The following fundraiser tips will help insure a successful fundraising campaign... and a legal one.
Churches and nonprofits organize thousands of fundraisers every year. However, many of them could be breaking the law and not even be aware of it.
On a federal level:
If at all possible, start your fundraising campaign at least 6 months early. You need time to decide which fundraising method you want to use and look for volunteers and properly train them.
When setting the fundraising goal, be specific. Why do you need the money? How much money do you need? Involve everyone in setting the goal and then make that the focus of your campaign from start to finish.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make in fundraising is trying to do everything yourself rather than delegate.
Recruit a committee of three or four volunteers to help organize the activity and recruit any other needed volunteers. For example, assign one person to take care of publicity; two to handle money collection and record keeping; and another to manage delivery of the products.
Once you get some commitments, get them motivated and excited about what you are doing.
There are many types of fundraisers. There are the classical bake sales and car washes (you can expand on the car wash fundraiser by also having a mini concession stand with hot dogs and drinks for car wash customers).
There are also some great fundraising companies that have some popular products. There are some things you might want to know about the company you are considering, such as:
Once you’ve selected the fundraiser you wish to do, set the dates and place them on your organization's activities calendar. Clear activities and crucial dates with appropriate officials (church board, pastor, and nonprofit administration heads) to avoid conflicts with other events. Now relax for a few months.
About a month before your start date, meet with your fundraising committee to review last minute details. Make a list of materials that you’ll be responsible for and those that the company will supply. Determine how many adult volunteers you’ll need to execute the fundraiser at every step. Develop a master schedule of important dates for everyone to use as his or her blueprint.
Include such details as: advance promotion (press releases, newsletter articles, billboards); arrival dates for company materials; kick-off activities with church members; deadlines for orders/money to be turned in; reminder notices/P.A. announcements; delivery of products and prizes; announcement of results to all participants; volunteer appreciation; and a wrap-up meeting to review the entire event.
About 1 to 2 weeks before your fundraiser kicks off, send fliers to all your participating members announcing your fundraising goal and when they can expect to receive their fundraising packets/products. Post dates on the church billboard, web site and newsletter.
1 to 2 days before you start, touch base with fundraising company, church/nonprofit financial administrators and volunteers to reconfirm last minute details. Gather and sort the supplies you’ll need from the company. Call volunteers to remind them of their responsibilities and when they’re needed.
Again, fundraisers will vary widely. Sometimes products will go home with the participants. Sometimes they will pick up the orders. There are some instances that the product may go directly to the end-user.
Have enough volunteers on hand to handle products at the appropriate time, making sure there is someone to take care of missing orders. Forward invoices to your organization’s treasurer or bookkeeper to ensure prompt payment. Then, congratulate yourself on a job well done.
Send out thank you notes to your donors if appropriate and also to your volunteers. You need to make sure they realize how appreciated they are.
It’s hard to find people who can really make a quality fundraiser work. If you’ve found them, make sure they are recognized. It’ll go a long ways towards putting together a winning team the next time.
Note: To continue having successful fundraiser...see Keeping Adequate Fundraiser Records.