If you’re in the business of fundraising for charities or other non-profit organizations, you know firsthand how tricky it can be to find the right opportunities that will allow you to raise the money you need without having to stress or put in effort that doesn’t result in sufficient pay off.
You also probably care about partnering with organizations and businesses that will be most likely to attract interested buyers who will either purchase in bulk or share the products with their friends and loved ones.
Whether you go a traditional route – like partnering with a local fast food chain or setting up an online donation portal – or a more whimsical idea – like selling custom lapel pins or unique home decor – there are plenty of opportunities to raise money in a way that feels aligned with your organization’s mission and audience.
Here are a few things that will help you organize the perfect fundraising opportunity, no matter what your financial goals are:
Create a Donation Page
Even if you’re also planning on facilitating in-person or sales-based fundraising opportunities, you should always have an online donation page for collecting funds as well. This way, even if someone isn’t interested in the physical object you’re selling, they still have an option to support your organization financially.
You can set up a donation page on your website or through a third party website like GoFundMe.
Find Something Fun To Sell
This is a technique long used by companies or schools trying to raise money to send kids on special class trips. Selling items is a fun, relatively simple way to raise funds in a way that gets all members of an organization involved and energized.
There are so many things you could potentially sell, and many of them are the type of specialty item people will be more than happy to seek out. Gourmet popcorn, super-soft sheets and blankets, chocolate bars, candles, t-shirts and coupon books are some of the most popular fundraising options. These wholesale items are specifically priced and designed to give you as high of an ROI as possible.
Plan a Special Event
Fundraising events are not only an excellent way to raise money – they can also be a place for people to make friends and connections that they’ll remember and cherish long after the event itself.
One of the most impactful fundraising activities can be securing a corporate sponsor, and once you’ve done so, planning a special event is the perfect time to formally thank them for their partnership and support.
This event can really take any form you’d like depending on your taste, budget and intention. From silent auctions to tournaments to walkathons to exclusive galas, there’s a special event for every size of organization.
It may seem like throwing an event puts you at risk of spending much more money than you’d bring in – however, there are ways to mitigate costs when planning a fundraising event for an organization. Many organizations will work to obtain service and product donations from invested parties – for instance, a local bar that donates wine or a local catering business that offers discounted or free services in exchange for promotion. In return for their services and products, offer each company free promotion at your event in the form of banners, marketing materials or signs.
Use PR To Your Advantage
When it comes to raising funds, raising awareness is often the first step. What better way to disseminate your organization’s name, mission and story to your community than by partnering with someone whose job is to elevate exactly that?
If you have the time and resources available to you, make an outreach list of journalists and PR professionals you can reach out to when you have an upcoming event or piece of news you’d like to share with the community. Utilizing PR is helpful not only when you’re in the process of reaching a specific fundraising goal, but throughout the entire year when you’re looking to get more people on board with your mission as recurring donors or sponsors.
Host a Community or Employee Event
Whether you’re raising money for your own company or for a local organization, creating entertainment value is a great way to get people excited about pitching in. Give your community a reason to bond and have a fun day or night and raise money by charging an entry fee, accepting donations throughout the night or even putting together a raffle. Event ideas include bowling, “paint and sip” art nights, karaoke, wine tasting or golf outings.
Unless you’re a major corporation, fundraising doesn’t necessarily have to be a super heavy lift. Ultimately, offering value for the people you’re requesting donations from is the biggest key to getting them on board and generating ongoing energy around your cause or organization.