A video about how to plan and execute a non-profit fundraiser.

Anyone who has held a fundraiser in the past or is planning on doing so in the future knows that it can be an extremely difficult and time consuming process.  While the overall experience brings great joy and gratification from giving to a worthy cause, planning and running the event can be a headache.  In order to make your fundraising less overwhelming, we’ve created a few quick fundraising tips & tricks that will make the process easier and will help you raise more money!

The first thing you need to consider when creating a fundraising project is what you want to contribute to. Think carefully when picking a cause, you should want it to be both beneficial to a community, and something you are passionate about. This will help you to stay motivated, as you care about your goals, rather than just doing them for your CAS. Another thing to keep in mind is that you need to carefully choose the organization you are fundraising for if you are doing this through one. Do your research to make sure they’re reliable and that they send their donations and proceeds to the intended cause, as you don’t want to support a misleading organization.

Next, you should figure out how you want to run your fundraiser. The three main types of projects are running events, donation collections, and running sales, so you will most likely want to do one of these. When deciding which to do, keep in mind what type of fundraiser would be easy for your group and most applicable to your project. Don’t do a sale when an organization accepts object donations, for example. Or, if you want to get creativity hours along with your service, a sale or event could be a good choice, as you can get those hours from creating products to sell or planning your event. Another important thing when planning any kind of fundraising project is that you need a target group of supporters, which will most likely be the student body at UAIS, although you can go outside the school. When coming up with your idea, you should gauge student interest before you implement anything, so you will know if your project can be successful. Don’t just go ahead and blow money on something to sell, make sure people will actually buy it, and this will make your project a lot less stressful.

Teamwork in fundraising is absolutely vital. Working with the right team will help promote inspiration, encouragement, and participation. If you don’t have members on your team who are committed to fundraising and driven to do well in this project, it is unlikely that you will hit your event fundraiser goals. It is crucial to choose members who have the commitment to follow through, a belief in the cause, and a dose of individual creativity.

Setting clear types of responsibilities removes ambiguity and will make fundraising efforts more efficient. Each member should have defined responsibilities so that everyone knows what is expected of them. No matter the number of team members, always try to assign responsibilities. Let team members take control of the areas they most enjoy and they will likely carry out their duties with great success. Instead of individually assigning a task to a member, you can also share the responsibility of an assigned task with multiple members as well. This will help distribute the workload more evenly and allow everyone to participate and feel a sense of ownership in the fundraiser project.

When fundraising, you need to set goals in order to motivate yourself through the project, and so you have an aim for what you want to accomplish through it. Set a personal goal, where you decide on something to improve on (like team work, planning, money management, or a creative skill you could decide to use). Also, you should have a goal for how much money you want to raise from your event or sale, or how many items you want to collect. Don’t stress too much about the goal, it’s not necessary to meet it, but you want to set your goal reasonably so you can ideally pass it. When deciding a goal, consider talking to who you’re fundraising for to see if they have a minimum donation amount, or how much they want, as that can help you setting a goal. Also, I would recommend setting your monetary goals after you figure out an estimate of the costs of your project. These goals will help you a lot with motivation and reflections if you follow them, so take them seriously.

Before you can actually plan for the project, you need to calculate all the costs to see if the project is feasible in the first place. Create a list that includes all the materials that you will need. Then research online the availability and how much they cost. The items should be good in quality yet are not too expensive. Read online reviews to get an idea of buyer experience and to see its quality. Because you can only be reimbursed for your money after you purchase the materials, make sure you and your members can cover the cost beforehand. After you have selected all the materials that you need, add up the total cost for everything. (Keep in mind that there might be tax as well!) This total is how much the members need to spend, how much money that needs to be reimbursed and how much you need to breakeven in terms of profit.

If you are conducting a sale, you will need to calculate the cost of each item sold. For example, if you are organizing a bake sale, find how much it costs to make each cupcake. A cupcake recipe should list how many cupcakes it can make. Find the cost of how much all the ingredients add up to and divide that by how many cupcakes you expect to make. The quotient should be the cost of each cupcake. You must set the prices for each cupcake above this number in order to make a profit. If it costs $1.50 to make a cupcake, you can set the price of each cupcake to be $2.00 to make a profit. The higher the price, the higher the profit. However, this might also mean less interest from people buying the product. For example, if you set the price of the cupcake to be $7.00, not many people will want to buy it. Find a good price that allows you to make a profit yet still draw interest from customers.

If you are conducting an event and will be selling tickets, find the cost of all the materials and divide that by the minimum amount of people you expect to support the event. This answer is the cost per person. (To find out how much interest there will be, ask around to get an idea from the people around you.) Again, try to set the price of the ticket above this cost. Any ticket sold above the expected number of supporters leads to an even greater profit. Any other type of fundraiser will need thorough planning like this as well.

Create a schedule planning from the beginning to the end of the project. Keep in mind these questions: “What do you need to prepare?”, “How the fundraiser will be conducted?” and “How will the project be wrapped up?” Do not forget about the possible obstacles you might face and plan accordingly to them. In addition, consider every members’ commitments inside and outside of school to make a timeline that fits to everyone’s needs. Aside from that, make sure to space out the project and to leave some room in the end in case of any problems occurring during the process. Holidays and breaks might interrupt the scheduling process so plan accordingly to that, too. Lastly, it’s important to make sure every member is on task. Set dates to reconvene in order to make sure that everyone is on track. Additionally, you may have members periodically check up on each other as well.

Interacting with your team members is essential. There are several elements to communication that are important to consider. The first is “the means of communication”. In order to maintain effective communication amongst your team, find a platform that works for the group as a whole in which they can readily access whether it’d be through texting or emailing. The second element to consider is “the frequency of communication”. It is important to make sure your team is communicating regularly and to keep check that all members are staying on track with their schedule and their duties. Additionally, make sure all members can communicate with the supervisor. It’s important to interact with the supervisor in case your team runs into any issue with the project.

Whoever is in charge of finance should be organized and should be able to work with numbers. The fundraiser is about raising money to support the group you chose. Therefore, you must be careful and handle the finance carefully. Keep tab on all the cost of the orders and all the money raised in the project. If any member makes an order for supplies, make sure the member(s) in charge of finance is aware of the transaction. Be aware that all money made cannot be kept by the members. After the sale or fundraising event, hand the money to the supervisor or any other trusted adult the supervisor appoints. Make sure you and your supervisor have decided beforehand who to hand the money to in case your supervisor is not present. It is necessary that you stay on top with the amount of money raised at all times. An excel spreadsheet is useful in keeping track of the finance.

If you are holding a fundraiser, it’s a no brainer that you need to promote it. You won’t raise much if no one knows about your fundraiser, so get smart about spreading the word.  When it comes to advertising your fundraiser, there are several methods to use in order to create awareness and appeal to your targeted audience. The first method is to take advantage of social media. Social media is a great way to get your message out whether it’d be through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or other social media platforms to update friends, family, and peers on your fundraising. Don’t post only once- keep a consistent presence so that your fundraiser reaches as many eyes as possible. Keep in mind the school’s and your safety when promoting online. Another method is to prepare emails and printed flyers that give the details of your fundraiser. Be sure to include the dates and goals of your fundraiser, contact information for your audience in case they need to reach you, and why you are trying to raise money. This helps potential supporters understand where their money would be going and what it would be used to accomplish. Also, don’t forget to make brief announcements during school lunches. While the school may be the main source of funds for your event, don’t be afraid to branch out and ask others outside for support or donations. You will be surprised how willing most people are to help out a good cause. As mentioned before, communication is important. It’s very common for people to put things off. We all live busy lives and have a lot of other responsibilities on our plates. A little reminder nudge never hurt anyone. If someone has indicated that they want to donate, but hasn’t, don’t hesitate to follow-up with a phone call or reminder email. Especially as the time you have to fundraise for the event runs down. People respond to deadlines!

When planning your CAS project, one of the most important things is making sure you have everything planned out with how and when you’re running it. Set a specific time and place your fundraiser will be happening, and do everything you need to run it. If your fundraiser in school, there are a lot of things you need to consider. You will probably need to get it approved by Student Senate, so propose it before you need to start, so you don’t miss out on the window you have because you didn’t bring it up. You should also try to get a time that doesn’t conflict with too many other fundraisers, although it’s likely there will always be others going on. But if you’re going to have simultaneous fundraisers, try to communicate so it’s not a similar type, or else you will have divided support and both projects will be less successful. Also be aware of what opportunities you are given. Remember that there are limited food sales per week, so if you want to do a food sale you need to be really conscious of timing. It is recommended that if you’re doing a collection based project, try to get it in our Olympics as the fundraiser. If you’re doing your project in another public place, find out how to get approval to run it and follow any rules the place gives you. A very important consideration is that you can’t handle money as a student. So if you are doing a sale or event you need your supervisor, or someone trusted by your supervisor, there to give the money to. Also, if your project includes a lot of physical work, such as sorting items to be shipped or setting up an event, you can get volunteers by talking to the leaders of Key Club or NHS so they can add it to their hour options. Keep in mind that if you don’t know what you’re doing, the people supporting your CAS project won’t either, so make sure you’re on top of everything.

If you need to purchase materials, the members need to cover the cost of the items first. Different members can be in charge of covering the costs of different materials. If you would like to split the cost of purchasing an item with another member, keep in mind that the reimbursement will be in the form of a check made to only one parent. The student will need to find an alternative way to return the money to the other student afterwards, such as cashing the check and returning the amount of money due to him or her. Every member that contributes to buying supplies must keep the receipts as proof purchase, whether it is bought in-store or online. If the item is bought online, make sure to have the printed receipt along the the shipping statement. All items bought online must be sent to the school as well. Although the shipping statement will be in the package sent to the school, have a copy just in case it is not inside. Presenting all receipts is vital in order for every contributing member to be fully reimbursed. Make sure to submit all receipts after completing the fundraiser but before donating the money. It’s inconvenient to submit receipts at different times, so do it all at once in the end.

After your fundraiser has ended, here are several actions that you need to undertake  in order to wrap up your fundraiser the right way. First off is to hold a final meeting with your supervisor concluding your project. In addition, if necessary clean up after the fundraiser event. If there are leftover supplies from your fundraiser, ask your supervisor how you should handle them. It is also important to talk with your supervisor to make sure the money is submitted correctly and to make sure all members who paid for materials are reimbursed correctly. Lastly, it is crucial that you don’t forget to submit all finance records to your supervisor.

Here are some more fundraising tips guaranteed to improve the success and effectiveness of your fundraiser. The first tip is to stay open-minded about the differences between your team members. This is a team effort, so incorporate different ideas from everyone and make sure all members contribute to the project. Another tip is to write cas reflections during the project instead of leaving it off to the end. The most important thing is to have fun! After spending a lot of time planning your fundraiser, don’t forget to take a few minutes and enjoy yourself, while realizing that all your hard work will truly pay off by contributing to a worthy cause. We hope these fundraising tips were helpful.

Thank you and good luck on fundraising!