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Managing a Fundraiser
by Deane Brengle
Ever since I began writing and publishing online about fundraising for small groups in 1996 the most asked question I get is "What's the hottest fundraiser right now?"
And the best answer that I've been able to come up with is "You're asking the wrong question".
Believe it or not, I'm not being a smart ass when I say that. Because just relying on the latest fundraising fad isn't going to get your group ahead in the long run.
The question I think everyone should be asking is "What mix of fundraisers is best for my group?"
Yes, mix. A successful year long fundraising schedule for your group should include a variety of fundraisers. This should be an ever changing mix of fundraisers that reflects not only the latest trends but relies on the proven money makers you repeat every year. And keeps you, your members, and your supporters from fundraising burnout!
I've taken time to research the suppliers for each fundraiser so I can personally recommend the best. So here goes the top 5 fundraising mix I recommend for 2008.
A time tested favorite fundraiser that hasn't lost its edge. In fact it now offers more options than ever before. Direct sale fundraisers like this put your profit in your pocket fast. No matter if your group is large or small almost everyone you ask can find a loose dollar or two in their wallet or purse to buy a candy bar or lollipop. From gourmet chocolate to themed suckers you can find the right match for your group.
Selling discount cards is a no brainer. Who wouldn't want a card that offers discounts at local businesses that we all use everyday? Any group can do it. They are an easy sell with high profits. You only make one visit. And there are no returns or damaged merchandise to worry about. And it even meets the guidelines if your group is worried about healthy fundraisers.
Make money for your group with two of America's favorite fundraising items, pizza and cookie dough. Pre sell from brochures with no risk. Three pizza sizes with a variety of toppings for any taste. And frozen cookie dough in the same brochure with 10 different flavors. Food combinations like this are proven to increase sales, make you more money, and it's an easier sell when your fundraising product is replacing something they already buy for everyday use.
Tap into the online auction craze and open up a whole new source of revenue for your nonprofit group. Your members and supporters can donate unused items and benefit your group. It's one of the hot new fundraising methods that is here to stay. This is a great way to add to your fundraising mix and it takes very little time or effort once you get it set up and running. Have a stand alone online auction with one or many items. Have one auction a year or many, it's up to you. Or use it as an add-on to a live event you are holding.
Recycle empty printer cartridges and old cell phones for cash. Collect them from your members, supporters, family, friends, and businesses and make money for your group while doing your part for recycling and the environment. There is absolutely no cost to participate in their program. It’s all free. There are free boxes, free shipping, free promotional materials, free online accounting and free phone support. Even sign up is free. This fundraiser is the wave of the future. Another way to expand your fundraising mix without the fear of burning out your supporters.
You can see that this fundraising mix relies on traditional fundraisers, variations of traditional fundraisers, and some hi-tech 21st century fundraisers. That's what it takes now days to keep your fundraising machine functioning at peak performance. And just like a machine it needs maintenance. So keep your ears open and a watchful eye out for new ideas and new variations of the old to keep your fundraising mix fresh.
Well that's the Top 5 for right now. I'm always researching both the old standby fundraisers and new ones to see what's best for groups like yours, so be sure and bookmark this page and stop by regularly to see what new fundraising options I'm exploring for you.
About the Author: Deane Brengle is the editor of several free online publications that cover fundraising for small nonprofit groups. You can visit these publications and read more about fundraising in articles by him and other experts in the field at The Fund$Raiser Cyberzine, The Fundraising for Small Groups Newsletter, and Fundraising Booklets.
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