12 Fundraising Tips for Small Businesses

Monday, June 17, 2013

12 Fundraising Tips for Small Businesses

Even though many organizations shy away from fundraising, it’s an excellent choice to get some much-needed funds during tough economic times. However, it’s essential to choose the right vehicles and reach the right donors, participants, sponsors and volunteers. Here are few fundraising tips to look for. 

Image credit: iqoncept / 123RF Stock Photo

1. Establish Goals

First, determine your financial goals and then cut them into manageable amounts. Estimate costs for fundraising initiatives. Put a team together, and create a project plan and assign roles and responsibilities. Equip your participants with the tools they need to manage their responsibilities and get set on the next processes. 

2. Identify Your Target Audience 

Who will respond to your fundraising efforts? Will you approach the general public or limit yourself only to small and large organizations in several related industries? Put some thought into this. Look up the fundraising history of similar new small businesses, whether in the same industry or not, for inspiration and ideas. 

3. Identify Sources

You need a list of potential donors and sponsors. Consider your friends, family, colleagues, local businesses, industry influencers, government organizations, universities, research organizations and so on. Determine the minimum amount for each source, and aim to achieve it. 

4. Determine Timelines and Checklists

You need to prepare several months in advance and brew master checklists. Include activities such as recruiting people, producing promotional material, deciding on the number of events and locations, tracking fundraising performance, and a whole lot more. Make your checklist complete and indicate timelines against each one. 

5. Have All the Answers Ready

You should be able to answer any questions about your need for the money and what you want to do with it. Since you are a business, consider the legal implications of the fundraising. You might need to register at the State Attorney’s office. Check with the IRS about the taxation aspects, as well. 

6. Create Your Fundraising Web Page

You can either create a page in a professional fundraising site, or build a website of your own. Personalize it, upload clear and enticing descriptions and put up team pictures to help donors get to know you and your objective. Email the link to all your contacts, and also post it on your social media accounts. 

7. Make It Easy To Donate

Make sure your fundraising website is 100% secure – use the latest SSL technology to enable safe donations. Accept donations via credit card, debit card, PayPal accounts and other e-wallets. Make sure there’s a Contact Us page where people can get your physical address, to send check donations. Place a large, prominent Donate Now button on every page, above the fold. 

8. Promote Your Fundraiser

Announce your fundraiser via PR, via your blog, via social media, email, local media and the combined circle of contacts of your team members. Your participants and volunteers should also spread the word to their family, friends, neighbours, co-workers, and social networks. Keep a fresh set of promotional flyers and posters ready for bulletin boards at local supermarkets, offices, churches and so on. 

9. Go Social

Leverage social media in every possible way. Conduct Facebook events, use LinkedIn and network with industry influencers on Facebook. Participate in and assist other fundraisers, in exchange for support, in return. Use Facebook to connect with your company’s personal networks and expand your reach. Create a dedicated channel on YouTube and post useful and engaging videos to gain support for your cause. 

10. Get the Most from Sponsors

Any local business, group or organization, can become a sponsor. Contact local pubs, restaurants, supermarkets, retail outlets and so on. Remember sponsors are partners, so always provide values in return for their sponsorship. Sponsors can help you with money, event sponsorships, prizes, skills, gifts, time and much more. 

11. Contact Other Companies

Create a small business strategy and make a list of the companies you know, such as your vendors, customers, partners, investors and so on. Don’t ask for donations. Rather, request for sponsorships, contacts, venues for events, manpower and so on, in return for publicity. 

12. Organize a Fundraising Activity

A fundraising activity will bring a fantastic deal of public attention and hype your way. For example, if you manufacture children’s’ toys, you can run a fundraising event at your local school. Local businesses should be able to donate prizes and even help with the catering. Conduct fun games, dances, raffle sales, bake sales and be sure to give some toys as prizes!

About the author-

Gagan is a freelance writer from GoGetFunding.com, an online fundraising website.

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