Guest blogger Chelsea Moreau graduated from Louisiana State University in 2013 with a degree in Mass Communication. The New Orleans native began working in fundraising/development with The ALS Association Louisiana-Mississippi Chapter in June 2012. Chelsea worked primarily on their Walk to Defeat ALS events over the next three and a half years. Chelsea received the “Rookie of the Year” Award for her 2013 Walk season. This award is given to one person from all ALS chapters across the country with less than one year of experience. In November 2015, Chelsea’s fundraising expertise moved to the American Heart Association as the Baton Rouge Go Red for Women Director.
A fundraiser is often derived from the need to generate financial support for a charity or other enterprise. Fundraising can seem daunting because of the all the small details that go into making it a larger success. This overwhelming feeling can be especially true when you have the added component of event planning.
Planning is the most important part. Most fundraising is done through a simple peer to peer ask. I assure you, the ask is the easy part. This is especially true when the potential donor has a personal connection to your charity or enterprise. Through this blog, I hope to pose some questions to get you thinking about the bigger picture of your campaign and find ways to enhance your fundraising success.
In The Five Dirty Secrets of Capital Campaigns, Steve Manzi elaborates on the belief that “Campaigns Are Won or Lost Before They Start”.
Manzi states: “The Campaign Planning Phase … includes a number of components, including the establishment of institutional priorities, financial planning, internal consensus building, initial case development, lead prospect identification, and a campaign feasibility study.”
All of the components in Manzi statement are important steps to making your campaign a success. Group fundraising can be difficult to plan and/or manage but the return on investment is HUGE when done properly.
Questions to ask yourself or your team:
- Does your fundraiser serve a greater purpose like increasing awareness of a disease or campaign initiative while generating revenue?
- Once you’ve decided the monetary goal, how do you decide the steps to take to reach it?
- What makes my organization and donor base so special that it needs its own event?
- Does it make sense to partner with other organizations with a similar mission?
More often than not, the answer to the last question will always be YES. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is a great example. It took all ALS organizations coming together on a grassroots campaign for the national to start a movement surrounding Lou Gehrig’s Disease. This disease has never raised more funding or been more talked about.
My recommendation for your campaigns class is to work together on one large event that evenly splits the income from sponsorships and admission while equally sharing the expenses. The overhead will give you the feasibility to host a group event. This best practice is done often at community events. During the event, each group should host a table highlighting each individual organization. As important as it is for organizations to work together, it’s also important to stand out. The education, awareness and revenue generated at each of your individual stations should be considered income for the individual organization and not be accounted in the overhead.
I’ve worked on many collaborate, group fundraising efforts. Feasibility, proper planning and team work are the most important factors that will go into making your fundraising campaign a success. Everything else is just an ask.
- Swift, Melanie M. (2010). Developing a Fundraising Plan [PowerPoint slides]. Retrieved from http://slideshare.net/mobile/CharityNETUSA/developing-a-fundraising-plan