Guide to planning first fundraiser

If your nonprofit is primarily funded by grants, but you’d like to add revenue through donations, getting started can be hard. The key to any successful fundraiser is careful planning, but if you’re not sure where to start, we can help. Our nonprofit accounting software consultants are sharing our guide to planning your first fundraiser.

Understand Your Goals

Before you start the “who,” “what,” and “where” of your fundraising, you first need to be clear on the “why.” Why are you creating a fundraiser, beyond the obvious “to raise money.” You need to have goals for how much you want to raise and how the funds will be used for your organization, whether it’s for a new vehicle, a new roof, or creating a new chapter in a different city or country. Discuss these goals with your board of directors or leaders to ensure everyone is on the same page. 

Know Your Target Donor

Now, it’s time to consider the “who” – Who, or what sources, do you want to target with your fundraising campaign? For example, if you’re running a local animal shelter, this would have a much different donor pool than a fundraiser for a private liberal arts college. Identify the funding sources that would best align with your organization so you can create a fundraiser that would be more attractive to them. 

First, if you want to consider sponsorships from corporations, you could create “employee match” programs where when an employee donates, the company matches, thus, doubling the donation. If you are trying to get donations from individuals, consider demographics that would be more interested in helping your organization, including location, age range, income levels, education, and gender. Not only will you be more appealing, but you’ll have better luck reaching your target donor with your marketing campaigns. 

Choose Your Fundraising Method

Okay, you have the “why” and the “who,” so now, consider the “what.” What are you going to do to raise money for your organization? With a fundraising goal and a target donor, you can begin looking at ideas that will draw in the most revenue. If you have a national demographic and this is your first fundraiser, you may want to consider these options: 

  • Peer-to-peer fundraising where people involved in your organization like those on your email list or volunteers, reach out directly to people in their communities. This has a 1 in 4 rate of donations so it can help you hit the ground running
  • Donation matching with a corporate donor
  • Sell tickets to a virtual concert or show

On the other hand, if you have a local organization and it’s safe to do an in-person event, you could consider these options: 

  • Bake sale or rummage sale 
  • 5k or 10k run 
  • Golf tournament 
  • Formal gala
  • Auction 

Of course, your type of nonprofit connected as well as your target demographic of donors would determine the right fundraiser. 

Mapping Out Your Fundraiser

With the type of fundraiser selected, now it’s time to start planning. You should set aside at least three months to plan for your first fundraising event, especially if it’s an in-person event. You’ll want to start early to lock down the following details: 

  • Booking a location if it’s an in-person event
  • Connecting with sponsors for food, prizes, and vending opportunities
  • Book entertainment
  • Connect with volunteers, including friends, colleagues, and through social media and email

Giving yourself and your organization plenty of time to create and implement a solid plan is key to your event being a success. It will also give you a more accurate final result as to what worked and what you may want to change moving forward. 

Schedule a Consultation with Our Nonprofit Accounting Software Consultants

Keeping up with revenue brought in through fundraising can be complicated, but having the right accounting software dedicated to nonprofits to help you maintain your budget and give each dollar a purpose can save you time and improve your operations. To determine the right type of software as well as how to implement it successfully, reach out to our team today at  (843) 971-9061 or fill out the form below to get started. 

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