We’ve all heard the saying, “You’ve got to spend money to make money!” However, when you’re organizing a fundraising event that can seem like a counter-intuitive notion. After all, most nonprofits aren’t rolling in the dough. If they were, they wouldn’t be fundraising. Instead, it’s best to think about ways to fundraise without a large initial expenditure. Whether you are fundraising for your child’s school or your own cause, here are some tips and suggestions to get you headed down the path to a successful money raising campaign.
Oftentimes, organizations looking for funds will throw special events to raise some capital. Think balls, dinners, special outings, and the like. However, the initial expenditures for these kinds of events can be quite hefty. Between caterers, staff, banquet hall or location rentals, the investment costs for a special event can quickly skyrocket. That means that even if an event is well-attended, a significant portion of the proceeds will ultimately have already been spent on the event itself, otherwise known as overhead. The more you can encourage your donors to contribute to the event itself, the better. For example, in place of a pricy dinner, perhaps you can throw a potluck instead and provide entertainment. Also, if you can find a donor that will provide the event space, you’ll cut down on a lot of the overhead.
These type of events—think 5K runs/walks and the like—are becoming quite popular in the world of fundraising. The idea is pretty simple. Say your organization is looking for ideas for breast cancer fundraising. A race or athletic competition can seem like a great way to both raise awareness on the subject while simultaneously raising money in the form of participant donations. However they have their drawbacks. First of all, the “market” for these kinds of sports events is a bit saturated these days. Also, while sporting events are great for raising awareness, they don’t tend to be big moneymakers. Your best bet for throwing a successful sporting event is to try something unique. Instead of just another walk or race, think organizing a scavenger hunt or a mud race or a partners costumed marathon instead to really make your event stand out.
The newest entrant in the fundraising arena is online fundraising. This method relies on existing social networks—such as email, Facebook, Twitter and the like—to spread the word about a fundraising campaign. This form of fundraising can be exceptionally good at reaching targeted audiences. Because there’s no event to attend, online fundraising has the added benefit of requiring little effort, but still allowing donors to feel as if they’ve pitched in on a cause. On top of that, the costs of online fundraising are far less than those associated with other money raising campaigns, often just a few percentage points of the donation, so you’ll be able to keep a larger amount of the money that your charity raises. If you are of a frugal mind, online fundraising might be the perfect option for your organization.