Tips for Running a Successful Fundraising Program

Lisa Hirst Carnes | March 26, 2014

If you’ve been given the role of leading a fundraiser, it can often be difficult to know where to start. Should the committee start by working on gathering volunteers or coming up with ideas? Should you imitate other fundraisers or come up with something new?

Whether you’re stepping into a vacated position or creating a brand new fundraising effort, as the new leader, you have a prime opportunity. By taking a step back and coming up with fresh ideas, fundraising leaders can set themselves apart and ensure success.

Choose a Theme

Today’s consumers are bombarded with fundraising requests from a variety of worthy causes. Schools, churches, and charitable organizations all work hard to bring money in to sustain operations and help make the world a better place. To stand out in this crowded field, it’s important that a fundraiser create an image that resonates with the public. This starts with a theme.

Whether your fundraiser is enjoying its first year or celebrating year 20, a theme is an important part of the process. Each year, the committee should choose a theme that ties in with the mission of the organization the fundraiser helps. This theme should be incorporated into all event promotion to better reach your target audience.

Find the Right Product

Organizations constantly seek to find the right products to bring in dollars. Some organizations have a standard product they sell each year and that creates a branding opportunity in itself. Boy Scout wreaths are a great example of an organization that found something that worked and deployed it year after year.
While your organization doesn’t have to be locked down to one particular product, it is a good idea to find something that meets consumer demand. The primary factor driving your choice of product should be the audience. If your organization chooses a product that consumers already want, your campaign will be much more successful.

Have a Plan

Once your committee has developed a theme and chosen a product, it’s important to craft a detailed plan for your fundraiser. This should include a timeline for each milestone, as well as each person’s duties. Be sure to regroup regularly to ensure every team member is doing his or her part to keep the fundraiser progressing on schedule.

Be sure each committee member has a written copy of the fundraiser’s mission and goals and keeps that in mind across every decision being made. As the planning process progresses, it’s easy to get so caught up in making sure products are delivered and events are successful that all involved parties forget what the organization is trying to accomplish.

A fundraiser can be a challenging and rewarding endeavor. But in order to reach a successful conclusion, leaders must spend time carefully strategizing at the beginning to create a fundraising program that appeals to the community. By choosing the right products and branding your campaign, you’ll give supporters a better understanding of what you’re trying to accomplish and how they can help you reach your goals.