Fundraiser 101

A fundraiser is a person who organizes events and campaigns to raise money and other kinds of donations for an organization. They may also design promotional materials and increase awareness of an organization’s work, goals, and financial needs.

Donors make a cost-benefit comparison when they decide whether to donate to a charity or nonprofit. Help them understand the difference their contribution will make by telling stories that connect with them emotionally. Ideally, these stories are personal but, if you can’t get in touch with donors to ask for their permission to tell the story (to protect their privacy), use a composite story or simply talk about a typical person who comes to the organization for help.

Fundraising efforts should focus on acquiring new donors and retaining existing ones as happy repeat donors. Sadly, this doesn’t always happen, with some donors feeling over-bombarded with fundraising requests or so under-served that they drop out.

Plan an event that meets the needs of your audience. For example, if you’re raising funds for a homeless shelter, an event featuring dinner and live music would be more appealing to supporters than a silent auction alone. If your audience is scattered around the country, consider using a mobile bidding tool or streaming your event online so that they can participate. Once the event is over, follow up with attendees and donors to determine what went well and how to improve your next fundraiser.

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