A small fundraiser doesn't mean a small workload. Whether it's a school fete, local charity auction or community bake sale, every small fundraiser requires lots of planning and organising. But there are plenty of tips and tricks to help make sure your fundraiser is a success. Want to organise a small fundraiser like a pro? Read on...
Giving yourself plenty of time is the key to making sure you get the most out of your small fundraiser. One of the most time consuming elements is engaging sponsors and prize donors. It can mean many hours pounding the pavement and selling your cause. Securing the support of local businesses can take 4-6 weeks, so make sure you build this time into your schedule. Pro Tip: don't be afraid to approach the big chains in your local area. Their management often have authority to support worthy causes. They're as much a part of the community as smaller businesses and can be keen to lend their brand name to local events.
Enlist the support of an organisational team. It's unlikely that you can sort everything on your own, so lighten the load and share responsibilities. Delegate tasks according to skill-sets, enthusiasm and available time. Have someone with marketing experience but who is only available in the evenings? They could be perfect to manage your social media campaign. Have someone with a background in sales? Maybe they can help with sponsorship. Pro Tip: Not everyone can make face-to-face meetings, so mix-up the format of planning sessions by using online meeting places such as GoToMeeting and Facebook Live.
Talking of teamwork, think beyond your cause and look at opportunities to scale up by working with similar organisations. Can the local primary school hold a fundraiser with the local high school? Can your football team get together with the local netball team? Joint fundraisers spread the load but can also raise more. A single event (rather than multiple events throughout the year) is less likely to exhaust local donors' good will.
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. 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.
To make sure your fundraiser is well attended you need to tell people about it. A simple marketing campaign is easy and cheap to run. Think about your audience and choose your primary channels of communication. A school event will suit a targeted email campaign (utilising the school's database) whereas a community event may work better on Facebook. If you're using social media make sure you make regular posts. Keep them entertaining and informative. Think about event 'teasers', information about the cause and shout-outs for help and donations.
While local business will be delighted to support a worthy cause, they're also looking for exposure for their business. Selling the fundraiser as a marketing opportunity for their business is a great way to attract sponsors and donations. If you're running a charity auction, think about getting a mock-up of the auction web-site page. Showing businesses how prominent their donated prize or sponsor brand 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.
To maximise revenue raised on the big day there are lots of small things you can do to generate interest and excitement during the event run-up. If you're running a live or silent auction, think about having 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 to enlist help in selling tickets. Scouts, Guides and the Women's Institute all have a community focus and may be keen to help.
All your planning and hard work 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 happens ifâ€¦.? 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.