On the surface, finding fundraising ideas is easy. Get together a group of co-workers or volunteers into a brainstorming session, and you will likely get a list of ideas ranging from jumble sales to colour runs to a direct mail campaign. Type in “fundraising ideas” into any internet search engine and you are likely to get thousands of hits, ranging from cake stall ideas to companies offering fundraising opportunities.
It is not simply a matter of picking an idea, any idea.
To be successful at fundraising, you carefully need to consider which ideas work well for your group. Choosing the wrong idea has consequences: you may waste time, money, and effort to get little or no financial return, and the failure to raise funds may dampen the morale and motivation of your group. Getting out of the financial hole left by a bad fundraising campaign can also be quite difficult, especially for small not-for-profits.
There are a few things that separate a good fundraising idea from a bad one:
- The cost of getting started should be what you can afford to spend
- Good use of resources and talents
- You have enough people power - or can get enough
- It is a theme appropriate idea for your group
- It is appropriate for the size of your group
- It does not require expensive resources you do not have
- It is likely to appeal to donors
- It gives added value to your donors - your donors will feel that they are getting something from the experience
- It will bring in the required money
You will need to consider these requirements against each idea you consider, making sure that you are choosing a fundraising idea that will work for your group.
However, to save time, you may want to find fundraising ideas by starting with this list rather than starting with brainstorming. On a piece of paper, note the following:
- The purpose of your organisation
- How much money you are willing to invest into fundraising
- What resources you have that can help - even small resources such as someone’s car can be a big help when fundraising for your group
- How much money you need - and when you need it by. Be sure to note whether you need money only for a specific project or whether you need to raise money on an ongoing basis
- How much time you are willing to expend on fundraising
- Who you expect money from
- What time frame you have for the fundraising
- The specific goal you need money for (if any)
- What the money will be used for
Based on this simple list, you can start weeding out potentially bad ideas and focusing on the possibilities right away. This will get you actually fundraising sooner, and with less hassle. With your fundraising goals in mind (goals determining by answering the above questions), you can easily tell which ideas can contribute to your goals and which are unlikely to help.