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Fundraising During Tough Economic Times

Updated on May 5, 2015

You know we are living in some very tough times.

If you are involved with any organization that operates on money raised through donations, you know that we are living in some tough times. People’s wallets have been drained, there have been layoffs, cut backs, and record unemployment.

So, where does that leave your fundraising? How will your youth group raise the money needed for this year’s mission trip? Will your non-profit organization reach its annual goal? What about the community service group that you belong to, and the annual fundraiser for that scholarship fund?

If your committee is sitting around the conference table agonizing over this year’s fund raising goals and trying to figure out ways to get there, read on. This article may give you a foundation on which to build your strategy, and the encouragement to get out there and give it a try.

For any successful fundraiser, follow these simple, but important, rules.

A few simple rules.

Rule 1 Let potential donors know WHO you are – Name and mission of your organization.

a. It is not unusual during an economic downturn to hear of scams by unscrupulous people. Any legitimate organization will do what is necessary to assure the community that their organization and mission is legitimate and worthwhile.

b. Does your organization have any kind of printed material that explains the organization and its mission? If not, perhaps you need to sit down and come up with one. It doesn’t have to be produced by a professional agency, but something that gives basic information about who you are, what you do, and why.

Rule 2 Let potential donors know WHAT your fundraiser consists of

(raffle, car wash,bake sale, silent auction, motorcycle ride, etc.)

a. Advertise, advertise and advertise!

  1. Use flyers – Ask local businesses to display your flyer.
  2. Contact your local newspaper and ask if they will donate space to announce your fundraiser.
  3. Some local cable T. V. companies have pages that announce community activities and will donate space for fundraising.
  4. Radio stations have a time allotted for public service announcements. Use this to your advantage.

b. Whatever your fundraiser, make sure your flyers, raffle tickets and any kind of advertisement and announcements have all the necessary information; such as, time, place, cost and what items or services are offered.

Why are you fundraising?

Rule 3 Let potential donors know WHY you are having a fundraiser.

a. Sending kids to camp, a church mission trip, raising money for cancer awareness, a scholarship fund, domestic violence awareness – there are simply too many reasons to list.

a. Is this an annual fundraiser?

Display pictures from last year’s camp or mission trip, statistics from the previous fundraiser, a letter of appreciation from last year’s scholarship recipient.

This will assure people that the money you raise goes exactly where your organization says it’s going.

Rule 4 Stop thinking in terms of the needs of your organization, and start considering the needsof the people in your community. In other words, how can we raise funds and help others at the same time?

a. Right now people are thinking in practical terms, they are looking at needs and not so much at wants. Ask yourself, “What do people need and how can we help each other?”

b. Tailor your fundraising activity to meet a need, not something that might be considered frivolous.

c. Sometimes it’s more successful to receive a lot of small donations instead of going for bigger donations.

There will always be needs.

Regardless of the state of the economy, there are always needs. People need help and organizations that operate solely on donations each year, are some of the ways these people receive help. Scholarships need to be funded, or some very deserving student may not get to attend college. The only way to get the word out and get the funds in is to roll up your sleeves, and get to work. Contact your local community service organizations, talk to the director of your place of worship and find out how you can help.

In my next article I will share fundraisers that have been very successful and some that have bombed; pitfalls to watch out for and ways to guarantee fund raising success.


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    • miss_jkim profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Thank you ladies,

      I have been involved in fundraising for a long time. I've seen some groups struggle and some knock it out of the park in achieving their goals.

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 

      8 years ago from TEXAS

      Very good information.

    • Ms Dee profile image

      Deidre Shelden 

      8 years ago from Texas, USA

      These are helpful principles to be reminded to keep in mind :)


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