Fundraisers can serve a variety of purposes, depending on the organizations hosting them. Charities rely on funding from regular donations without which they cannot function. However, fundraising efforts can also be done by those who support their cause. Even businesses can play a part in raising funds towards a cause they are supporting. There are several types of fundraising that a host organization can work with. They can be on a small-scale (like a bake sale) or on a larger scale (such as an annual fundraiser or a marathon).
What Are Fundraisers?
A fundraiser is defined in two ways. It can be a person who is tasked to seek financial support for a charity, an institution, or any other enterprise. It can also be an event being held to generate funds for a charity, an institution, or any other enterprise. Ultimately, a fundraiser is planned and developed to fulfill a specific objective.
Fundraisers are held by churches, schools, charities, organizations, and other groups who are seeking to raise funds to meet their financial goals. The reasons for doing fundraisers vary, depending on the organization or institution holding it. There are several types of fundraising to choose from.
Essentially, the objective of a fundraiser is to raise money. The more funds acquired, the better. In order to raise the maximum amount of revenue, a fundraiser needs to keep its costs to a minimum. This can be achieved by hiring volunteers or by asking for donations in-kind, which can then be sold or auctioned at a high price.
Is Fundraising Effective?
In the age of mobile phones and tablets, fundraisers have become even more efficient in serving their purpose. Fundraising campaigns have been accom4plished via the use of text messages and mobile apps. Donations have also been coursed through websites through payment methods involving credit cards or payment systems such as Paypal or Venmo.
Crowdfunding has become a popular method of online fundraising especially in addressing immediate needs such as disaster relief or to provide financial help to an individual who has been hospitalized for an accident or a disease with compounding medical bills. Crowdfunding is usually done via social media or through a website. This method of fundraising is especially effective when it comes to reaching out to millennials and the younger generations.
Besides the obvious benefit of being able to raise money for a cause, fundraising also brings out the best in humanity. Other invaluable benefits of an effective and successful fundraiser are:
1. Creates Awareness of a Cause
Doing a fundraiser is one of the most effective ways to introduce and create awareness for your organization and its cause. Promotional efforts such as local event announcements, visibility in websites and social media, or radio and TV advertisements draw public attention and make your cause memorable to existing and potential donors.
2. Encourages Synergy and Teamwork
For a fundraiser to become successful, duties and responsibilities need to be delegated among its organizers. Working and accomplishing tasks together builds camaraderie and a sense of teamwork among the organizers and participants, with an end result that definitely holds more weight than gold.
3. Serves a Bigger Purpose
Raising money is not the be-all and end-all of fundraising. The money is just a means to achieving a bigger purpose. For example, being able to provide funds for cancer research or being able to send immediate rescue and relief to victims of a natural disaster are life-altering good deeds that give fundraiser organizers the impetus to achieve their goals.
5 Types of Fundraising and When to Use Them
If you think about it, there are many types of fundraising efforts being done out there on a day to day, whether physically or online. The possibilities are endless. Some fundraisers even come up with their own unique and creative event or effort.
When it comes to fundraising, there are two types of themes: outcome-driven or activity-driven. Outcome-driven fundraisers are those that focus on a specific campaign goal and are explicit about where the funds will go (e.g. providing 200 hot meals to the homeless for Christmas, building 10 public schools in Haiti, etc.)
Activity-driven fundraisers pay particular attention to the activity involved instead of focusing on the goals of the fundraiser. Activity-driven fundraisers are often physically challenging (e.g. a fun run, a marathon, and more).
Non-profit organizations often need to generate a significant amount of revenue to fund their respective causes. Depending on the size of a non-profit, the types of fundraising they engage in are often on a large scale to be able to generate the highest revenue. These are the types of fundraising events and efforts that they commonly utilize:
1. Marathon, Walkathon, or Fun Run/Walk
Marathons, walkathons and fun runs or walks are great fundraisers for non-profits with active donors. These types of fundraising physical activities energize those who are willing to participate and motivate prospective donors to be more generous.
Besides charging for registration fees, these activities are also great opportunities to sell a non-profit’s merchandise for additional revenue. A marathon and a walkathon require logistical planning when it comes to deciding on a route, providing participants with a map of the route, securing permits, setting up stations for water and snacks, traffic control and medical services.
On the other hand, a fun run/walk does not require a lot of logistics to plan and organize but can still generate high revenues for a non-profit.
Mid-size and larger-scale non-profits with an annual operating budget of at least $6 million are capable of organizing this type of event. Smaller non-profits may find it more difficult to organize a fun run or walk due to their limited budget. Of course the best time to hold these activities is during the summer with at least nine weeks of preparation needed prior to the event.
2. Annual Fundraising Event
Annual fundraising events serve a dual purpose because the organization gets (1) to meet donors and sponsors face-to-face and (2) do a fundraiser for higher revenues at the same time.
Admittedly, annual fundraising events need a sizable budget and a lot of preparation. An event of this scale often needs the services of a professional event planner because of all the detailed planning and execution involved to make it successful. Responsibilities include venue selection, sending out invitations, meal preparations, entertainment or program, and hiring well-connected speakers all involve manpower. However, all that hard work typically pays off at the end of the event.
Common annual fundraising events include:
3. Live or Silent Auction
A live or silent auction can be one of the many events in a program of an annual fundraising event. It can also function on its own as a fundraising effort. A live auction is usually done for a small group of high-value items while a silent auction is for bidding on numerous lower-value items.
In a live auction, bidders are asked to gather around to bid on high-value items on sale. An auctioneer is needed to announce the highest bid. Once the highest bidder has been determined, he or she can avail of the item on sale. Because a live auction requires big-ticket items and an auctioneer, it requires a bigger budget to get one organized.
In a silent auction, a sheet of paper is placed next to the item for sale for bidders to write their bids on. A mobile bidding app or software can also be used to accept bids. The highest bidder wins the item at the predetermined end of the auction. Because a silent auction does not need an auctioneer and only sells low-value items, it’s a better option for non-profits with smaller budgets. A silent auction online is an even more inexpensive way to do one.
Crowdfunding is one of the easiest yet most lucrative methods to raise funds. All you really need to is to set up a webpage on your website’s organization with the set goal amount and date as well as payment methods for a donor to make a donation. You can even share your fundraising page in social media to create urgency among your followers to donate to your cause.
This type of fundraising can be set up by any non-profit whether big or small. It can serve as a fundraiser for individual causes (e.g. a fundraiser for a car crash victim or a cancer patient undergoing chemotherapy).
5. Sales Drive for a Percentage of Sales Revenue
This is a small-scale fundraiser that’s often done by schools and sports teams to raise money. Products such as magazines, candy, ornaments, and holiday gift wrap are sold by students or members of a sports team. The sellers receive a percentage of sales revenue from the companies that they are selling the products for.
Doing a fundraiser is all about fulfilling your goals and cause as an organization. While there are so many types of fundraising efforts to choose from, pick the one that best suits your objectives: and most of all, your budget!
Remember that any donation, no matter how small, still adds up. Fundraisers aren’t just for adults. Even kids can get involved. A fundraiser need not be a costly venture nor does it require taking too much of one’s time.
Besides giving the organizers a sense of accomplishment, fundraisers also create a sense of community even lifelong friendships among the participants. In the end, it is not just about raising money–it’s also about making people come together to pitch in for a worthy cause with their generous hearts.