3 Great Fundraising Tips to Get You Through the Fall

As the classic tale of the tortoise and the hare teaches us, slow and steady wins the race. Although the hare had the edge coming in, the tortoise proved victorious. You are the tortoise in this scenario. While nonprofit fundraisers are usually seen as underdogs in the world of corporate fundraising, you can come out on top—you can and you will.

And even though summer’s unofficially started, it’s time to start strategizing for your fall fundraisers. You already have your summer fundraisers planned (hopefully), so check out these 3 great fundraising tips to get you through the fall.

1. Your Net Needs to Double Your Cost

The first ingredient of a successful fundraiser is money. It’s the reason we’re all here, so let’s get it out in the open. A good rule of thumb to keep in mind is that you should raise double whatever your fundraiser cost your nonprofit. (Meaning, if your fundraiser cost you a total of $10,000 to put on, you need to raise $20,000.)

Why so much? Because these events require a lot of time and effort on your part, so you want to make sure that the fiscal payoff is worth it. We know it’s a lofty goal, but trust us.

2. Be on Mission

If we get asked to buy one more bucket of cookie dough our pants are going to explode. Cookies, popcorn, spicy nuts—you name the food, we’ve been offered it. However, we’re guessing your nonprofit has nothing to do with cookies—right?

Whatever your fundraising avenue may be, it needs to stay within a reasonable distance of your cause. If your nonprofit deals with preventing HIV and AIDS and you’ve settled on selling cookies to raise funds, you might want to step back and re-examine how relevant cookies are to your cause. Despite their delectability, they don’t send a clear message of your mission.

Need a good example? Safe Quarters for Safe Quarters is an annual fundraiser in which the Friendship Home, a safe house for abused women and children, collects quarters and other financial contributions by going door-to-door. It’s on topic, it’s easy and last year this one day event raised $111,000. Convinced? Yeah, so are we.

3. Be Unique

So, you have a crazy idea for your fall fundraiser? Go for it. Sometimes it may take a few trials and error, but in the end it will pay off because your nonprofit’s fundraiser will stand out among the hundreds of dinners, galas, raffles and cookie sales. You know your cause better than anyone else, so stop dilly dallying around and give your wacky idea a try.

Safe Quarters for Quarters was and continues to be a successful fundraiser because it’s unique to their organization and it ties in nicely with their mission. Somehow, we don’t think a cookie dough fundraiser would have been quite as effective—though we will never underestimate the power of a good chocolate chip cookie.

What are your best fundraising tips? Any to add to our top 3?


Kathryn Pauley

Kathryn is a regular contributor to the Nonprofit Hub. Soon to be college graduate, she enjoys helping nonprofits understand better how to reach the millennial demographic—cause we are living in a millennial world, and Kathryn's a millennial girl. With experience leading the largest student-run charity event on her campus, she looks forward to bringing her unique perspective to the Hub team every day.

May 30, 2012

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