Fundraising is an important method of public outreach and meeting financial needs for worthy organizations and causes. This is especially true for non-profit organizations. After a fundraising event, the organizers might be left uncertain about whether their efforts were successful. Measuring success is not as simple as it sounds, and there are a few things to keep in mind when assessing your project.
The Purpose of The Event
Success will be determined by the goal of the project planners. A fundraising event might seem unsuccessful if it did not raise a lot of money. But if money was not the primary goal of the event, then it could still be thought to be a success. Sometimes, a fundraising event will help with public outreach and perception. People become aware of the cause. If you had a few great interactions and had the opportunity to explain the purpose of your organization, then you could consider it a success.
On the other hand, if you had a specific financial goal to cover some expense, then success might be more contingent on whether you could meet that goal. But even if that specific goal was not met, you still learned about managing a fundraising project, and in the future, you will be more likely to meet your goals. Either way, success should be defined broadly.
Making Use of Digital Marketing
Marketing is not at all what it used to be. You do not have to plaster little signs at the laundromat to get attention. Utilizing the full range of digital marketing will be an important factor in determining whether you were successful. Outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google +, etc., will put you in touch with your target audience in a way that you would otherwise not be able to achieve.
The question that you should ask is how you attempted to reach them. If you relied only on paid advertisements, then you might find that your campaign was not as successful as you would have liked. People tend to ignore paid advertisements. They respond better to what is known as inbound marketing. Inbound marketing is the process of creating content that people enjoy and drawing them to your organization. In this way, you will appear on their social media feed naturally.
Telling People How Their Donations Will Be Used
Sometimes there are commercials soliciting donations to feed hungry children in third world countries. But the organizations that arrange these projects do not merely ask for money. They tell people specifically what their donation will do. They might say something like, “50 cents will give a child a meal.” These are so effective because viewers know, specifically, how their money will be spent.
The same principle can be applied to almost any fundraising project. Tell people that their money will be used to outfit volunteers, to purchase a tool, or something like that. If you did that, then you were more likely to have seen a positive response.
Did You Use YouTube?
YouTube is a social media outlet that is sometimes overlooked. But people are more likely to watch a video than they are to read an article. If one of your volunteers has experience in making videos, she could have applied her skills in that way. If you could produce a high-quality video on YouTube with an exciting and charismatic speaker, that will be a sign of success, even if you did not reach your fundraising goals. The ability to produce these videos is a sign that you have the resources for public outreach.
A Strong Team of Volunteers
When somebody donates their time to your organization, that is probably just as valuable as when somebody donates financially. Volunteers are the lifeblood of a fundraising project. In this post by Fundraising Insight, the author points out that you can get the most out of your volunteers by allowing them to emphasize their skills, such as producing YouTube videos. Ask them what they would like to do.
Was There Positive Reinforcement?
Since success is measured in different ways, all of the volunteers need to feel as though they did a great job interacting with the community, even when financial goals are not met. A celebration party might be to encourage everybody. Highlight the strengths of the fundraising effort and let everyone know what they did right. Save adjustments for the planning process of the next project. The celebration is a time for encouragement and positive reinforcement.
Did You Partner with Other Organizations?
There are a lot of organizations out there who have similar goals. Some major corporations might be willing to support a fundraising project to improve their brand. Reaching out to businesses and organizations will have set a precedent for future projects. It creates alliances in the community and helps to solidify your presence. If you did this, then you are more likely to succeed in the future.
Did You Start the Fundraiser With $0?
If potential donors see that you are nowhere near your goal, they might think that donating to your cause is a waste of money. Typically, we advise what is known a soft launch. Reach out to some of your major contributors before the event so that you can get started.
Putting the Fun in Fundraising
Fundraising does not have to be a couple of volunteers sitting at a kiosk with a sign. There are more interactive ways to draw attention. Some suggest creating an auction or a marathon. People are more likely to donate if they expect an exciting experience.
If you did these things, you can probably say that your fundraiser was a success. Having your financial needs met is not the only way to determine whether you did well. Setting a precedent for future events, having a solid team of volunteers and learning from your mistakes are just as powerful indicators of success.