An open glass jar with coins inside sitting on a bark textured piece of wood. A sign leads up against the jar with the word 'fundraising' on it. the jar and the sign are surrounded by four stacks of golden coins of various heights.

What Is a Fundraiser?

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Money makes the world go around, or so the saying goes. While that may not literally be the case, it certainly makes a huge difference for different organizations that require money to operate. That funding can come from multiple sources. Some organizations have their members pay dues or fees to provide monetary support. Fundraising offers another potential source of financial support. If you’re new to fundraising, it helps to understand what a fundraiser is more clearly.

What Is Fundraising?

To put it simply, fundraising is a process through which individuals or an organization collects voluntary monetary donations from other individuals or businesses as donations to go towards a cause. Those who collect the money are typically called fundraisers.

Who Does Fundraising?

Pretty much any person or group who wants to collect money for something can attempt to do so via fundraising. Fundraising used to be primarily the domain of non-profit organizations or done for non-commercial purposes, though that isn’t always the case anymore. Plenty of for-profit organizations use fundraising to generate capital. Crowdfunding is one example of a typical fundraising method used by businesses to collect donations for various projects. These days it’s especially common for various youth organizations to hold fundraisers for their groups. You’ll see this in sports groups, teams, clubs, and more. The donations may go towards activities, gear, scholarships, or other expenses.

What Are Some Fundraising Ideas?

The sky is the limit when it comes to different ways to raise funds. You could hold a gala and use ticket sales to raise money. You might hold an auction. This can be done via a live auction, virtual auction, or silent auction, depending on how you want to structure it.

Some groups sell goods or services for their fundraisers. Holding a car wash and selling goods like candy bars, cookies, or popcorn are common examples of this type of fundraiser. Similarly, if the organization has performances, matches, games, or meets, they may sell advertising space in programs and on banners to businesses to raise funds. This option is a win-win for everyone: the organization gets to raise money, and the business gets to advertise locally and put its brand in a good light by being seen supporting the local community. Some of the money will have to go towards obtaining the goods and supplies for these types of fundraisers, but a good portion of the money goes directly to the organization.

Another option is to simply ask for donations. It’s tempting to suggest an amount to donate, but that can backfire. A suggested amount that is too high could discourage some people from donating, while a suggested amount that is too low could discourage some donors from donating as much as they otherwise would. It is often better to simply ask and let people donate whatever they feel like donating.

Sometimes in-person fundraising events aren’t feasible–in that case, you may find better success with a virtual fundraising event. This option can also be used in conjunction with in-person fundraising events to create a hybrid fundraising event. This option allows you to engage with donors in multiple ways.

What Are the Stages of Fundraising?

To organize a successful fundraiser, it’s important to follow the stages of fundraising. Start by identifying what you want the fundraiser to accomplish. Next, identify your target donors and what sort of fundraising event is most likely to appeal to them. Then, set specific, reasonable, and measurable goals and objectives for your fundraiser. Identify the tools you need to run a smooth fundraiser and achieve your goals. After that, figure out what your budget for the fundraiser will be. No matter what sort of fundraiser you decide to run, you’ll probably have to make some payments upfront. You won’t typically get tools and supplies for nothing, after all. From there, identify your potential donors and start organizing your fundraising event or campaign. As you run it, continuously analyze it. That will allow you to identify what worked and what didn’t. Once your fundraiser is complete, be sure to thank your donors. Extending gratitude will encourage them to donate to your organization again in the future.

Having a clear understanding of what a fundraiser is and everything that goes into fundraising makes it so much easier to pull off a successful fundraiser. What qualifies as a successful fundraiser will depend on the organization and its needs. As you plan your organization’s fundraiser, remember to set goals and come up with a good plan for how to reach them. That will help your fundraising experience be as successful as possible.

It’s a lot easier to pull off a successful fundraiser if you have the right tools for the job. That’s where SuccessFund comes in! Check out the tools we offer to help your fundraiser work for you, not the other way around.