10 Basic Tips for First Time Fundraising Coordinators

You've volunteered, or somebody volunteered you, to coordinate your organization's fundraising efforts this year. Congratulations.

If it's your first time to be tasked with this responsibility, you may be wondering what to do next. Don't worry, fundraising doesn't have to be difficult.

You can start out by requesting a short meeting with last year's coordinator, who should be able to hand over the reigns efficiently, explain the bookkeeping to you, and brief you on how successful last year's campaign was.

And while there is a lot to remember, and a lot of work ahead of you, you'll be able to succeed by keeping a few simple things in mind.

Delegate

Fundraising is a big job, so don't try to do everything yourself. Delegate as many tasks as you can to other volunteers. And remember, the actual raising of funds, whether it means asking people for money, selling candy, or putting on a show, should never rest on the shoulders of just one or two people. This is what your army of volunteers will do best.

Research

Don't select a fundraising project just because a lot of members said it sounded like a good idea. Do some research. Has your group done that particular type of fundraising before? Get the data and see what the results were. And if you have never done it before, do some more research, and try to make an educated guess as to how much money you can raise with it.

Avoid risk

Fundraisers that require your organization to buy a large quantity of products ahead of time can be dangerous, unless you're absolutely sure you can sell everything. Find out what your up-front expenses are, and how quickly and easily you can earn them back.

Be creative

Organizations tend to settle on a relative handful of fundraising techniques over and over again, without branching out. Sure, you can sell candy bars again this year, just like you've done every year, and just like every other group in town also does. But you may find that if you look at some creative options, you'll make more money, and everyone involved will have a lot more fun in the process.

Play fair

Take good care of your volunteers. Don't ask too much of them, because it's very easy to get burned out. A common mistake is to take advantage of a zealous volunteer by loading them up with more and more tasks–and this works only for a short time. Distribute the workload as equitably as you can, and rotate tasks periodically so nobody gets bored.

Reward your volunteers

They're not getting a paycheck, but it is nice to get some recognition and a pat on the back every now and then. Personal satisfaction is great, but everyone wants some external “attaboy's” every now and then. Small rewards and prizes along the way for a job well done, or for accomplishing a particular milestone, will go a long way towards greater volunteer participation.

Socialize

Keep your group social. People may be participating in your group because they believe in the cause, but they also want to have a social experience. Make volunteer activities group-oriented when possible.

Keep committees small

Don't let things get bogged down in committee. Keep your committees small, with only a small representative sampling of the larger group. Larger committees will be inefficient. At the same time, don't feel like you need to get the entire group's approval on every procedure. If something does merit going before the entire membership, going for 100 percent consensus is probably going to result in a hung jury. Nothing will get approved.

Keep scrupulous records

Bookkeeping and record-keeping may be one of the more boring parts of being a fundraising coordinator, but it's nonetheless essential. Besides keeping records for tax and legal reasons, your records will help future fundraising coordinators know what worked well and what didn't during your tenure.

Be available

Always make yourself available whenever possible. Volunteers may need to contact you with a question or problem, so make sure your personal contact information is available to everyone involved.

Comments

  1. Lucy Godding says:

    Great resource. Thanks!

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