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Mar 13, 2017 · 5 min read

How to create successful fundraisers?

How to create successful fundraisers?

With many not-for-profits, schools and other community groups operating under some pretty severe financial constraints, fundraising events are one of the most regular occurrences on their calendars.

Of course, it’s not just as easy as just labelling an event a fundraiser and expecting people to show up.

These things take time, effort and problem-solving to produce. In order for a not-for-profit to reach its financial goals, running truly great fundraising events or programs is necessary to make people feel involved.

But even more important is the need to get people fired up about your cause.

If your not-for-profit is in need of a boost for its cashflow, here are 11 secrets of successful fundraising you should follow.


1. Don’t be shy about asking people for money

Money makes the world go around, and if you’re not asking for it then you’re never going to get it.

Some organisers of not-for-profits or community groups may feel bashful or ashamed at asking people to hand over their hard-earned cash. You need to let go of that feeling and instead, put that request front and centre in whatever event you organise.

Of course, don’t be overbearing. But make sure you label your event or pitch clearly: it’s a fundraiser and you need money. Better yet, include a target so people can see you need a tangible amount of funds to get whatever it is you need.


2. Be specific in your funding purpose

People want to know where their money is going. If you’re too general in asking people for cash, then they’re less likely to attend your event unless they’re heavily invested in your organisation’s overall goal.

So create a narrative.

Get people interested in a specific purpose. If you’re a school, do you need new equipment, or tools for children to use? Or if you’re a not-for-profit, is there a specific outcome that you need money for?

People will be more willing to hand over money and attend your event if you say, “we need money to buy our kids new computers in order to improve their learning experience”, rather than simply, “we need money”.

Attach a purpose for your event, rather than a general call, and people will be more willing to lend a hand.


3. Be knowledgeable about your outcomes

If you’re going to be specific about what you need money for, then be ready to answer people’s questions. If your money will improve grades or quality of life for people, then have statistics ready to show how that’s the case.

Back up your call for money with evidence the money is actually doing some good, and then put that information up front when you ask people to either hand over cash, or attend a fundraising bash.


4. Create a video

Getting people to give you money isn’t going to be easy. They need to feel invested in what you’re doing, and to do that they’ll need to see real, tangible people in front of them.

So put some effort into creating a really top-notch video that explains what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and how much money you need to do it.

Check out some great examples here of fundraisers that have made videos to explain what it is they’re doing. Don’t skimp – be sure to make this a truly great video, although you don’t need to pay a fortune to make one, either. Shooting with a smartphone will do. You could even include some of the people you’re helping in the video to drive the message home.


5. Spread your video on social media

Ideally you would have an established social media presence already. If not, you need to get one – and then plaster your video wherever you can.

Clearly, don’t go overboard. But you should make sure the message gets shared. Target influencers, people in your community, even local members of parliament if you need to get the word out. If you have a budget, even a couple of hundred dollars worth of Facebook ads can help you out.

Social media needs content to work. If you have a great video, then start sharing it. If you’ve done the rest of the work, people will share it for you.


6. Be ready for when people want to give

It’s all well and good to prepare for an actual event, but you need to be ready for when people want to give at any moment. Perhaps they can’t make it to your event, or they’re very busy and just want to make a split-second decision.

Firstly, this is why you should have a compelling call-to-action in your social content, including flyers. But that call to action needs to lead to a place where they can give money at any point.

Ideally, you should set up a landing page with information on your fundraising goal and targets. Include as much information as possible, but prioritise the area on the page where people can donate money. It won’t take much effort – on TryBooking, you can even set up a page to take donations alongside bookings. But it’s important to do so, as people are more likely to give when they’ve just viewed your message. Don’t let them hear your story then forget about it.


7. Think small, not big

When fundraising, especially at events, it can be tempting to target people who you may feel can give a lot of money. That isn’t the best strategy.

One of the reasons Barack Obama and Bernie Sanders managed to break political donation records in the United States is that they targeted voters who gave donations around the $20 or $30 mark – millions of them. If you cast a wider net, and accept donations at any level, then you’re going to make a bigger impact than by targeting a select group.


8. Put the fun in fundraising

When you create an event, don’t make it a drag. Don’t put the emphasis on the fact you have so much money to earn – instead, put the emphasis on the fun. People want to have a good time, and when they’re satisfied they’ll hand over money. It can be tempting to drive home how serious your financial situation is, but don’t go overboard. Ensure people are enjoying themselves and the money will follow.


9. Create smaller events throughout the year

If you don’t want to put as much pressure on your organisation, then consider quarterly or monthly events. But here’s the catch – you don’t necessarily want to brand those as fundraising activities, as it might put people off. Instead, combine these events with the previous advice and make these fun, regular activities that people would normally want to attend – like a trivia night. That way, you’re achieving both goals.


10. Break down the numbers for people

You may notice every once in a while, Wikipedia puts a huge banner on its website and outright states that they need money to keep going. It’s no frills and it works. But the reason it works is because they make the donation accessible to people. Instead of saying, “we need $1 million”, they say, “if everyone who reads this gives $2, we won’t have to ask for money again for another year”.

Make it personal, make it accessible. Reaching $1 million is a hard goal for one person to process, but giving $2? Sure thing.


11. Follow up with everyone – even those who didn’t give

If you hold an event and have a guest list, then you need to follow up with people. Don’t necessarily ask them for money again, just send them a note thanking them for their attendance or participation, and give them some information on where the money you received has gone – and who it’s helping. The more you stay in contact and show them the benefits of the money, the more likely they’re going to end up giving you money again. 


Get started with your own fundraiser today using these tips - and don't forget to contact us if you need help! 


Events made easy

The TryBooking Team

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