Written Documentation

More from the multi-part series on fundraiser preparation. This section is about the importance of written documentation of all your processes to improve communications and efficiency.

I can’t stress enough how important it is to have written documentation for all your major organizational activities. Besides the annual plans and specific timelines mentioned above, detailed plans and checklists make everything run smoothly.

Org chart & contact list
First, create an organization chart that delineates the chain of command and lists all reporting relationships. Next, create a contact list that contains everyone’s phone numbers and e-mail addresses. Distribute these to all organization members and volunteers.

Keep contact info updated & visible
Remember to keep this contact information up-to-date as the year progresses. Post them on your website, include the information in newsletters, and if applicable keep them visible on a bulletin board.

Use calling trees
For each specific fundraiser, create unique calling trees that define two things. The first is how to get information out to everyone involved in your fundraiser including individual sellers, with any single person responsible for making no more than six phone calls.

The second is providing an escalation path that gives each layer of the group one person to call to find out information. This removes most of your communication bottlenecks. It also avoids overloading one individual as the answer person.

Provide job descriptions
Written job descriptions are needed for each major position within your organization and specifically for each fundraiser. This eliminates the need to have outgoing chairpersons trying to verbalize the tasks involved, key contacts, etc. Volunteers who have written instructions will ask fewer questions.

Documentation is also needed for every type of volunteer task. Improve participation by having a one or two paragraph description that includes good detail on what’s involved. Be sure to include a minimum time commitment each position requires.

Record assignments
Another specific document needed is a written record of assignments. That way you’ll be able to find out at a glance whom is responsible for each functional area of the latest fundraiser. It also helps for planning the next fundraiser, as you’ll have a database of each volunteer’s experience level.

Merchant plan
A merchant plan is your best method for growing your business. Using a carefully crafted strategy, you’ll focus on developing relationships, not on asking for handouts. It takes longer to implement this approach, but it is infinitely more valuable.

Your merchant plan not only needs to be written down, it needs to be tracked for success. Keep records of which merchants are supporting your group and for how long. See the Section titled Merchant Plan for complete details.

Use progress checklists
All of the checklists you’ll be using need to be hardcopy. The ones provided at the Fundraiser Help members-only website include samples of:

  • Picking a fundraiser
  • Initial to-do’s
  • Scheduling
  • Final planning
  • Organization
  • Sales prep
  • Order handling
  • Delivery
  • Final wrap

Click Here for Fundraiser Preparation: Recruiting Volunteers

Click here for Fundraiser Preparation: Business Focus

Click Here for Fundraiser Preparation: Overview