Somewhere in the world there is a group in need of funding for its next project and they are exploring group fundraisers as a way to insure they have the money they need. These groups spend a lot to time researching fundraisers and what they need to do is also find out what makes group fundraisers fail. Knowing what mistakes have been made in the past can help future groups avoid them.
The following are some of the worst mistakes a fundraising group can make.
- Promoting the fundraiser: Actually the mistake is in not promoting it. Groups spend hours researching their fundraiser and then fail to market it. The community is left without any awareness of the project and the profits suffer as a result.
- Communication: This goes along with promoting the fundraiser. The community needs to know exactly what the fundraiser is supporting. This must be communicated to them in marketing pieces. IF the community understands what the fundraiser is for they will be more responsive and the fundraiser will be much more profitable.
- Lack of a Goal: If the fundraiser does not have a clearly defined goal will keep the fundraiser from being realistically successful. The goal should be achievable or the members will feel that their efforts are fruitless and give up on their goals.
- Product Choice: Group fundraisers often make the critical mistake of choosing the wrong product. When the fundraiser ends they wonder why they didn't make the money they anticipated. Product choice is a critical part of the planning process.
- Frequency: Having fundraisers too often is the best way to kill the profits. The community becomes tired of being solicited from and the profits go down. Groups should pay attention to other organizations and keep note of fundraisers so that they don't schedule theirs too close to other groups. Along those some lines, groups should also match their fundraising to coincide with calendar events. For example, if the fundraising project is going to be a gift-wrap sale then it should be scheduled near the holidays, a time when gift-wrap is used frequently.
- Disorganization: Fundraisers must be organized in order to be successful. There are many details that have to be tracked, finances that have to be recorded and records to be kept for future reference. Checklists are used to make sure everything is in place prior to the start of the fundraiser. The leader of the fundraiser should either be organized or appoint someone who is to oversee it.
- Overlooking Cost: Too often group fundraisers come to a conclusion and the leaders think they have made a profit only to find out that they forgot to subtract the costs that they incurred during the fundraiser. If the group is organized (see tip above) this will not happen. There are many hidden costs that have to be included in the bottom line, costs such as postage, gas and other minor expenses that sometimes are overlooked.
- Not Enough Help: Group fundraisers that do not enlist the help of enough volunteers and try to get by thinking they don't need the help can ultimately be losing profits. The tasks involved in a fundraiser require the help of many people and if there are not enough the fundraiser will suffer. It is better to have too many volunteers than not enough.
Often it is more important to know what not to do than it is to know what to do. Learning from the mistakes made by other group fundraisers can save the group money in the end.