Tag Archives: volunteers

Planning for a perfect fundraiser

Last month, we looked at fundraising plans – a road map that helps you to establish fundraising goals and what types of events will help your organization reach those goals. Once you’ve chosen the kind of event that will best benefit your mission, the next step is to chart out how to make that event happen as smoothly as possible. With some forethought and effort, you can avoid many of the pitfalls and headaches that are brought on by a lack of proper planning.event logistics

Take a realistic look at your fundraising budget. As the old saying goes, it takes money to make money – how much has been allocated toward the upfront costs of making an event happen? Depending on the type of event you are planning, you may need to be able to cover the costs of space rental, transportation, catering, entertainment/food, and advertising. If a raffle drawing is in your plans, for example, you will need to budget for raffle ticket paper and software as an economical and convenient alternative to using a commercial printing house.

Consider the anticipated upfront costs, set aside a buffer amount for unforeseen circumstances … and then stick to your budget once it’s finalized.

Look ahead on the calendar when setting the date of your event. Give your group enough time to realistically meet its goals. Be sure to take the time to investigate what other events are taking place in your community to help prevent too much competition for people’s time, attention and dollars. Look closely at the calendar: a holiday might help your group’s goals … or it might interfere.

A special consideration for outdoor events is the weather, which doesn’t always choose to work with your best-laid plans. Have a rainy-day backup plan in place. Similarly, have a backup plan in case something goes wrong with the equipment, a performance, or any other part of your event. Rehearse as much as possible to help identify pressure points and deal with problems that may arise.

As you make your plans, it’s critical that you spend time working out the logistics of physically holding an event. Do your plans comply with local laws regarding health and safety, for example? Find out right from the start whether you will need special permits to carry out your plans. Your committee members may need to choose who will be responsible for conducting this research and ensuring that all regulations are being met.

Related to the logistics of holding an event are coordination of ticket sales. Selling tickets to an event can add up to a surprising amount of work, and you want to avoid burnout and frustration. Spread out the tasks of selling tickets among several people, and establish a single person who will be responsible for coordinating the money and sales figures.

When the event is over, do not forget one of the most important aspects of holding an event – thanking everyone involved, including the community. Members of the public have given you their hard-earned cash, and members of your committee and organization have donated hours and hours of their personal time to see that the event is a success. If the people who worked on the fundraiser do not feel appreciated, you can bet they’ll refuse to work on another fundraiser. And everyone who donated or participated will want to know how much was raised and what it is that your group will be able to do that you couldn’t have done without them. This bedrock of goodwill is a strong base on which to build future fundraising events.

Volunteer perks keep fundraising motivation high

Running a successful fundraising campaign can be mentally and emotionally tiring for even the most enthusiastic volunteer. After weeks and months of hard work trying to keep the community’s enthusiasm high, workers themselves can be in need of a pick-me-up. Here are some ideas to help prevent the candle from burning at both ends and keep your team’s motivation boosted.

fundraising committee rewards

One of the best way to keep your fundraising volunteers motivated is with rewards like a nice dinner out or even an extravagant limo trip.

1. Make sure there aren’t too many tasks in too little time for the number of workers. Few things are as demotivating and morale-crushing as the perception that one’s tasks are too onerous, too complicated or too numerous. Spread the workload evenly among the team, and check in with everyone regularly to gauge where they’re at. If you receive feedback indicating a need for more support or resources, or learn that some workers are carrying more than their fair share of the weight, make workload adjustments accordingly as possible.

If you’re the head of the fundraising committee, check yourself: Are you carrying your fair share of the work? Delegation is, of course, an important skill for event organizers and managers, but there’s a definite line between delegating and shirking. Be honest with yourself and evaluate your own level of effort.

2. On a related note, honor the people with whom you’re working. Be sure to praise committee members – particularly those who are volunteers – for jobs well done and thank them throughout the campaign – not just at the end – for all their hard work. Not only does genuine gratitude and recognition buoy flagging spirits, it helps foster an atmosphere of open communication, which is critical.

3. Keep track of your committee’s progress toward the goal and be sure it’s visible to all. A classic means of doing this is to set up goal thermometers in public areas with gradations and fill in the appropriate amount that’s already been raised. This lets the community see at a glance how your fundraising is coming and how close you are to meeting your goal – and which often has the effect of rallying people to step up and help your group make it.

4. Along the same lines, regular (if not daily) updates on your campaign’s progress can be made available on your organization’s website and/or social media outlets (Twitter and Facebook are especially useful for this purpose).
5. Coordinate mini-campaigns or surprise 24-hour contests during the course of the fundraising campaign, with fun and exciting prizes that many participants can win, not just the top few. You could raffle off larger prizes, tied in to sales; keep in mind that some prizes, like an all-expenses-paid trip to Disney World or a visit to a winery or other local destination, tend to inspire people more strongly than, say, a jarred candle.fundraiser dinner reward

6. When the campaign is over, a nice touch that really says thank you for everyone’s hard work is to throw a party! Have one last gathering somewhere special, such as a bowling alley, a local museum, a public garden or a park. Be sure to make reservations well in advance if required by the venue.

The main thing to keep in mind is that your fundraising committee is composed of people who are volunteering their free time to help support your organization. By making sure you do everything in your power to make them feel appreciated and welcome, you’re raking huge steps toward securing their continued support in future campaigns.

How to organize your volunteers

Help those who are helping you

Volunteers are critical to a successful raffle
Organizing raffle drawings can be chaotic – yet another thing on your already-to-full plate. But as busy as you are, you need to stop every once and a while and take a moment to recognize the hard work of those support people who are the backbone of your organization.

It may sound counter-intuitive, but taking the time to create an ordered structure for your sales team can ease tensions and make your volunteers feel appreciated.

Here are a couple of ideas to help your staff in their efforts:

1)     Assign a leader. It might not be easy to get someone to step up as leader, but It’s easier on everyone if one person is in charge. There will be less confusion and probably fewer conflicts.

2)     Enlist as many volunteers as you can manage. Make sure your volunteers have the contact info of the person in charge.

3)     Schedule regular, but brief, meetings so everyone can compare notes and check progress. You’ll discover if someone is struggling and you’ll be able to offer them help and guidance.

4)     Set clear deadlines and monitor to make sure everyone is meeting them. It’ll prevent having to dump a ton of work on one or two people at the last minute.

5)     Offer ideas and ask for ideas from all of the volunteers. You might be surprised who has contacts that will take your drawing up to the next notch. Your volunteers will also feel rewarded if you put their ideas into practice.

6)     Call each volunteers up front by name so they can be recognized by the whole group. Everyone likes a round of applause so let them have their moment in the spotlight. And, it wouldn’t hurt to give a small gift or token of appreciation either

Just about every group has a couple of dedicated individuals quietly working in the background who keep everything from falling apart. Most of the time, these people go long stretches between “thank you”s.

Whether these people are secretaries, club officers, or faithful volunteers, they deserve a little recognition. Not only is it a nice thing to do, but it might encourage these faithful helpers to come back next year.

View Lucinda’s Google+ profile

Help Those Who Are Helping You

Organizing raffle drawings can be chaotic – yet another thing on your already-to-full plate.  But as busy as you are, you need to stop every once in a while and take a moment to recognize the hard work of those support people who are the backbone of your organization.

It may sound counter-intuitive, but taking the time to create an ordered structure for your sales team can ease tensions and make your volunteers feel appreciated.

Here are a couple of ideas to help your staff in their efforts:

  1. Assign a leader.  It might not be easy to get someone to step up as leader, but it’s easier on everyone if one person is in charge.  There will be less confusion and probably fewer conflicts.
  2. Enlist as many volunteers as you can manage.  Make sure your volunteers have the contact info of the person in charge.
  3. Schedule regular, but brief, meetings so everyone can compare notes and check progress.  You’ll discover if someone is struggling and you’ll be able to offer them help and guidance.
  4. Set clear deadlines and monitor to make sure everyone is meeting them.  It’ll prevent having to dump a ton of work on one or two people at the last minute.
  5. Offer ideas and ask for ideas from all of the volunteers.  You might be surprised who has contacts that will take your drawing up to the next notch.  Your volunteers will also feel rewarded if you put their ideas into practice.
  6. Call each volunteers up front by name so they can be recognized by the whole group.  Everyone likes a round of applause so let them have their moment in the spotlight.  And, it wouldn’t hurt to give a small gift or token of appreciation either.

Just about every group has a couple of dedicated individuals quietly working in the background who keep everything from falling apart.  Most of the time, these people go long stretches between “thank you’s.”

Whether these people are secretaries, club officers, or faithful volunteers, they deserve a little recognition.  Not only is it a nice thing to do, but it might encourage these faithful helpers to come back next year.

View Lucinda’s Google+ profile