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6 Little-Known Tips to Run a Successful Fundraiser

You know the number one way to get people to give you money? Ask and then count to ten in your head. That silence will make people uncomfortable and they’ll donate just to make the dead space go away. You don’t have time to do that for your entire fundraising campaign and making people feel uncomfortable isn’t the best way to raise dollars for your cause. If you want to run a successful fundraiser, you need more ammo than this.

Tips for a Successful Fundraiser

Need other ideas on how to raise money? We’ve got six tips, below.

1. Do a Profit-Sharing Fundraiser with Other Businesses

There are plenty of local (and chain) businesses in your town that host fundraisers. Usually, they’ll share 10% of their profits with you, for a few hours one day.

To set this up, you’ll have to call around and ask which restaurants offer fundraising options. Get the details and write everything down.

Then talk with your organization and pick a day to hold your fundraiser. On some Google My Business listings (the little box that pops up with a restaurant’s contact and hours) you can see their busiest times each day.

Try to plan your fundraiser in one of those busy windows. That way you’ll have a better chance of raising more.


Now – some restaurants will only share the profits with you if the person brought in your flyer. This makes things a little tricky, especially if you don’t have an easy way to distribute them. We highly suggest printing your flyers in advance and sending them out via direct mail.

Another thing you can do is head to local events and hand out your flyer. It doesn’t cost extra, they just have to remember to bring your flyer.

If you want to be really smart, plan your fundraiser hours around different sports schedules and hand flyers out to parents at their kid’s games. That way they can take the whole team to eat and come support your cause!

Need help printing flyers to give out? We’ve got you covered.

Why do this before your big fundraiser? It’ll give you some extra cash to spend on last-minute things you forgot to budget for, or some room for error if you’ve spent more than you thought you would.

2. Incentivize Hot-and-Cold Donors

Every organization has those donors that seem really committed for a few years, disappear, then reappear as if nothing happened. To make sure those donors don’t disappear when you need them this year, send a special invite to them, offering them 1/2 off their ticket price, $100 off a table, or two extra raffle tickets. If they’re big donors (and those are the ones you should target) that little incentive should more than make up for with their donation.

While the donors who have a lower spend are important, you really want to bring in those bigger donors who come around every once in a while and turn them into monthly givers. Make sure you have a spot on your donation sheet at the event to “make it monthly” and make it as easy as possible to sign up for.

3. Give Donors Recognition

One big reason people donate to non-profits is for the recognition they get. Whether that’s egotistical or not doesn’t matter- you have a bottom line to reach each month.

So the more publically you thank/announce your donors, the happier they’ll be and the more they’ll donate in the future (hopefully).

Can you talk to a local billboard company and ask them if they’ll donate space so you can display your donors for a week or so? This is a great way to give them some serious recognition. If you can’t swing an entire billboard. Have a large banner printed with all of their names, hang it in your office space and replace it every year. Make sure you also announce donors online.

4. Don’t Write Off College Kids


While college kids individually don’t have much money to spend, you can mobilize large groups of them. Sororities and fraternities, for example, have philanthropies or causes they raise money for.

Find out what their philanthropic endeavors are and appeal to whomever’s mission is closest to yours. If the group doesn’t want to or can’t raise money for you – can they volunteer to work the event? Sororities usually have required volunteer hours, so you’re likely to find some willing candidates.

If you don’t have a big university in your town but there’s one less than an hour away, you can still ask! Volunteers can carpool to your event or you can send someone to pick up their donation.

Even if it’s something as simple as a “penny drive” where students put all their spare change towards a cause, don’t write off the energy and enthusiasm of local young people.

5. Invite a Local Celebrity

Hometown celebrities can be local bands, favorite artists, or even the mayor – it doesn’t have to be a big-time celebrity to catch people’s attention. Have them post about your event on social media to help drive more people to your event and send out flyers promoting their appearance.

You should invite this person to your event free of cost since they’re doing you a favor with their presence and added publicity.

6. Have a Posing Place

Let’s be honest. In this “Instagram age” if you didn’t take a picture, did it even happen?

To make sure people have proof that they came to your event (and donated) make sure you set up some sort of photo backdrop for them to take pictures in front of.

This will also get some mentions of your fundraiser and your organization on different profile pages, extending your audience. Have a hashtag that people post with their pictures to help further promote your cause.

Running an Effective Fundraising Campaign

No one said running a fundraising campaign was easy, but it’s doable with the right materials. We can’t help you with the hiring bit, but we can make sure all your printed materials for your fundraiser are high-quality and within your budget.

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