The success of your nonprofit or community organization is based largely of the good work and contribution of it's loyal members - but how do you retain a loyal base that both donates to your cause but also pitches in? Kirsten Bullock of TheNonProfitAcademy is sharing her expert advice with you in her June 5th, 2014 post & video (full article here).
To be able to start engaging people in the work we do, it’s important to be able to identify some areas that volunteers can help with. It could be as support during events, or to help with thank you calls to donors, become a donor, subscribe to your e-newsletter or become involved in program areas. Not everyone will be interested in the same things, so it’s important to be able to offer some variety. Be creative!
Next is to have some systems in place to support volunteers once they become involved. How will you continue to keep them involved? Do you have a volunteer coordinator? How often will you stay in touch with them? How will you track their interests? If you only have 200 people you’re trying to stay connected with you can probably do that with minimal systems – however if that number increases to 500 – or 5,000 – you’ll have a much more difficult time keeping track of details. Systems that are kept up-to-date will make your life much easier (and your volunteers and donors much happier).
Most importantly though are the interests of your volunteers and potential donors. What do they want to be involved in? If they want to advocate for a particular cause, and you ask them to file paperwork, will they be satisfied? . . .
And join Kirsten for an online workshop around this topic and that of raising more money for your organization - this Friday, June 20th, 2014 at 11a ET, CLICK HERE TO REGISTER
By: Leo Welder, Zilker Ventures
In 2008, two of my good friends and I designed an online fundraising system to help our fellow members of the Young Men’s Business League raise money for our charity, the Austin Sunshine Camps. Before building the system, the YMBL typically raised $20,000 to $40,000 during their six-week fundraising season. Now the organization raises $300,000 to $400,000 each year in the same time. Our success is based on a few core principles that I want to share with you today.
1. Utilize a Fundraising Website With Full Transparency
If you use a fundraising website like DonorPerfect.com’s DonorPages, each member of your organization will have their own, unique fundraising web page. There are many benefits to this, but the most important is that each member can see how much their peers have raised and can benchmark their own success. Your members will be inspired by the success of others and motivated to be seen as meaningful contributors to their organization’s success. This transparency minimizes the amount of external pressure required to spur members into action.
2. Form Fundraising Teams and Create Competition
Individual fundraising is hard work, but you can make it fun by turning the effort into a team sport. By dividing your organization into teams with team leaders (your most dedicated and charismatic members), you can foster an environment where people get excited about fundraising and develop creative ideas to help their team succeed.
3. Create Clear Start And Finish Dates for the Fundraising Campaign
People don’t want to fundraise forever, so it’s best to create a clear and relatively short time frame during which you will be asking them to raise money. Furthermore, if you have a competition, people want to know when it is officially over and how people know if they won. (Tip: It’s a good idea to set a very short time frame at the outset, so people get started right away. You can extend the deadline by a week or two mid-season.)
4. Hold Mandatory Fundraising Kickoff Meetings
In order to make sure everyone knows how to use the tools and share fundraising best practices, you need to have a few face-to-face group kickoff meetings for your members. The leadership of the organization should also use these meetings to remind members why their non-profit is great and why they should feel good about raising money. Older, experienced members can talk about their past successes, which will instill confidence in people who are fundraising for the first time. (Tip: Ask everyone to state their individual fundraising target before they leave the meeting.)
5. Over-Celebrate Success, Don’t Worry About Failure
All membership organizations have their shining stars as well as their disappointments. During a fundraising campaign, spend all your time encouraging and celebrating anyone and everyone that contributes and makes an effort. Don’t get caught in the trap of trying to MAKE those members who haven’t even attempted to raise money get off their butts. If the competitive atmosphere, the motivational kickoff meetings and the transparency of the system aren’t enough to motivate them, it’s not worth your time. You will generate more revenue for your non-profit spending that time cheerleading and supporting the members that demonstrate some internal motivation.
6. Share Ideas, Templates and Success Stories
When it comes to “making the ask,” there are lots of successful techniques, but most people who haven’t done it before don’t know where to start. Provide your members with email templates that they can customize and use when emailing donor prospects. Suggest the types of people they should contact in their network and how they can appeal to them and overcome objections. During the fundraising season, share stories with the membership about successful techniques that people have implemented. Encourage them to be creative and try things like finding matching sponsors or getting a bar to host a fundraising event. You never know what might catch on.
By implementing these strategies, you will turn your volunteer organization into a fundraising machine.
* * *
About the Author: Leo Welder is the former President of the Young Men’s Business League and the Austin Sunshine Camps and was selected for the Big Giver Award by I Live Here I Give Here in 2013 and was chosen to represent Austin at The Jefferson Awards in 2014. Leo is also the CEO of Zilker Ventures, which operates a family of websites that provide information on business communication and technology services, including FindAFax.com.
Buck up those Spring fundraising dollars and add new revenue streams to your school events to boost profits and do more GOOD:
Matching Funds: What is your school raising money for? Is there a sponsor or company that would be interested in matching the funds you raise to help you reach your goal? Do research and connect with community or national organizations that are interested in helping your fundraising dollars go further. The Build Your Dream Classroom campaign from PrometheanWorld, for example, is matching school's funds for up to $3,800 towards qualifying smart technology products. More info here
Add a Product Sale: Organizing a community event like a carnival, walkathon or school movie night? Add a product fundraiser booth to this family-fun event to raise more money! See's Candies is giving away free chocolate eggs this Spring to 4 deserving schools to raise $1,000 each in a flash, enter today for your chance to win > CLICK HERE. Ends 3/27/14.
Add Incentive/Rewards: What exactly is your school's principal willing to do to help raise more money? :) Get pied in the face? Dunked? How about shave their head? Fundraisers are most productive when whole families get involved; and what better way to encourage kids to stay on their parents to contribute than with super fun (and funny) incentives from school staff! Survey your school's administration and teachers to find out how they would like to get in on the fun; boost fundraising profits by setting goal dollar amounts for families to reach at which staff will do promise to do something funny.
Socialize, Socialize, Socialize: Introduce social media into the fundraising mix to increase turnout at your fundraising event - more people can easily mean more dollars raised! A strategic social strategy, engaging your fundraising parent community on twitter and pinterest, is key in the modern day to spreading the word and getting warm bodies to your big day. More info here
Looking to make a mess at this Spring's big outdoor fundraiser? Try some of these FUN booths kids love to take a part of!
1) Pie the Principal: Pie tins filled with whip cream or pudding make this booth fast, messy fun for the whole family. Typically as a reward for a certain amount of money raised or a raffle, principals and other school staff will have just as much fun as students who get to throw pies at them!
2) Confetti Eggs: Carefully hollowed egg shells filled with colorful paper make for an explosive, fun carnival booth. Kids love to buy the eggs and throw them at their friends; they break easily and release all the confetti inside. Game instructions from CarnivalSavers.com HERE
3) Balloon Dart Art: Help kids create a masterpiece at this year's carnival with Dart Art! By filling balloons with colorful paint, tacking them to a large canvas and letting kids throw darts to pop them, a wonderful work of art is created that can be hung up at the school. Instructions and ideas from Craft-Austin.com HERE
4) Dunking Booth: Watching the principal or your favorite teacher get dunked is probably an all-time favorite for kids. If renting a whole booth isn't in the budget, however, consider an inexpensive alternative where kids get to soak big sponges and throw them at unassuming victims 10 or 15 feet away.
* * *
Tip: Control the mess! Have a clean-up volunteer crew signed up to help and necessary tools on hand like vacuums, brooms, and trash bags to make clean up swift. Schedule volunteers and even sign up for people to donate cleaning items with free online signup sheets, get started now!
Fair, festival and carnival food is a delicious addition to your fundraiser or community event this season. Forget the cotton candy and funnel cakes and opt for "stations" where carnival staples become their own "booth" for families to spend time and have fun!
Popcorn Station: Salt, parmasean, chili powder and other select seasonings give families the option to flavor their popcorn cups to their taste; add kettle and candy corn to the mix too OR chocolate drizzle to get really creative!
Hot Dog Station: Don't forget all the fixin' like ketchup, mustard, slaw, relish, onions, cheese, you name it! This is an all-time favorite families love!
Cupcake Station: Super sweet and fun, make sure you have lots of yummy toppings for mini cupcakes including colorful icing, chocolate chips, sprinkles, cinnamon, you name it!
Sundae Station: Great for your Spring outdoor event, a Sundae station is eazy peazy - don't forget the chocolate syrup, caramel, berries, nuts, and chocolate chips. Looking for less mess? Try a shaved ice or snow cone station where patrons add their own syrups and flavors.
Corn Station: Street corn is a novelty favorite that goes well at any event; grilled or boiled, corn on a stick with butter, salt, cheese powder and other seasonings makes a great food station people will line up for.
Fruit Station: Get creative (and healthy) with a fruit station! Think fruit in small cups, fruit kebabs, chocolate covered frozen bananas and more!
Trail Mix Station: Everyone loves trail mix! Mixed nuts, raisins, m & m's, dried fruit and more make this an easy peasy food option that's pretty healthy too.
Does your fundraiser, gala or festival have a family fun zone or kid's corner? These special areas with kid friendly activities amidst a more adult event provide a fun, creative respite powered by volunteers. Check out 10 fun activities for yours:
1) Family Photo Opp: A colorful backdrop, some oversized props and large 'frame' cutouts make this little section of your family fun zone memorable! Have a volunteer handy to take pictures for folks with their own smartphones and cameras.
2) Toss Game: It's a fact, kids like to throw things! Set up small carnival type toss games with buckets, bins or even a makeshift "toilet", more ideas here
3) Kissing Booth: We love this idea for kids and families - set up your kissing booth and have kids write down and guess how many "kisses" are in the booth (see photo on right); the winner receives a small prize!
4) Dance Party: Near the edge or just outside of the kid's area, have some fun tunes on hand for kids to come and dance with their friends. Parents will appreciate the energy release and kids will have a blast!
5) Craft Corner: Think simple crafts that don't have lots of small pieces but can be made within 5 to 15 minutes and are easy for kids to take home - i.e. friendship bracelet making station, oragami folding station, bead or macaroni jewelry station, etc.
6) Game Walk: Think a cake walk but with donated board and card games instead! Ask volunteers to donate new or gently used board games, or scour local thrift and discount stores; set up like a cake walk or auction and gets excited about winning games they can play with their family.
7) Sand Art: This sit-down activity is a kid's favorite and gives them a keepsake to take home as well. Tip: Get more out of your sand by placing small plates underneath where kids fill their bottles and have volunteers refill the stock bottles with what's left behind.
8) Tattoo/Face Paint: This novelty booth is a must-have for the kid's corner at your big event! Bulk temporary tattoos are cost-effective and super fast and simple to apply, but face paint is also fun for kids (and volunteers). Have a variety of designs handy for kids to choose from.
9) Hula Hoop: Yep, it's that easy. Have 5 to 10 hula hoops handy and watch kids make a time of it!
10) Cupcake Booth: With inexpensive toppings like sprinkels, chocolate chips and icing, kids can decorate their own mini cupcakes for a quick, sweet treat!
* * *
Tip: Coordinate family fun zone volunteers with free online sign up sheets! Easy online scheduling, 24/7 access from computers and smartphones plus automated reminders
See's Candies is giving four lucky winners 180 signature, chocolate eggs each in their 3 most popular flavors - chocolate butter, bordeaux, and peanut butter, yum! Winners will receive the free product shipped straight from See's and can raise $1,000 quick with a flash fundraiser held by their school, team, or group.
Teaching children how to become environmental stewards illustrates a true investment in the future and that’s why we love the Learning Garden Challenge from DOLE Fruit Bowls® and Captain Planet Foundation.
School staff, parents or volunteers involved with a school that has an existing Learning Garden can enter for a chance to win up to $5,000, a one-year supply of DOLE Fruit Bowls, and essential Learning Garden tools from Captain Planet Foundation, including a mobile garden cooking cart, learning garden lessons and lesson supply bins.
Learning Gardens are a multi-faceted, educational platform which teaches kids the joys and responsibilities of tending and maintaining a garden while also illustrating the science behind how plants grow. Learning Gardens also bring discussions of nutrition to the forefront and provide a safe and welcoming environment for social interaction and encourage working together for a common goal.
Does your school have a Learning Garden? Enter for a chance to win BIG today and ensure your garden continues at your school for years to come! Click HERE
Ends March 12, 2014.
Fundraising fatigue is a hot topic in school news this season, with parents over-spent and worn out from feeling like they are too frequently 'hit up for money' by their kids' schools. One significant way to challenge fundraiser burnout is to change up the products with which your school chooses to fundraise. Choosing the right product fundraiser can change how parents view 'donating' to the school and engage more families in giving. It's as easy as:
1) Targeting the right people: Parents are the ones doing the buying! Find new creative fundraising solutions in trendy items parents love - fair trade coffees, gourmet chocolates, luxury bed sheets, homemade pies, reusable bags, delicious pastries and keepsakes with their kids' artwork on them are a few of the hottest items for 2014.
2) Making transactions easier: Finding the right product fundraiser should involve researching the ease of ordering and digital application that is incorporated into the sales process. Moving away from pen-and-pencil order forms to online ordering is totally trending as are scrip gift cards, and on-the-spot transactions with tech gadgets like Square.
3) Socializing sales: Product fundraisers are definitely a family affair and what better way to boost profits then to get more people involved by spreading the word on facebook, twitter, pinterest and instagram. Knowing how parents can quickly share this season's fundraiser with grandparents, co-workers and social friends is key to choosing the right fundraiser for your school - do they have social shares integrated into the ordering process? Do they make uploading and sharing photos easy?
4) Adding rewards & incentives: Everybody love prizes so find out what incentive programs product fundraisers can offer students AND parents. Great examples include Square 1 Art that gives bonus artwork stickers to participating students and BRAX fundraising that is holding a sweeps for Amazon gift cards, iPads and more to schools who participate in fundraisers. Adding incentives like a pizza party for the class or grade and/or a silly thing the principal will pledge to do will also garner added participation.
Our thanks to the Association of Fund-Raising Distributors & Suppliers (AFRDS) conference in Orlando, FL who shared how their professional product fundraisers help schools and clubs raise more than $2 BILLION per year for this post. Local professional fundraising representatives can help guide your group in choosing the best option for your community.
Find out more about product fundraising with AFRDS’ Product Fundraising Handbook and check out their Tool for Evaluating Fundraising Companies. VolunteerSpot is proudly sponsored by fundraising companies, check out our website for fabulous Fundraising Ideas and scroll through our past blog articles on Fundraising for more fresh ideas and tips for raising money for your school or group!
Image products from left to right:
It's a simple fundraising formula . . . more participants + social marketing = bigger profits! It's easy to boost turnout with strategic social media posts, well-selected fundraisers and simple marketing plans.
Check out all our top tips, ideas and resources in our popular webinar slideshare below or click HERE, and don't miss our great sponsors Square 1 Art and Mixed Bag Designs below!
* * *
And many THANKS to our wonderful friends and sponsors at
Square1Art and MixedBags!
Visit them online for more information and to get started today!
What a year! BIG announcements, awesome spotlights, new trends for schools and nonprofits plus plenty of volunteer management ideas made 2013 a year to remember. Don't miss some of our most-read, highest-rated blog posts from the year below:
* * *
Volunteer Management Resources!
* * *
* * *
School Parent Reads!
Winter and holiday-themed carnivals and festivals can be far different from their spring and fall counterparts, but are just as fun! Check out our favorite winter carnival game ideas:
Treausre Dig: Little kids will love this winter carnival game; simply place small prizes in a container of 'snow' (crumpled and shredded paper). If your event is outside, use real snow!
Santa Hat Ring Toss: Place Santa hats or Frosty top hats over small cones so they stay perked up and use wide plastic rings for kids to toss.
Spoon Snow Relay: With "snow" or mini marshmallows on a spoon, have kids take part in a traditional relay where those who cross the finish line without dropping any 'snow' win a prize.
Snowflake Pop: Take your annual balloon dart game and use balloons with snowflakes on them instead (or drawn them on yourself)!
Snowman Toss Game: With a large cardboard snowman which has 2 holes (at the mouth and in the center), have kids toss "snowballs" (white pom poms) to see if they can get it through the snowman!
* * *
Image & Snowman Toss Game Idea Courtesy of http://intheleafytreetopsthebirdssing.blogspot.com/2012/01/mr-singing-snowman-pom-pom-snowballs.html
What if you could preserve the imaginative and creative works your children create when they’re younger, forever? Well now you can (while raising money for your school), and it’s easier than ever with our friends and sponsor at Square 1 Art!
Square 1 Art offers a super creative fundraiser for schools that parents can really get behind. By turning your kids’ artwork into memorable keepsakes that last a lifetime, Square1Art is all about helping schools raise money and parents support their kids’ arts education.
Online and paper ordering available, Square 1 Art helps schools manage an organized fundraiser and makes it incredibly easy for schools to submit artwork and place orders. Plus, orders come with bonus sticker sets of kids’ artwork that children themselves will be very proud of.
Popular products include:
- Magnet sets
- Key chains
- Kitchen Trivets
- Cookie Plates
Not only does Square1Art provide a profitable fundraising solution for schools, they are also your school’s answer for fabulous holiday gift-giving this season or next. Imagine turning that beautiful painting little Timmy made last week into screen printed mugs for the grandparents or a framed canvas print for Timmy’s bedroom?
School Artwork Display
Square 1 Art additionally offers a fundraiser that becomes a legacy for the school – the Tile Wall. With artwork from students in the school made into colorful tiles, schools can turn hallway walls into a masterpiece, more info here.
If you chair the fundraising committee or are simply on the lookout for new, unique fundraisers that are sure to be a hit at your school, share Square 1 Art! Request more info
Did you catch our free fundraising webinar? One of our biggest and best yet - if you missed it, check out the slideshow below and download the recording here: Download Boosting Fundraiser Turn-out and Profits Recording (Takes a few minutes to download)