How to Plan a Fundraiser Without Pulling Your Hair Out

July 12, 2017 | 1,296 views

How to Plan a Fundraiser Without Pulling Your Hair Out

How to Plan a Fundraiser Without Pulling Your Hair Out

Do you look at your fundraiser events and cringe thinking about the amount of work you have to put into make it a success? Many organizers do, but it doesn’t have to be that way.


Fundraisers don’t have to cause headaches to be a success. The key to bringing in big money is to enlist the help of a team of people and there’s a right way to go about doing so. Instead of putting out a blanket ask, here is another process you can follow to help you plan a fundraiser without pulling your hair out.

Break Your Fundraiser Into Chunks

Every event has a variety of different areas. Fundraisers can often be broken out into chunks, such as activities, sponsorships, food, etc.


For your fundraiser, decide on the big picture areas that you can divide your event into. Doing this first lets you break free from the overwhelm of looking at the big picture and feeling daunted by everything that has to get accomplished. Instead, you can simplify it by organizing it into smaller sections.


Reach Out to Specific People with Specific Jobs

Once you have your chunks pieced out, start thinking about who is best suited to take on each chunk. You’ll likely need several people to work in each area of your fundraiser, but start by thinking about who is best fit to lead each of the overarching tasks you need accomplished.


With a handful of power players in mind, reach out to each person and let them know about the specific role you envision for them to play with your fundraiser. For example, if you know someone who is well-connected, ask if she’d be up for helping you get sponsorships. Or, if you know someone who is active on the culinary scene in your town, reach out and ask if he’d be interested in helping you plan the food.


Break Chunks Into Bite Sized Pieces

Once you have your department heads, break down each chunk into tasks. Don’t worry about getting too specific or too trivial with each task. Write down everything that needs tackling and put it into a project manager.


Once you have your list, start assigning people to take on each role. Collaborate with the department head to figure out who is the best volunteer for the job at hand. Then, start calling and asking for help with specific items. The more specific you get, the easier it’ll be to get people to say yes taking more tasks off your to do list.


Put a Timeline Together

With your tasks laid out, it’s time to map out when you need things accomplished. Start assigning deadlines so your committee members have an end date in mind. Without deadlines, you’ll cause yourself more of a headache by hoping everything aligns at the right time. Hint: It won’t without putting a timeline together, causing you undue stress.


Give Volunteers Accountability

Volunteers want to feel like they’re a part of a bigger purpose and to do that, they need to feel accountable for their actions. By putting your volunteers on your schedule and holding them accountable for achieving specific goals, you give them the incentive they need to follow through on the jobs they’re assigned to.


Scheduling volunteers motivates them to show up because they see that the rest of the team are counting on their presence. Giving them goals motivates them to sprint toward an end result instead of leaving it open. By holding your volunteers accountable for your fundraiser’s overall success, you’re more likely to see them put in the effort required while also taking a load off your plate.


Get Going But Don’t Try to Do It Alone

Too often, fundraiser planners try to do too much on their own. By giving away as much as possible to volunteers, you can free yourself of getting drained by tedious tasks. Instead, you’ll enjoy the experience and can focus on finding creative ways to continue bringing in more money, making your event a huge success.



Author Profile Jon Forknell is the Vice President and General Manager of Atlas Business Solutions, Inc., a software marketing company specializing in employee scheduling software, including ScheduleBase employee scheduling software, and other business software solutions. In the past, Jon has been recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration as a SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year. Atlas Business Solutions was named as one of Software Magazine’s Top 500 Software Companies in 2004 through 2007 and again in 2010, 2013 and 2014.

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