No matter how carefully you plan your fundraising ideas or how good the ideas are, there may come a time when you simply make less money that you hoped to raise. Or, your fundraising event may cost more to run that it raised, resulting in an overall loss, even if your group has put lots of effort into your project in order for it to be successful.
When your fundraiser doesn't raise as much money as you had hoped or wanted, it can be tempting to give up altogther, but that won't help accomplish your goal. When this happens, turn to your non-monetary not-for-profit goal and see whether your fundraising efforts can still be used to help accomplish that goal.
If your church did not raise enough money for pews, can you pay for the materials and arrange volunteer labor to finish the project? Every fundraising effort brings you closer to your goals, even if you do not raise as much money as you might like.
An Unprofitable Fundraiser: The Recovery
Once you have found a solution to achieve your non monetary goal (if possible), it's time to evaluate your fundraising strategies and plan and see what improvements need to be made to ensure future fundraisers are profitable.
1. What went wrong? What was the reason the fundraising was unprofitable? Was it timing, the product, lack of organisaiton, lack of volunteers or an overexpenditure on costs?
2. Form a focus group. Ask your volunteers for their insight into the problem, and work out solutions to fix it.
3. Review your volunteers. Remember voluteers are not all equal in their skills and abilities, or the amount of time they can dedicate to your cause.
4. Review costs. Was there an overspend? Could sponsorship or donation from a business or donor reduce costs next time?
5. Was it a timing issue? For example, was your fete held on the same day as a similar event in your neighbourhood? Review local events and make sure yours is not competing with a similar event.
6. Sky's the limit....was the size of the event too big for your volunteer base or target market?
7. If your fundraising idea is a good one but the implementation caused it to be unsuccessful, save the details and run it again at a different time, or run it as an add on to another fundraiser.
8. Was it a bad idea? If so, leave it and move on to another event.
The secret to a fast recovery from an unprofitable fundraiser is mini campaigns! Your group of volunteers may feel deflated after a failed fundraiser. A couple of smaller, quick hitting fundraisers to recover will boost morale, and your bank balance.
If you are making less than you would like through fundraising, evaluate your fundraising strategies. What have you not tried? What else can be done? What improvements can be made?
Remember the cause that you are fundraising for, and your fundraising goal. Remind your volunteers about the impact your group or cause makes in the local community, and regroup for your next successful fundraising idea.