A Strategic Approach to Fundraising
Fundraising is one of the core functions of every chapter. There are five basic building blocks for success:
- Commitment: Before you dive into a fundraising campaign, the entire chapter board needs to be fully committed to meeting your goals. This includes not only being committed to the process and the steps to reaching those goals, but also the outcome.
- Goals: Goals should be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Agreed upon, Realistic, and Time Sensitive). Don’t be afraid to think BIG, but also remember that this is a marathon, not a sprint. Many successful fundraising campaigns can last for years.
- Theme or Message: One of the most common downfalls of a fundraising campaign is a failure to fundraise for a specific purpose. When planning your endeavor, remember that people will be a lot more likely to give if there is an exact outcome. Fundraise for specific projects, groups, or initiatives—not for the general coffer.
- Creativity: Think outside the box when planning events. Banquets and raffles are great, but should not be relied upon as the only fundraising events in a campaign.
- Rewards: This is that “What’s in it for me?” part of the fundraising process. Individual donors like to be rewarded for their contribution. Whether this is a gift in exchange for the donation, or a completed stretch of restored bank on their favorite stream, or simply just a handwritten thank you note, rewards should be included in your campaign.
A successful fundraising campaign starts long before the “ask”. It starts with your chapter becoming an integral part of the community and being a forward facing group that provides value to other invested parties. Building strong relationships with individuals, companies, other non-profits, and government agencies from the start will result in exponential improvements in your fundraising capacity.