Fundraisers aren’t always connected to an organised charity or non-profit. Sometimes we’re inspired to help an organisation, individual or family in our community that needs our support.
It may be due to serious illness, a need for resources or unforseen hardship that prompts the community to rally to raise funds.
But if you’re not a trained or seasoned fundraiser how can you make your cause count?
How much do you need to raise?
Your community fundraising target will determine what you need to do it meet (and beat) it. Discuss your ideas with the people or organisations you want to help. What do they need most and when do they need it?
Be realistic about what you can achieve in the time you have.
What do you want to do?
There are all sorts of ways to raise money. You can commit to a tough personal challenge, such as running a marathon or a long ocean swim.
Or you can keep it as simple as setting up an online donation page or running an online raffle. A cash prize raffle where the winner takes a percentage of the ticket sales can be done wholly online and is an easy way to run a competition without having to source prizes.
Traditional bake sales or lemonade stands are still a firm favourite, particularly if you’re supporting a popular community cause.
Pro tip - plan to set up your stand on a day/in a location where there’s lots of foot traffic.
But before you commit!
Think about how you will collect your funds. Bake sales and lemonade stands are obvious, unless you have access to a credit card machine you’ll be using cash. Make sure you have a coin float to facilitate those early sales.
Online raffles and donations are also straightforward. Although do check-in with your online provider to make sure their credit card platform is secure.
If you’re undertaking a personal challenge you may need to set-up a web-based sponsorship page. There are lots of services online that support individual fundraising campaigns e.g. GoFundMe. Shop around and find one that suits your needs.
Set a deadline
Have a fixed day and time for your fundraiser to close. As the deadline gets closer you can ramp-up the messaging and create urgency by reminding supporters they only have a short amount of time to get involved.
Once you’ve decided on the style of your fundraiser a key next step is to spread the word. Getting your cause in front of as many people as possible gives you the best chance of raising the most money.
Tell your story
It’s important to emotionally engage people with your cause. However you decide to communicate your fundraiser, take time to explain why you’re doing what you’re doing.
Why does your cause matter and how will your fundraiser will make a positive difference? What will happen if you don’t raise funds?
It helps potential supporters to be able to visualise how their money will be used. If possible, be specific about where the money will go. Will it buy equipment, treatment or experiences?
Make a compelling connection for people. Allow them to empathise with your cause by thinking how they would feel if they had the same need.
Share your story
In the digital age, story sharing has become second nature to many of us. Social media is a great way to raise awareness for your campaign.
Shape your communications depending on the channel, e.g. Facebook is appropriate for longer posts whereas Twitter posts are shorter and snappier. Think about your target audience. Younger supporters will respond best to Instagram, older supporters will be more active on Facebook.
If you have a link to an online site (e.g. supporter, donation or raffle) include it in your communications. Links are perfect for sharing across group messaging such as WhatsApp and Messenger.
Try and work to a communication schedule. A single post won’t be enough to get the cause front and centre in people’s minds. Plan to send posts and updates over a number of weeks. Communicate no more than 1-2 times a week to avoid supporter fatigue. In the run-up to your deadline, you can send 2-3 final reminders over the final hours to capture the attention of any last-minute supporters.
Pro Tip: Keep an eye on your notifications so you can answer any questions and/or circulate messages of support.
Good luck with your community fundraising event. We know it's going to be awesome!