How Fundraisers Weather the Economic Storm

The current economic climate has had a significant impact on the fundraising industry. Especially for schools and non-profits. One of the biggest ways in which we’ve seen this impact is with the number of willing parents, families, members and friends that participate in fundraisers. There’s been a definite decrease and less funding. So how can one weather the storm-especially when it hasn’t been sunny in quite a while? With creativity, team effort, and tons of support.

Creativity

Never underestimate the power of our creative energy. People thrive on creativity, especially in a setting that requires “group” effort. You have to approach the task with a completely open-mind. Open to new ideas. Open to solutions. Open to learn from others. You have to be willing to tackle your challenges in a more unconventional way. You have to be willing to step outside the zone and outside of your box. Instead of falling back on “tradition(which by the way isn’t working as much these days) jump forward toward something different, something “risky”. For schools, this means rather than relying on traditional fundraisers–like candy, popcorn, etc–try something new. For non-profits this may mean rather than just “asking” your donors/members to “please donate”, why not just be proactive and sponsor an event or a really wonderful fundraiser that naturally attracts your “base”. And of course being creative is also understanding that creativity isn’t just limited to paint splotches on a poster board. A plan must be feasible. You must be willing to put in the effort. And a “good” idea, is simply a good idea unless there is action and solid follow-through.

Team Effort

How invested are your students, or if your a non-profit, how invested is your board? We often hear about students who could care less about selling candy bars and are forced into doing it by their coach or teacher. Or board members that have so much on their plate they push the fundraiser to the backburner. When we lack team effort, we lack a successful fundraiser. The biggest issue that people often complain about, is the lack of motivation among the group. There needs to be a sense of urgency, a sense of importance, and an incentive. If we’re selling candy bars–what are we getting from it? A pat on the back, an I-pod, a “hooray”? What are you providing for your team to inspire progress, success, and effort? If there isn’t recognition, incentive, or accountability among the “team” to get it done, then your fundraiser will struggle.

Support

It sounds like an ‘easy’ concept but is it really? How supportive is your member base? How supportive are the parents of your students? If they don’t care, and if they aren’t encouraged to help, then how can you possibly succeed? Having that support, is extremely important because it makes your job that much easier. A parent who supports a fundraiser, will do everything possible to make sure that their child sells enough to meet the fundraiser goal. A member that supports a fundraiser will gather friends and family members and do everything possible to support that “event”. When we have that support, we have that drive to come together and succeed. It’s important that right at the beginning of your fundraiser you explain the importance of what you’re doing, why you need the money, how they(members or parents) can help, and ways that they can participate.

Though it’s more complex then what I’ve stated–these are simply some beginning points to consider. It is very possible for your fundraiser to succeed even in this economy. With creativity, team effort, and support, you can make it happen.

What are you doing to weather the storm?

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