Bird-a-thons are unique and fun peer-to-peer fundraising events that can be used for many audiences, such as schools, nonprofit organizations (especially the Audubon Society and wildlife organizations) and businesses fundraising for a cause. They bring together birders, conservationists, and people who cherish wildlife and offer your donors and participants an opportunity for an adventurous and educational experience in finding and identifying birds.
How To Organize a Bird-a-thon
Bird-a-thons, like all fundraising events, require careful execution and planning to be successful. Organizers must determine the format and goals for the event, then recruit birders and sponsors to make it happen. There are many key elements in making a birdathon a success, year after year. Here we outline the basics to get your event off the ground.
Step 1: Assemble a Leadership Team
Successful fundraising events hinge on the recruitment and action of a strong leadership team. Ideally your team should be comprised of individuals with diverse skills and talents that share a common interest in your organization’s success. Development personnel will head up the event, but Board Members and other volunteers are also key to running an event economically. Getting your team together and committed is the first step in your bird-a-thon planning.
Step 2: Determine Logistics & Financial Goals
Your leadership team will need to determine the date and location(s) of your birding event as soon as possible in the planning process. To ensure the success of your event, be sure to give yourselves enough time to manage all of the logistics. You generally want to have at least 6 months to plan a peer-to-peer event, and many successful events start planning a year in advance. Don’t forget to determine financial goals at this stage and create a fundraising budget to help you get there.
Step 3: Implement Fundraising Software
Utilizing Peer-to-peer Crowdfunding software is a must for bird-a-thons. DoJiggy Pledge is a fundraising platform designed specifically for these types of events where individual and team participants solicit and track donations and pledges. Each of your event participants creates and manages their personal fundraising page and invites friends and family (via email and Social Media) to support your organization through secure, online donations. Administrators configure a minimum donation goal for participants, as well as the types of donations and pledges accepted.
- Provide participants with Personal Fundraising Pages to customize and promote your fundraiser
- Fundraising Thermometers and Leaderboards display Top Team & Individual fundraisers and promote competition, so you raise more
- Embedded Social Media Share links encourage walkers to share the event w/ friends and family
- Personal Control Panel allows fundraisers to manage their personal and team pages, email friends and family, and add check donations
- Easily enter checks and off-line donations at no additional cost
Sign up for a free 14 day trial today to see how DoJiggy Pledge can help your organization more effectively run your bird-a-thon.
Step 4: Recruit Participants
Start with your network: When it comes time to recruit participants and volunteers, nothing will be more important than your network and your leadership branch. These people are often well established in the community, and will not only to participate, but will ask associates, friends and family members to participate as well. Encourage this! Don’t forget your Sponsors: Often, companies value opportunities to engage their workforce in community activities. Therefore, it is important to ask companies not only for sponsorship to help offset the event costs, but also for their participation. Team registrations offer a fun and easy way for businesses and companies to participate.
Step 5: Manage Donations and Pledges Online
DoJiggy P2P Crowdfunding software is a complete registration and donation management system designed specifically for peer-to-peer events where individual and team participants solicit and track donations and pledges for a charitable cause. Streamline your donation collection and reporting with us. Many organizations report raising two to three times more money by taking their crowdfunding events online and extending the reach of the fundraiser.
Look to some successful birdathons for ideas on how to make your event a success. The Tucson Audubon Society has held an annual bird-a-thon for the past 25 years. Their bird-a-thon runs over a 10 day time period filled with fun, social gatherings at bars and restaurants. They offer several, expert led bird walks, taking donors and participants on walks in natural areas to cite beautiful bird species. This is a friendly competition in which the teams and individuals citing the most wild bird species are awarded with fun prizes at their closing BBQ.
Holding your bird-a-thon crowdfunding event over 10 days, as in the case of The Tucson Audubon Society, gives you and your donors a chance for mingling and networking. Donors can make general online donations and purchase a ticket for a social gathering if they don’t have time for birding. The ten day schedule allows for extra marketing and advertising opportunities in sending out milestones to your donors, asking them to help you in surpassing your fundraising goals.
Schools can use this model for their school fundraising campaign, and ask teachers or volunteers with knowledge of bird species to guide the walks, making the fundraiser an educational experience for students. Nonprofit organizations may ask birders within their community to be their experts, and form lasting partnerships to help each other with fundraising. Many people are interested in birding and have much knowledge regarding bird species as they pay attention to these beautiful creatures every day – experts are everywhere.
Read more on an environmental organization in Boulder that hosted a Birding Day, focusing on kids’ involvement.
The Golden Gate Audubon Society focused their 2012 bird-a-thon on helping kids. The education involved in birding is great: citing various species, learning about their habitat and what needs to occur in maintaining their environment. Becoming conscious of the science and beauty around us at an early age is priceless, and at any age. The Golden Gate Audubon Society has birding scorecards on their fundraising website for their participants to download. They offer a great experience for anyone interested in birding whether participating as an individual or joining a team.
There is an organization in northern Minnesota who is just getting started with their bird-a-thon website, Friends of Sax-zimBog. Their bird-a-thon pledge fundraising event will be held this coming January. They’re hoping for a high temperature of 20 degrees below zero for their brrrrrdathon.
More Peer-to-Peer Resources
DoJiggy offers various walk-a-thon resources and pledge software to help you plan and manage any “a-thon” themed event, such as a bird-a-thon. The 14 day free trial will help you in getting started with your bird-a-thon pledge fundraising website, or any other type of event such as charity golf tournament or auction.