Fundraising Tips and Ideas for the New Year

It’s the first week of January and nonprofit and community organizations are thinking about the many opportunities the new year may bring with regard to fundraising.  What we suggest, is that you go into the new year being well-informed and organized.  Perhaps some of these fundraising tips and ideas will help you make the most of your fundraising events for 2013.

The first thing you’ll want to do is create a plan.  Even if the plan changes, or dates move around, or the theme of your fundraiser transforms into something else…without a plan, you have nowhere to start. Here are some quick guidelines to help you with your planning.

  1. Begin by setting goals:  Determine how much money your organization needs to raise this year, when are the funds needed, and estimate costs for fundraising initiatives.
  2. Brainstorm Ideas: If you aren’t sure what kind of fundraiser you want to host, begin by listing ideas. There are so many possibilities for fundraisers, you need to decide what kind of fundraiser will work best for your organization, while considering a theme that mirrors your mission.  You can choose between charity golf tournaments, walk-a-thon events, gala fundraising events, and online charity auctions. This is the fun part!  Engage your staff in the brainstorming.  People are more inclined to contribute if they feel as though they were part of the planning process.
  3. Create a Plan: One you decide on your fundraiser, you’ll want to create a written project plan that spells out goals, timelines, and outlines roles and responsibilities. Assign motivated individuals into managing roles and equip them with the tools they need to do a great job. Determine the best time of year to host your fundraiser (perhaps planning around an anniversary or event that is relevant to your mission). Create a tentative timeline and checklist so you are sure to stay on track.
  4. Identify Fundraising Sources: Create a list of potential donors and sponsor prospects for each fundraiser.  (some sources may be a better fit for one fundraiser vs. another). Your list can include local businesses, colleagues and co-workers, friends and family. Be sure to consider the vast networks of each of your staff members.
  5. Promoting your fundraiser: What will you do to spread the word? Create a fundraising website where you can share your mission, post photos, track participant progress, and collect online donations. Then determine how you will drive traffic (potential supporters & donors) to your site.  You can send email blasts, distribute press releases, and post listings on event calendars. Be sure to invite all of your participants to utilize their social networks as this is a great way to extend the reach of your campaign.

Whatever you decide, we wish you the best!  Feel free to browse our fundraising resource center where you’ll find guidelines to help you plan your fundraiser, as well as free downloadable templates and forms for you to use.  Consider using online fundraising software to manage your fundraising event and help you raise more money while saving time and resources. Good Luck.