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”The newest trends in fundraising
are all about technology.”

CHAPTER 2

Overview of Fundraising

You’ve probably already participated in a few fundraisers in your time. But just like you learned all through high school, you have to review the basics before you can learn anything new. At least, we think that’s what our teachers were going for.

So in Chapter 2, we’re going to fill you in on who’s fundraising, the recent fundraising trends, and what the benefits are (besides money).

Before you give in to the urge to surge (we like to rhyme) forward, remember: understanding the basics is a must if you want to be successful later on.

Get this information under your belt first. It’ll better prepare you for the mind-blowing tips and advice we have for you later in the guide.

What is fundraising and who’s doing it?

According to Merriam-Webster, fundraising is an activity done to collect money for a political party, charity, school, etc. The word was first used in 1940.

Almost every group, team, non-profit and business has to fundraise at some point. Many often host fundraisers annually or biannually. Churches, booster clubs, business groups, sports teams, political groups, civic organizations, charities, clubs, educational groups, fraternities, sororities, societies, missionaries, musical groups, colleges and non-profits have to raise funds in order to attend conferences, host events, build facilities, and provide their services to their community.

What are the trends?

What could be worse than a donor that’s ready to give having a negative user experience on your mobile website?

The newest trends in fundraising are all about technology. Mobile giving (the use of smart phones or tablets to donate funds) is on the rise, especially with younger generations. “Text-to-give” campaigns and mobile giving apps have been especially successful. It’s important to optimize your website (if you have one) and online giving center for mobile devices. What could be worse than a donor that’s ready to give having a negative user experience on your mobile website? If they are unable to donate through mobile, they may not visit a computer later to donate and they likely won’t be donating to your organization again.

Crowdfunding, a fundraising method that involves requesting (usually online) a small amount of money from a large number of people to fund a project, has also become very popular. In 2013, nine percent of Americans gave through crowdfunding efforts. That number is expected the rise considerably in the future, especially among Generation Y. If your group is looking to reach a new audience and you haven’t been able to connect with the younger generation, following these trends will be crucial to your success.

Another important trend focuses on people’s attitudes toward fundraising. According to The Chronicle of Philanthropy, the economy is no longer causing people to donate less, but individuals are more angered by constant solicitations. Over 80 percent of participants in a survey reported feeling this way. For you, that means walking a fine line when requesting money. It’s always best to err on the side of caution and avoid being too aggressive or pushy.

What are the benefits (besides money)?

Fundraising can provide you with supplemental funds that enhance what your group does and provide new opportunities for your members. It can also benefit your community or an individual in your community that needs financial assistance. Besides the money, there are plenty of other reasons your group should fundraise.

If you really want team bonding to take place, break the group into smaller teams and make the fundraiser a challenge.

Team building – Your group or organization will need to come together as a team and work toward a goal. Fundraising efforts could bring them closer together, help them get to know each other better, and break down barriers between different departments or cliques. They can use the skills they learn through fundraising in their daily work or group responsibilities as well. If you really want team bonding to take place, break the group into smaller teams and make the fundraiser a challenge. This will motivate your group members to work together efficiently and create a more intense team bond within their small group.

Promotion – Hosting a fundraiser means you’ll have to get the word out about it, therefore spreading the word about your group or organization. Fundraising creates heightened awareness of your group and your cause. In order to promote your fundraiser, you should be putting up posters around town, making announcements at local events, running advertisements in the local paper and on the radio and TV stations and posting about your fundraiser on your website and social media. Raising funds for an important cause in your community puts your organization in a positive light – it’s free, positive publicity.

That “You done good, kid” feeling – While money, team building and promotion are nice, those shouldn’t be the reasons you’re fundraising. There should be an overarching goal (which may need funding to get off the ground) that serves a bigger purpose. Maybe it’s education or assisting someone in the community. Maybe it’s providing a safe place for teens to hang out after school. Maybe it’s raising awareness of an issue in your community that needs more support. Whatever it is, it should be something you can feel good about asking people to help fund. Throughout the process and when it’s complete, you’ll have that indescribable good feeling. You’ve helped someone out; you’ve done a good deed. Enjoy that feeling and let it guide you through the process.

Chapter 2 Wrap-up

So, what have we learned? We’ll give you a little recap before you move on.

  • The term fundraising got its start sometime around 1940.
  • Mobile giving is on the rise.
  • Mobile-optimized websites and giving centers are crucial for an online fundraising presence.
  • Crowdfunding is the belle of the ball.
  • To reach younger generations, you have to offer mobile giving options and crowdfunding is often a hit with them.
  • The economy isn’t slowing down giving any more, but over-solicitations are.
  • There are many benefits to fundraising besides the funds, like team building, promotion and that “You done good, kid” feeling.
  • Fundraise for the right reasons (aka doing a good deed). You’ll be happier and more successful that way.

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