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How To Organise A Small Fundraiser (With Big Fundraiser Smarts)

A small fundraiser can still mean a big workload. Whether it's a community bake sale or local charity silent auction - every small fundraiser requires planning and organising.  

If you’re time poor but still want your fundraiser to be a smash success, here are some hot tips to maximise results.

Plan Ahead

If you’re short on time, finding extra time to plan your fundraising seems counterintuitive.  But a little planning each day can make organisation super easy.  Set aside some time (even if it’s just 5- 10 minutes) every day to tick off tasks.

Breaking the planning down into short chunks of time will make organisation feel less onerous.

One of the most time-consuming elements for raffles and silent auctions is engaging sponsors and prize donors.

Put a call out on social media for donations from the community. Provide easy drop-off points or offer to collect.  Give some guidance on the types of prizes you’re looking for.  Think about your supporter demographic and go from there. Are they sporty, retired, arty, students or families?

Pro Tip: don't forget to approach the big chains in your local area. They're as much a part of the community as smaller businesses and can be keen to lend their brand name to local events. Make sure you cheerlead their support across your  social media and communication channels.

Teamwork

Lighten the load and share responsibilities. Get your friends and family on board to form an organisational team. Delegate tasks according to skill-sets, enthusiasm and available time.

Do you have someone with marketing experience but who is only available in the evenings? They could be perfect to post a few notices on y social media campaign. Know someone with a background in sales? Maybe they can help sign-up a few  sponsors.

Pro Tip: Try to avoid overloading one particular person with lots of working. Spreading the workload keeps helpers happy and enthusiastic!  

Collaborate and Win

Talking of teamwork, think beyond your cause and see if you can collaborate with similar organisations or individuals to upscale.

Can your local primary school hold a joint fundraiser with the local high school? Can your softball team get together with the local football team to raise money for new equipment?

Joint fundraisers spread the load but can also raise more. Plus, a single event (rather than multiple events throughout the year) is less likely to exhaust local donors' good will.

Spend a Little, Make a Lot

Just because your fundraiser is small doesn't mean it has to look unprofessional.

Investing in graphic design will give your event a recognisable brand and credibility as a must-attend event.  If you’re lucky enough you might even know a graphic designer who’s willing to donate a few hours work (worth asking on social media).

You can apply the artwork to social media pages, posters and flyers. A professionally designed logo will help attract support from people who may not have a direct link to the cause itself.

Marketing Counts

If you’re running an event at a venue, you want great attendance. If you’re running an online event (e.g. donation drive or online raffle) you want as many participants as possible.

A simple marketing campaign is easy, cheap to run and gets the word out.

Think about your audience and choose your main communication channel.  A school event will suit a targeted email campaign (ask the school to circulate emails via their database). A community event may work better on Facebook.

If you're using social media, keep your posts regular but not too frequent (you don’t want to annoy your supporters and donors).  

Keep posts entertaining and/or informative, with eye-catching graphics to grab attention.  

Pro tip: Think about using event 'teasers’, e.g. information about the cause and shout-outs for help and donations.

And Don't Forget Your Sponsors

While local business will be delighted to support a worthy cause, exposure for their business makes the connection even more interesting to them.

Selling your fundraiser as a marketing opportunity for their business is a great way to attract sponsors and donations.

If you're running a silent auction, get a mock-up of the auction web-site page. Showcasing how prominent donated prizes or sponsor brands will look is an effective way to sell the opportunity.

Make sure you promote sponsors across your communication channels. Include sponsor logos on emails, create advocacy posts on Facebook or use Twitter to tell everyone about your awesome sponsors and donors.

Little Tips for Big Returns

There are lots of small things you can do to generate interest and excitement during the event run-up.

If you're running a silent auction, have a display table showcasing prizes in an area with lots of foot traffic.

School receptions, sports club social spaces and community halls are all good options for people to see the exciting prizes they could win.

Holding a raffle? Offer an enticing prize for the person who sells the most tickets. Approach local groups for help in selling tickets. Scouts, Guides and junior sports clubs all have a community focus and may be keen to help.

On the Day

Your clever and careful organisation will pay off and you'll raise heaps of money for your chosen case.

BUT something is almost guaranteed to go wrong so be prepared and don't panic.

Work out a risk assessment plan before the day. What if….happens? This could be wet weather, last minute cancellations (e.g. entertainment or caterers), illness or equipment failure.

Identifying the big things that can go wrong means you're well prepared should the worst happen. And the little things? As the saying goes, don’t sweat the small stuff!

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