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Four Fundraiser Must-Do’s for Your Checklist

By Erica Everett

As public relations professionals, especially those in the non-profit sector, we’ve often been a part of a fundraiser at one point or another. While we usually work in a team or committee to bounce around ideas, sometimes we’re challenged with few resources and little time to accomplish big fundraising goals.

In August, I’ll be traveling to 11 countries in 11 months to do humanitarian work with local communities through a program called the World Race. When I first realized I would have to raise $18,000 in just a few months (by myself!), you could say I quickly jumped into “PR mode.” 

Utilizing my PR experience, I surpassed my $5,000 benchmark in just 40 days.  Here are a few key lessons I’ve learned in the process of spearheading a fundraiser that feels nearly impossible to tackle.

1. Establish a list of names    

This may seem simple and straightforward, but surprisingly enough, many people jump straight into a campaign without keeping a target audience in mind. Categorize your list into different groups of people:  individuals, organizations, friends with connections to businesses, and any other group that seems relevant. Once you have a list of contacts, you can begin to create a campaign that is geared to resonate with each of those categories.

2. Don’t just ask for money

Many times, people consider it a waste of time talking with those who likely cannot contribute financially to your cause. But overlooking this group can be detrimental to your fundraiser. Set up meetings, even if you are sure the individual or group won’t donate. Chances are they are willing to spread the word to close connections or may even offer another resource that you haven’t considered before. Don’t make money the end goal of every meeting, but rather be open-minded to where it could lead instead.

3. Create a kick-ass sponsorship package

It’s important to put time and effort into creating a solid sponsorship packet before you go setting up meetings without anything concrete to present. Too many sponsorships have been set up to have donors give money without a follow up on how their money made a difference. Be mindful to create sponsorships that give them timely updates on how their money is being used.

4. Give them a deadline

You could leave a meeting super confident that you just turned a potential donor into a sponsor, but busy work schedules often leave fundraiser sponsorships floating in someone's to-do box. Creating a sense of urgency and giving a final deadline will likely put your fundraiser on someone’s calendar and keep it at the forefront of their mind.

 To learn more about Erica’s World Race and to follow along on her journey, visit ericaeverett.theworldrace.org.

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