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No, You Don’t Need A PhD To Plan A Fundraiser



With so many details and moving parts, planning a fundraiser for the first time can feel like you need an advanced degree. Trust me, you don’t. I’m not an expert, but I have some event planning experience and I’m here to share my glorious knowledge with you. I wish someone had been there to tell me how to plan a successful fundraiser, but alas, I did it the hard way by Googling and Pinteresting.


The truth is, the type of fundraiser you are planning will be the key to unlocking your strategy. Lucky for you, the universal planning tips I offer below will help whether your money-maker is a car wash or black-tie gala. They can also prevent you from losing hours scouring the internet for ideas. Your derriere will thank you.


Tip #1 You Gotta Spend It To Make It

In the words of the great American poet, Cyndi Lauper “money changes everything.” When it comes to planning a successful fundraiser, your budget is king. Or queen, we don’t discriminate. Whatever gender-neutral term you use the fact remains that you must know how much money is available to drop on your fundraiser.


There are ways to get donations for things you need, but for some items you’ll have to break out the cold hard cash. Or a credit card. Knowing how much you have to work with will help later when you have to figure out how to spend it. Your budget will also help to guide your planning as you’ll know if the Dallas Cowgirls will be washing the cars or the drill team.


Tip #2 Make A List, Check It Twice

Staying organized is important. This is coming from someone whose car is a mess 2 hours after a full clean out. What I lack in car cleanliness I make up for in Type A Organization of Important Stuff. Without over thinking it, jot down all the things that need to be done for the fundraiser. For now, don't worry about who, what, when, or how, just write it all down in no particular order. If you have a committee, and you should, plan a quick meeting and let the rest of the crew throw out ideas. Hooray for outsourcing.


The next thing to do is make a timeline. The timeline helps to keep tasks on track and lets you know when something important is coming up. If you aren’t sure what to put on your timeline, start with the date of the event and fill it is as you get more information. But have a timeline. Seriously.


Tip #3 Divide and Conquer

It’s important to have a group of minions, I mean, volunteers, to delegate tasks to. I tried to run an entire event once, it didn’t end well, so I highly recommend that you have volunteers to help do the work. You will need teams for set-up and break down, good beggars to get donations, and aggressive money collectors among other things. Your committee members should expect to volunteer and depending on the size and type of your fundraiser, you may need to recruit more.


Tip #4 Spreading The Word

Now you need to think about how you are going to get the word out so people with large bank accounts will attend your event. Social media posts, flyers, signs, and word of mouth tend to be what most small groups use. Some may even have a website for their fundraiser, but this is an added cost that a lot of small-timers don’t see a need for.


I recently discovered the power and affordability of signs. I’m not talking about homemade, dollar store poster board signs. Big, machine-made signs are considerably easier to read than a marker and bad handwriting and they give your org street cred. For fundraisers that occur yearly or more such as book and bake sales, car washes, and community sales, it’s worth it to invest a small amount into real signs. Signs can be strategically placed, potentially drawing in people with fat pockets from all around the neighborhood.


I know what you’re thinking, that signs are expensive. They are surprisingly more affordable than you would guess, and the message a professionally made sign sends is “we are serious, give us your money.” Here are a few tips for picking the right sign to help make your event a success. In my book, the folks at this site win a certificate of excellence for the best and most patient when it comes to answering many, many questions.


Now, Get Planning

Hopefully, these tips will help you plan a successful fundraiser, or at the very least, give you a place to start. Be organized, have a plan, have a team, and you too can plan an awesome, money-making fundraiser.


Copyright 2019 Tiara C Nixon