Establishing an Annual Campaign

Are you trying to raise money for your cause? If so, an annual fund raiser may be a good way to accomplish this. Annual fund raisers are not just telemarketing opportunities. They also give you and your organization the ability to reach out to people who would want to be included in the cause’s plans and to get in touch with past contributors in case they would like to renew their support. Organizing an annual fund raiser may seem daunting, but with a bit of help and this article as your road map and field guide, it can go much more smoothly. If you are thinking of organizing an annual fund raiser for your cause then take the first step. Read this article, and then start your annual fund raiser today!

 

The Three Fund-raising Periods

There are three relevant fund-raising periods in a year. As a fund-raiser, it is important to know about these periods and to keep them firmly in mind as you attempt to organize your annual fund-raiser. The first important time is the end of year period, covering the time-frame from November through December. This is the point at which it is most feasible for donors to give and for your cause to receive donations. If you intend on doing an annual fund-raiser, this would be a perfect time to do it. The second period is the period between January and June. This period is still very lucrative but not quite as lucrative as the year-end period. Finally, the least lucrative period of all is summertime, the months of July and August. Do not host your fund-raiser in either of these months.

 

Pay Attention To Your Contributors

As you are calling possible contributors, listen to what they say carefully. Keep records not only of what they donate and who they are but also their attitudes on donating. If they seem willing to donate but say they do not have the money at this time, make sure to take note of that.

 

Always Follow Through

If a potential donor says they would love to give but do not have money or that they cannot give right now, be sure to make a note of that information. It can be very valuable. When you make a second round of calls, be sure to follow up with these people. It is possible that the potential donor was giving an excuse to get off the phone with you. However, it is just as likely that they really do want to donate to the cause but really did not have the money. If you never call those people back, you will never know which it is, and you may lose potential money. As an added note, when you call back, do not be pushy, as that will make a possible donation turn into a definite no.

 

Organizing an annual fund-raiser may seem like a daunting prospect, but it does not have to be. Using the tips above as your road map, the journey will be much smoother than it would otherwise have been. You will find your amount of donations increasing and perhaps more importantly, you will have a wider base of loyal donors.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Fundraising

Deciding to fundraise is a brave and important commitment. But aside from selecting your cause and receiving donations….what else do you need to know?

Here are a few tips of what you should and should not do while fundraising. Follow these tips to get you off to a great start and ensure that you pull your fundraiser off successfully!

 

Don’t:

  • DON’T be afraid of asking people for contributions – your cause needs them!
  • DON’T take no for an answer if a person’s reason for declining is because they don’t think it’s a worthy cause. Instead, take te opportunity to challenge their perceptions.
  • DON’T just ask for money – you will need all kinds of contributions from people whether it is their time, goods or money. Be willing to let people help in different ways.
  • DON’T get stuck in old ways – regularly re-evaluate your methods and what is and isn’t working.
  • DON’T try to fix the whole world in one day – focus on smaller goals and the tangible changes that reaching these goals will bring about.
  • DON’T put forward false positivity if things are not going well. Be straight with your contributors if you reach a bump in the road. You never know – this may even further motivate your donors to act!
  • DON’T get distracted or tire from the main goal – make the fundraiser your primary focus until the targets you set have been reached.
  • DON’T try to do everything on your own. Fundraising takes a lot of work so delegate some tasks to the other committee members, or rope in your friends and family.
  • DON’T use a one-size-fits-all approach. Try something…if it doesn’t work, try something else.
  • DON’T hesitate to ask the same contributor’s again – people get busy and need reminding. They may also have different circumstances than they did when you asked the first time and may be able to offer something else.
  • DON’T forget to consider the costs you will need to cover and incorporate it into your fundraising goals. The last thing you want is for everyone helping out to start feeling out of pocket because they had to cover all the expenses.
  • DON’T become greedy about donations – every penny counts.
  • DON’T be unrealistic about what your fundraiser can achieve in the time that you have – you have to set targets based on the resources that you have.
  • DON’T sit back and wait for the money to come to you…it won’t. You will have to work for it.
  • DON’T spam your contributor’s or overwhelm them – they are your biggest asset!

 

Do:

  • DO ask your donors to support your cause. If they don’t know about it, they can’t help.
  • DO keep emphasising the positives and the tangible effects that raising this money will have on your cause.
  • DO acknowledge and thank each and every contributor for their donation – whether large or small.
  • DO keep an open mind as to how people can help – if someone can help in a way that you hadn’t thought of, hear them out.
  • DO involve your donors – keep them informed with a newsletter, social media pages or phone calls. Keep donors informed along the way – what progress has been made and what goals are still active.
  • DO check that your fundraiser is legal. This might mean checking local by-laws and guidelines before setting your fundraiser in stone.
  • DO build your database by keeping accurate records of names and contact information and continuing to build on it.
  • DO streamline your approach to fundraising. Ensure that all of your fundraising work is in keeping with the goals and missions of the organisation and is working towards the overall objective.
  • DO be specific about donations – tell people how much you need and how they can contribute.
  • DO take advantage of the resources you have available, particularly free ones.
  • DO utilise social media by opening fundraising pages and spreading the word through social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.
  • DO put your money where your mouth is. Even those volunteering their time should lead by example by contributing to their cause.
  • DO set a specific target so that everyone can see what you are aiming for.
  • DO give your donor’s several options for contributing by offering a mailing address for cheques as well as internet banking options and ‘Pay Now’.
  • DO remember to have fun!

Using Awareness Days To Raise Funds

Do you have a cause you support? Do you want to support the cause, but have no money to donate yourself? Do you want to earn money and have fun in the process? If you answered yes to any of these questions this article is for you. We will discuss several ways to earn money using national awareness days as a catalyst for garnering support and raising public awareness of the issue that you support while still making the process fun and easy. What is more, you will not even have to worry about calling donors to ask them for money, as no one likes telemarketers and the likelihood of reaching your goal when using that method is very low.

 

Do Something You Love

If you have an activity you love doing, you can use it to earn money on an awareness day. For example, if your passion is knitting, you can knit scarves or shawls in the cause’s colors such as pink for breast cancer awareness and then sell these shawls on National Breast Cancer Awareness Day. If you love to run, then it would be entirely possible to organize a race or marathon on an awareness day. This combination of activities you love and the boost in support brought out by the awareness day will ensure that you will earn money for your chosen cause as it is quite clear why you are knitting scarves or running a race.

 

Do a Cook-off

Everyone likes food! Another idea for your cause’s awareness day is to host a cook-out. Charge an admission fee, and then let people eat free. Charging the admission price per plate or bowl is the best way to do this. That way, if people would like seconds or thirds, they will need to pay the admission fee for another plate. For this to work successfully, it is necessary that the admission fee not be a lot of money, perhaps five or six dollars at the most. You would be surprised how quickly the money adds up. To get people interested beforehand, send out questionnaires asking what sorts of foods people would want. That way you will not have a lot of leftover food that no one will eat.

 

Earning money for your cause can be very easy if you have good products you have made or services you can render. But doing something special on your cause’s awareness day makes the likelihood of meeting your donation goal even higher. People associate concepts and colors with events in their mind. If you do something to earn money for your cause on an awareness day, there will be no doubt at all where the donations are going.

Applying For Grants

Non-profit organizations and charities both rely heavily on grants to help pay for the costs of upkeep, events, and day to day functioning.  If you are a part of a charity or non-profit but have never applied for a grant before, the task can seem a little daunting!  Read on to learn helpful tips that you can put into practice the next time you apply for a grant.

 

Determine Your Eligibility

If you are not able to receive a grant, there is no reason to apply for it, so the most important first step you can take in your search is to simply determine whether or not your company is eligible for a particular source of funding.  You must know the type of charity or non-profit you run, and you must choose whether or not to apply as an individual or as the company itself.  If you do not have this information, you cannot get very far in the application process!  Your company might be listed as an educational, government, or public housing organization, or it might simply fall under the non-profit umbrella term.  Different funding is available in different categories.

 

Understand The Steps

Funding opportunity announcements are released regularly from grant-making agencies that are looking to back non-profits.  When you find a funding opportunity announcement that you seem to be eligible for, locate the application and gather your information.  Register to apply through a grant venue, and wait for your registration to process.  This step is crucial, and must be completed before you can apply to the grant itself.

 

Research The Grant-Making Agency

The agency that is offering the grant will have a web site that is full of useful information to help you understand what it does and why it is interested in backing a non-profit.  Knowing what the agency focuses on and cares about will help you write a custom-tailored proposal that is sure to impress those who have the final vote on the grant’s recipient.

 

Fill Out The Application

Realize that you might have a lot of competition for certain grants, so your application’s professional nature and complete information will be deciding factors in the final decision.  It is necessary to have a full-scale concept of what your organization is and where it is going before you ever begin the application process.  You will need to write a detailed proposal, which showcases your ideas and explains what your company does, as well as how the grant money can help improve its functionality.  The more specific you can be, the better!  Do not simply say that you need the money to pay for expenses and upkeep.  Talk instead about how the funding will help you grow toward your ultimate goal.  This is also a good time to restate the grant-making agency’s goals and policies as they relate to your non-profit.

 

 

After you complete the application, submit it and be patient.  The screening process may take a long time, but you will eventually find out if your application made it to the final assessment, and if your non-profit was selected as the recipient.

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!

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.