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How To Fundraise (Beginner’s Guide)

Author: Adie M.

Fundraising. It’s just raising money, right? Well, not quite. There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to a successful fundraising process. And you need to keep on top of everything if you want to raise enough money, establish your nonprofit organization, and ultimately keep people coming back to donate more.

Whether you’re completely new to fundraising or want to optimize your process, this is the blog post for you. Here, we’ll talk all about three simple things: preparation, execution, and wrapping up. We’ll give you a checklist for each step, and some tips on how to carry them out perfectly. 

Our beginner’s guide is here to help you every step of the way, so keep reading if you want to know more about how to fundraise!

Before The Fundraiser Checklist: Preparing

Goal

You can’t even think about planning a successful event without having a goal in mind first. So, set your goals early on. 

This isn’t just about how much money you need to fundraise. It’s also about defining what your organization’s overall mission is. 

Clearly defined goals are key! 

Budget

Now you have to think about how much money you’re going to need in order to get the fundraiser off the ground. Sure, you’re raising money, but you need a form of capital. 

Sort out a budget early on so you’re aware of whether or not things are feasible. That’s where sponsorships come in.

Sponsorship

If you’re new to the game, it may seem quite daunting to obtain a sponsorship. But, if you have clearly set goals, a budget, and a mission to present, it’ll be far easier to get people interested and willing to donate capital. 

And if you’ve done this a couple of times before, reach out to previous donors with your fundraising proposal

Group of volunteers

Organizing and executing a fundraising event takes a village. Again, if you’ve checked off the first three things on this prep list, you’ll be able to attract and recruit volunteers with ease, whether they be from your community or a part of the donor‘s organization.

Design

Here, ask yourself questions like, what’s the theme? Will there be entertainment? Where will it be, and when? How will you actually go about raising the money? 

You need to design your event meticulously and pay attention to detail all the way. You’ll want the design, theme, and process to be perfectly planned.

Marketing strategy

The last thing you need to do before the actual event is to make sure that people attend! 

Set out a marketing strategy that will really attract the target audience. This way, you’ll not only find guests for your event, but you’ll be able to establish your organization and get your name out there.

Checklist for today

During The Fundraiser Checklist: Executing

Checklist

A checklist within a checklist? Of course. In fact, you should have multiple checklists, one for pretty much every step. 

During the fundraiser, a checklist is particularly important because you need to have a list of absolutely everything that needs to happen, how, and when, so that everything can go off without a hitch.

Try splitting these up by delegating certain tasks to certain groups of volunteers. It’s a great idea to have team leaders, and for each member to have something they need to do so that execution goes smoothly.

Channel for communication 

This is also crucial! How are teams, leaders, and members going to communicate with each other? Once they each have their goals and checklists, they’ll need to be able to tell each other when one thing has been executed so the next can begin. 

Luckily, there are mobile apps out there that allow you to manage events and communicate with team members. So, try setting up one of these channels for communication, or go the traditional route and use walkie-talkies — whatever works best for you and your team! 

Marketing strategy

During the event, you’ll actually need to keep marketing, and another marketing strategy is needed. But how? Using social media and photographers to market your event while it’s happening means publicity, and publicity means it’ll be a little easier to market next time! 

Try setting up photo booths, creating event hashtags, or using a Twitter account to tweet live updates about the event. 

You can also use this publicity tactic to give credit where it is due to your generous donors or to generate online interest and conversation about your cause.

After The Fundraiser Checklist: Wrapping Up

Thank your donors

This is really, really important. Always remember to thank your donors

You can send thank you cards, emails, or even small gifts to show your gratitude for their generosity. This also ensures a good relationship with them going forward.

Ask for feedback

Send out surveys or ask your sponsors and donors for feedback on how the event went. 

What could you have done differently? What did they enjoy? 

Again, this is a way to show that you value their input, while also giving you some ideas on what to do next time.

Analyze and assess

Now, evaluate the entire event. 

Ask yourself questions about every single item on this checklist to try and see whether or not your event was a success. If it wasn’t, discuss how you could make it better next time. If it was, make it better next time anyway.

Plan your next move 

Finally, start planning your next steps. Whether they’re about donor retention, further establishing your organization, or how to fundraise even more for your cause, it’s important not to let things fizzle out. 

Use the momentum you’ve got and keep on going!

Four people organizing a fundraiser

Final Thoughts

We’ve given you a skeleton outline and guide on how to fundraise. You’ll need to be meticulous in every single step, and flesh them out according to your goals and mission.

As you can see, fundraising is about far more than just asking people for money. It’s also about how you plan it, do it, and use it for the future. Keep this guide close, and good luck!