Fundraising Basics 3

Fundraising Basics – Part 3: Organization – Successful fundraising requires organization and just one boss. It’s often best to imitate the military hierarchy in staffing your fundraiser.  Article includes recruiting tips, division of labor, and the importance of rewarding your fundraisers.

“A prudent person profits from personal experience, the wise one from the experience of others.”
– Dr. Joseph Collins

Fundraising Organization:

Now that your preparation and planning are underway, you’re ready to get organized. It’s surprisingly easy to do if you’re willing to make the right choices. If you doubt the importance of being organized, consider this quote:

Have only one boss
Things work best if you have only one person in charge. They can get input from committees and other sources, but leave the ultimate decision making to the chairperson of this fundraiser. Let them make the tough calls when needed and delegate the rest, maintaining only managerial oversight while keeping an eye on achieving the goal.

Imitate the military style of organization
Just like in the military, the troops do most of the work. The higher-ranking officers’ role is to make the strategic command decisions and send out orders. The lower ranks are tasked with carrying out those orders and leading by example.

Recruiting help
How to recruit enough adult volunteers is a common dilemma. You need to start early. Consider a plan that gets dads, grandparents, and even older siblings involved, and always offer details about what’s involved in terms of time and labor. If people know the specifics of what they’re getting into, they’re more likely to make a commitment than if they’re forced to make a leap into the great unknown.

Division of labor
Be sure to break every area into manageable chunks. Don’t overload anyone. That way your organization members and volunteers will return to help the next time. Otherwise, you face a high turnover rate and a loss of valuable experience.

Buddy up
Use co-chairs for key roles with the junior one being groomed for taking the top slot in the future. Employ the buddy system for double checks on form completeness and order tallies. Be sure that two people count all funds received in separate counts.

Keep a database
Maintain records of staff, volunteers, and merchant supporters. Keep adding to it with good notes about skill sets and additional relationship information. For example, if a dry cleaners gives you ten discount coupons to use to reward your volunteers, make a note of it and ask afterwards if the merchant gained new customers from it. Jot down referrals to other merchants, etc.

Motivate your volunteers
Enthusiasm is contagious. Make sure everyone knows what reaching the organization’s goal will mean. Motivate your team by having each one take personal ownership of a piece of the group goal. Give the right rewards for a job well done.

Recovery time
Organizations need recovery time between major fundraisers for volunteers, community, and especially parents. Don’t ever do continuous fundraising. You’ll wear out your volunteers and burn up your support base. Do major fundraisers on a set schedule, do them right, and then take at least a month off.

Click here for Fundraising Basics – Part 4

Click here for Fundraising Basics – Part 2