundraiser that takes place, whether big or small, needs to have a concise, coherent plan written down which covers aspects of who/what/where/when and how. The success of your fundraiser will be a direct result of how much careful planning went into it.

 

Choosing a Team

Crucial to planning a fundraiser is having a dedicated team of people to plan it.

As early as possible, your event will need a committee dedicated to the fundraising event. This may be the same committee that works on other things within your organization or it may be a select group of people who are focused on the fundraising itself. These people will be responsible for contributing, and delegating substantial effort to the fundraising goal and to the event, or events, surrounding the fundraising.

 

Money Matters

Ensure that your fundraising has a goal set. You need to decide on what amount of money you plan to raise with your fundraising. Factors to take into account will be how much money your group needs to satisfy its immediate needs, how many people you estimate to attract, what expenses will have to come out of this amount and how much time you will have to raise the money. Whatever the amount, make sure that everything in your fundraising plan is driven towards raising this specific amount of money.

Ensure that your fundraising also has a budget in place. This should include all of the expenses that will be required to carry out your fundraising, right down to the pen you will need for signups. Make sure that the budget includes expenses on the day, marketing and promotional materials and payment for people that are not volunteers. Ensure that it also takes into account your fundraising goal, and that you will raise well above the amount of outgoings. You might also want to leave a little ‘wiggle room’ for unforeseen expenses that come up along the way.

 

Choosing How to Fundraise

Your fundraising committee will need to think about which events will take place, and what methods will be used to source money.

Will you;

  • Ask via telephone?
  • Ask face-to-face?
  • Ask via email or direct mail?
  • Hold an event?

When deciding how best to  approach fundraising, (BTW, here’s 100 fundraising ideas), several things should be taken into account, including;

  • Who is the target audience?
  • What would provide good visibility?
  • What would garner good attendance?
  • What resources are available?
  • How many people will be available to help out?

Once your committee has settled on the means of fundraising, a plan can be written up including all of the details. This plan will need to include basic details like location, date and time, as well as everybody’s roles, so that every person involved knows ahead of time what their responsibilities are.

Once this plan is in place, it’s time to promote, promote, promote!

 

Marketing

Now that everything is in place, you will need to aggressively market your fundraiser.

The fundraising team will need to decide how to show your organization’s current supporters and the general public why your fundraiser is worth their valuable time and money.

Firstly this will involve getting the word out amongst those you know. Sales and marketing professionals know that a warm hand is always better than a cold one. The same rule applies in the world of fundraising. The closer people are to you and your organization, the more likely they are to contribute to your cause when asked to. Make sure that everyone involved in the project is actively talking to their friends, families, neighbors and social networks, ensuring that everyone they know is aware of why this fundraising is important, and what difference it will make to the community. Once this is done, begin reaching out to the wider networks: local businesses, neighborhood contacts, people from other organizations that are relevant or linked to your own and any others who may share your organization’s concerns and feel moved to contribute.

Your community will be full of people who have money to give, and we cannot always predict who these people will be. Your most important ingredient in marketing is getting the word out there. If people don’t know about your fundraiser, then they can’t contribute anything towards it.

 

After the Money Has Been Raised

The importance of thanking people cannot be overstressed. Each and every contributor, no matter how big or small their donation, must be thanked. Before the fundraising committee folds, be sure that gratitude is expressed to everyone who was involved in the fundraising. This can be done via email, direct mail, phone or by a small event or gift to say thank you (just be sure to include this in your expense budget). And don’t forget your volunteers.

It’s quite simple: if you want people to put in the time and the money next time, you need to keep them happy.

 

shutterstock_238214992Last Minute Things

A few valuable tips to remember:

  • The best fundraisers are the ones that offer something for everyone. Think about what you can offer as part of your fundraising that will benefit your contributors. If a fundraiser looks like a mutually beneficial offer, you have a better chance of people giving over their hard-earned cash for it.
  • Good planning will be the make-or-break factor in any fundraising. The more you put into it, the more you will get out of it. Successful fundraisers do not happen if volunteers are not willing to get off the couch and make it happen.
  • Fundraising is about far more than ‘money-making’. You want your fundraiser to create long-term relationships with people that will create awareness about your organization and its mission, as well as generating supporters that will become contributors at later fundraising events. Ultimately your fundraiser should be successful in the short term, generating the funds that you need for your project, as well as building your brand and database in the long term.

100 Fundraising Ideas

When you are tackling a fundraising project – no matter how big or small, it’s always best to hold several different kinds of events so as to appeal to as many people as possible. You also want to take the time to choose the best events for your fundraising, and plan them out as best you can, to make sure that you get as much as you can out of each event.

Fundraising can be a tough job, and it often takes several different events to raise the money needed for your project. That’s why we have compiled this list of fundraising ideas for you to make the most of!

Here’s our list of 100 Fundraising Ideas!

  • Basket raffle
  • Hold a yard sale
  • Bachelor or bachelorette auction
  • Bake Sale
  • Bake-off
  • Lessons with a volunteer teacher
  • Board game tournament
  • Quiz night
  • Theatrical production
  • Bucket street collection
  • Butler auction
  • Fun run
  • Car washing
  • Spelling Bee
  • Car detailing
  • Photo/portrait sessions
  • Babysitting
  • Silent auction
  • Charity Ball
  • Singing benefit concert
  • Orienteering
  • Charity breakfast
  • Bring your dog to work
  • Pet show
  • Can drive
  • Cookbook
  • Car smash
  • Computer smash
  • Craft fair
  • Dinner auction
  • Eating contest
  • Face painting
  • Christmas Gift wrapping
  • Hair shaving
  • Marathon
  • Karaoke night
  • Kissing booth
  • Fashion show
  • Tea party
  • Yard work
  • Hire a hubby auction
  • Movie night
  • Calendar
  • Pajama day
  • Art show
  • Pet parade
  • Remembrance tree
  • Pie in face
  • Country fair
  • Rent-a-puppy
  • Event parking
  • Santa letters
  • Trashin’ fashion show
  • Weight loss challenge
  • Beauty pageant
  • Guess the number of jellybeans in the jar
  • Casual dress day
  • Walk-a-thon
  • Bag groceries
  • Dog walking
  • Winter bazaar
  • Carnival day
  • Battle of the bands
  • Dance-a-thon
  • Working bee
  • Cheese rolls
  • Swim-a-thon
  • Bingo night
  • Plant sale
  • Produce stall
  • Book sale
  • International dinner
  • Classic car show
  • Pumpkin decorating contest
  • Debate evening
  • Talent night
  • Comedy night
  • Flower show
  • Fitness tournament
  • Mini Olympics
  • Poetry and book reading
  • Tug of war
  • Tombola
  • Makeovers and manicures
  • Henna hand art
  • Lemonade stand
  • Barbecue lunch
  • Pancake breakfast
  • Gourmet cooking class
  • Singing telegrams
  • Block party
  • ‘Who Dunnit’ murder mystery party
  • Window washing
  • Event glow sticks
  • Rent-a-worker
  • Pamper evening
  • Teddy bear’s picnic
  • Stadium seat cushions
  • Tupperware party
  • Food Festival

We hope you enjoyed this list. Feel free to comment letting us know which ones are your favourite, and which ones helped you raise the most funds for your cause!