How to raise real money with real people
Let’s face it, fundraising can seem really daunting for newbies.
Whether you have a group has 300 members or if it’s for a small soccer team of 12. Taking this on can feel overwhelming. Plus, it doesn’t build confidence when everyone you turn too gives you that look when you bring up fundraising. Sometimes it can seem like a dirty word. But we’re here to help make your first time…..or your fiftieth easier.
The first step for newbies is to create a strategy document. This doesn’t have to be something fancy on company letterhead, but don’t skip this step! Many smaller groups tend to be very casual when organizing their fundraising campaigns. This can be disastrous as you get further along in the process. Start out with a clear direction to help you get to your goal.
Don’t be afraid to start a spreadsheet that includes the actions and responsibilities of each person in the group. If you create this in Google Docs, you can share it will all your group members. The people can see it and add to it as needed. Best of all, this is free and you’ll soon discover that it’s an incredibly valuable tool. Whether it’s the vacation schedule of your teammates or who is brings snacks, Google Docs will become a favourite.
Put deadlines on the individual tasks and keep track of them. You probably won’t be the only newbie on the team. Help everyone out by being as clear as possible. Knowing who will do each task and having it on paper means everyone knows their roles. It will also make it easy to check off items as they get completed.
Identify who your audience will be. If you are a part of a team or school group, this will be easy. Obviously it will be the friends and family members of you players or students. Take the time to think about who you will be selling too. You want to know so that you can focus your efforts when it’s time.
Choosing a fundraising product
It’s really important to have thought about who your target audience is before you take this next step. You need to know who your supporters will be so that you can choose a product to sell that they need or want. Newbies shouldn’t be afraid to ask those who have been part of the group before. They likely know who your audience is. In general, food products tend to be pretty safe bets for any fundraiser. First, everyone needs food, so you are starting off on the right foot. Secondly, people eat the food, which means that they will need more if you run this again next year.
Choosing to sell non food items can be more difficult.
If you find the right item, you may get decent sales the first year, but it’s not sustainable. Finding that diamond of a product that everyone needs is very difficult. When you sell food, even if people don’t need to buy from you, many supporters will anyway.
Devise a marketing plan
When I was little, my school held a Skip-a-thon. In order to raise money we had to call all each of our friends and relatives. Then we had to get together with each one individually and collect the money. It was very time consuming. Thankfully, it couldn’t be any easier for newbies now because of social media. Most fundraising campaigns these days are done completely online. Use social media to get the word out. Have all your group members post on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. There will be some people that don’t use social media, so don’t forget to send them emails.
When setting up your marketing plan there are two important things to think about.
First, you need to make sure to tell people WHAT you are selling. These are the details such as the name of the product and the selling features of it. Maybe it’s organic coffee, or antibiotic free meat. Basically anything that tells your supporters that it’s a great product.
The next important point in your marketing plan is WHY you are selling the product. Don’t be afraid to tell a personal story about your group. This is where you sell yourselves as much as the product. Tell your supporters what your goal is. Maybe it’s to build a new playground at your school, or to travel to Provincials for your team. Whatever it is, people want to know why it is they should support you. Storytelling works. This is why major charities always focus in on one or two specific people when sending out their donation requests. Personal accounts pull at our heartstrings and make us feel connected to the cause.
This is a very effective strategy to bring in supporters.
So don’t be afraid to tell them about your team or group. People want to buy into your dream. Make sure that you help paint a picture for them so they can feel great about supporting you. If you have any photos, use those in your message too.
Keep track of your data
Here is where all your planning and putting stuff down on paper becomes really important. If you’ve done this, you will make this step so much easier. You may be one of the newbies now, but next year you’ll be a pro. Ultimately you want to be able to look back at your campaign and decide if it was successful or not. This will help you know if you want to make any changes for next time. You may also want to be able to see which team members made the most sales. Or which type of products sold the best if you had more than one. TeamFund does all of this electronically for you, which makes this much easier and faster. Whether you ran the campaign alone or with us, this is still a vital question to ask. It is bad enough running an unsuccessful fundraiser once, but you don’t want to do it twice. So make sure you can look back and figure out what worked and what didn’t.