They say a good cause is worth fighting for. What about a cause worth donating money for? How do you rally a following to your idea of bettering the world? What are the best ways to raise money for a charity close to your heart, or to help a family in your neighborhood in times of need?
Asking people for money can carry undertones of presumptuousness. Understandably, people don’t respond well to that. So rather than making a cause YOUR cause, try and make other people part of it too. Make them care enough to start a donation fund.
Fundraising techniques aren’t one size fits all goals. From oldies to the newborn of nonprofit ideas, from bulletproof classics to breakthroughs on social media, here are a few simple and efficient ways to raise money for your cause.
1. Research your cause
Before you plan a fundraiser, make sure the charity of your choice is efficient and that it yields concrete long-term results. That way, when your donors ask if the cause is worth contributing to, you’ll be able to reassure them with more than words.
If you can share your personal experience and detailed research into the matter, they will instinctively feel it’s a chance for them to make a difference as well.
So do your research, online and offline, and avoid charities that might be torn with controversy.
2. Research your donors
What can you offer in return?
We inhabit a society based on transaction, and fundraising is not exempt from the exchange of assets and payment. The ‘asset’ is just redefined.
Someone who donates money expects something in return. A feeling of self-gratification maybe, or a sense of contribution to a visible greater good.
Fundraising is emotional and can feel grand if done properly. Anyone harboring a small hero inside who’s been left rusting with inactivity will jump at the right occasion. This is your cue to start raising money.
Building a profile for your ideal donor
First, you have to get a sense of who your audience is and what type of event might prompt disparate categories of people to work together as a community for a common goal. So don’t lump your donors into the same category. That’s a mistake.
The way you’ll advertise will also depend on the people you want to reach. Review the demographics.
Is the majority older or younger? Are the people you’re trying to draw in more liberal-minded or tilting to the conservative side? Based on this data, you can make a decision as to what type of fundraiser will attract the crowds.
If you’re working with older people, you might decide on more traditional fundraisers. Bake sales, raffles or charity auctions fall into this category.
If your donors are 20-somethings and tech-savvy, they might feel more comfortable with something fun like a karaoke contest, a car wash or a garage sale. And they’ve definitely heard of online crowd-funding.
Effective Ways to Raise Money for a Good Cause
Oldies But Goodies
Don’t scratch off fundraisers like bake sales or rummage sales just because they’re classics and you think they’ve gone blunt with overuse. These are tried and tested ways to raise money.
- Hold a rummage sale.
Ask friends, neighbors or relatives to donate any items they want to get rid of- the stuff they’ve been hoarding in their garages for years now. The more diverse and eccentric your selection of items, the better customer reach.
Be sure to advertise by hitting up social networks, putting up flyers and sending invitations to your target audience. Turn your event into the week’s talk of the town. On the day of your sale, make sure your yard is inviting and attractive. Your merchandise should be well-organized and not a pile of indistinct junk.
One plus is that any remaining items can be either returned, sold to thrift shops or passed on to selected charities.
- Attract People with Food
Food opens the heart. Who doesn’t feel generous on a full belly? It might account for the continuous popularity of this tried and true recipe of raising money for a good cause.
Enlist your child’s help. A bake sale, especially if your child is next to you selling fresh lemonade, might be a classic, but it’s a golden age classic. Children have a way of attracting attention and clientele.
Plus, consider the bilateral benefits. Participating in a worthy cause from a young age will instill a sense of community and generosity in your child.
Bask in the shadow of big events. Set your stand in an area that benefits from a lot of foot traffic. That means somewhere around a larger event, like a circus, a sports game or a political rally.
It will not spare you a pre-advertising campaign, though. If you want to attract attention, make sure you don’t just pop up with a demand on your plate. People have to expect you to be there. Promote yourself with flyers and social media campaigns.
- Host a competition/ Sport event
If you want to push some drive into your cause, what better way than to organize a competition around eating, dressing, or running?
Donors will pay to be part of the jury, or to sample food and fashion. In the case of sports events, each participant must get an audience that will have to pay a fee to cheer and support their loved ones.
Physical challenges are both great ways to raise money and to improve lung power. No matter your marathon skills, you shouldn’t shy away from participating. Remember, it’s not about winning.
Lend your strengths to your cause. If you believe your level of physical fitness may draw in attention, you can search for sponsors who will back you up in a competition by donating money to your cause.
How to Raise Money Online for a Personal Cause?
Become a Social Media Campaigner
If you are active on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr, then you’re connected to like-minded people who will chip in for your cause.
On the downside, the internet is so much noise your call for money could get easily drowned or ignored.
Here are some tips on how to approach donors online:
- Create a Facebook page or group with a link for your networks of friends to donate digitally. If they’re not under your immediate, physical reach, this is one of the most effective ways to raise money.
- Remember to make donating money easy. People have a very short attention span, so state what you want in clear, simple, and compelling terms. Better to include a link on the promotional website that takes donors straight to your donations page.
- Organize the fundraiser as any other event. Set a deadline and a goal. A catchy slogan wouldn’t hurt. Make it clear that the chance to donate is a race against the clock. Don’t allow dust to gather on your cause.
No other modern ways to raise money have achieved such speed in recent years as crowdfunding. In such a short span of time, a number of websites took off as potential online personal fundraisers. All you need to do is take a pick.
Your selection criteria should focus on the website’s reputability and its applicability to your project.
For example, Kickstarter is dedicated to arts and handicraft projects, whereas Crowdrise is a better fit to charities. One thing they do have in common. Due to the nature of crowdfunding campaigns, your target audience will surely be comprised of a young demographic.
Last but not least, thank each of your donors. Each person who donated should feel good about their contribution, so send them a personal message to remind them how their role mattered while again outlining how their money will be put to use.
If you aim at gearing enough capital to reach down and help those around you up on their feet again, learning the most effective ways to raise money can make all the difference to your cause.