Whether it’s for a charity you love or because you’re starting a good cause of your own, fundraising for a good cause can be hard work. This is true regardless of what kind of fundraising you’re doing, but the more you hope to raise, the more planning and effort it’s worth putting in.
Today I’ve got a guest post for you all from another writer, edited with help from yours truly, which offers some advice and guidance on how to raise money for the causes you love. Having prodded and nagged my friends and family into raising just over £1,000 for Thrive Africa before my trip to Ghana, I know a little bit about the slog… but here are some fundraising tips from someone who’s done this much more professionally than I have.
1. Create a fundraising plan
Whatever your aim, the first thing to do when you’re figuring out how to start fundraising is to sit down and come up with a basic plan of action. A good fundraising plan should cover how much you need to raise, who you have on hand to help you, and what methods you’re going to use to coax those precious pennies out of people.
If you’re setting up a charitable cause of your own rather than fundraising for an existing charity, you should also be clear on the purpose of the funds you raise and what you want to achieve with them. Set realistic goals and targets, and don’t be afraid to get your business head on.
2. Create a list of potential donors
Try to determine who is most likely to donate money to your cause. This doesn’t just mean thinking about which of your relatives is the most generous, or which of your friends is already enamoured with the organisation you’re hoping to raise money for.
Talk to businesses in your area, do a bit of research online and find out about companies that are known to assist charitable fundraising efforts. Who among them would be interested in what your cause is hoping to achieve? Create a list of businesses who you can target either for cash donations, or goods that could be used in a raffle.
Just as you shouldn’t be afraid to get your business head on during planning, don’t feel that fundraising should be restricted only to people you know personally. Many business owners like to show off that they support good causes, so send some emails, make some phone calls and visit people in person to keep those funds coming.
3. Get help from someone who’s done it before
While fundraising is something you can do on your own, many people prefer to get a helping hand. Big charities and NGOs will often hire a specialist fundraising consultancy, but for the everyday person, your version of a consultant is probably going to be a friend who once raised thousands of pounds to do a skydive, or a colleague who smashed their fundraising targets for a marathon.
Are you raising a set amount for a single cause, or raising as much as you can for a whole new charity? Ask for advice from people who’ve tried and tested different tactics, who can give you the best insight on how to start fundraising. They’ll undoubtedly suggest both of the following points…
4. Spread the word everywhere you can
As well as approaching businesses that you think would be happy to chip in, get your fundraising message out through every social media account you have, and ask friends, family and colleagues to share. If you have a blog, promote your activities there, or if your employer has one, ask if they’ll share a post about what ever fundraising you’re doing.
Explain clearly what you are hoping to achieve and who will benefit from the donations, and try to reach out to the sort of people who would be interested in what you are doing. If you’re setting up your own NGO or charity, make sure you get a website set up and reach out to journalists through Twitter and other mediums so that they can help to spread the word.
If you’re raising funds for an existing cause you love, be sure to include a click-to-donate link wherever you can – for example a Virgin Money Giving or Just Giving page dedicated to your fundraising efforts, that sends donations straight to the charity or NGO.
5. Host events
Sharing donation links and asking people for support will get you started, but charity tombolas and marathons exist for good reason. One of the best ways to raise funds for a good cause is to host an event, which could be anything from an auction or dinner party to a long-distance walk or sports game.
Many people will make small donations via internet links, but if you can put together a fun event that gives people the chance to socialise and have fun while also raising money for charity, you may well find that the donations given grow that little bit bigger.
(If you need some inspiration, check out this list of 96 fundraising ideas on The Giving Machine)
Putting plans into action
There are many ways that you can raise funds for your chosen organisation, no matter whether it’s raising money for a women’s refuge in Nepal or an animal rescue centre in deepest Norfolk. Whatever you do, make sure you take some time to formulate a plan, and don’t be afraid to approach anyone and everyone for donations.
From Tabby: if there’s a good cause close to your heart you’d like to see featured on Just Can’t Settle, or you’re doing some serious fundraising of your own and would like shout outs – let me know! I’d be glad to help.