Use A Business Focus

More from the Fundraiser Preparation series – Running your fundraiser like a business. You must set realistic fundraising goals and divide responsibilities among team members for meeting your goals. A business focus increases your fundraising success.

What’s involved in your fundraiser business
Setting realistic goals and breaking them down into areas of responsibility are two extremely important areas of preparation. The best approach to these is to run your fundraising efforts with a business focus.

Besides the need for planning that we’ve already covered earlier in the Fundraiser Preparation series, other aspects of fundraising also lend themselves to a businesslike approach. The main ones are:

  • Supplier relationship
  • Logistics
  • Money handling
  • Partnership marketing.

Supplier relationship
Review the contract before signing up with your supplier. Make specific inquiries about responsibilities, timelines, mistakes, freight, refunds, etc. Signing a contract without fully understanding all the terms and conditions is a big mistake.

Those kinds of mistakes cause unforeseen expenses, customer complaints that end up being resolved out of your profits, and a harried volunteer staff.

Logistics is another area that needs careful attention. For things to go smoothly, your organizational needs must be determined and responsibilities assigned ahead of time. One example of this would be not having any refrigerated storage ready for food items that require this type of special handling.

Another example would be not having enough volunteers scheduled for delivery day. A third would be inadequate seating for a long auction event.

Money handling
When it comes to handling money, look at any business and you’ll see that they are extremely careful about it. Safeguards are in place on bank accounts and who is authorized to sign checks. Each day’s receipts are counted twice and then put away for safekeeping until they can be deposited.

Independent audits are conducted to verify the accuracy of all financial records. Always keep a sharp eye on cash receipts.

Partnership marketing
Businesses increase their sales by leveraging their marketing partners. Look at any large business and you’ll see multiple sales channels and beneficial relationships between different companies. Consider the way Starbucks and other businesses are now being located at a corporate campus.

Look at how Baskin Robbins are often co-located with a Dunkin’ Doughnuts, or Burger King and a gas station. Big corporations usually know a good thing when they see it.

Market your group and your fundraiser to the community in every possible way. Look to leverage existing relationships within your volunteers and among existing supporters.

In a fundraiser, these can include tapping a local printer for help, getting free tax or accounting advise, getting advertising or free services from family-oriented businesses, etc. Make sure they get something of value in return for their help.

Look to your community for other kinds of assistance and potential new sources of support. Build a base of merchant partnerships by following the instructions given in the article titled Merchant Plan.
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Related Pages

Getting Started: Part 1 – The who, what, when, where, why, and how of a successful fundraiser.

Donor Recognition – How to use donor recognition to increase your capital campaign results.

Selecting the Right Fundraiser: Part 1 – Good advice to use on picking the right fundraiser for your group.

Successful Fundraisers – Boost results with organization, quality incentives, and sales preparation.

Organize School Fundraiser – Quick tips on organizing your school efforts by planning ahead.