Pennies for Pugs: What I Learned from my First Fundraising Experience
My very first fundraising experience was a full-fledged disaster. My parents owned three pugs and my grandma had two, so I grew up around them. And I loved them. I decided that I needed to do something to better the lives of pugs around the world. I resolved to launch a gardening service to raise funds to give to organizations that helped rescue pugs. It went wonderfully–until two girls down the street got wind of my idea and started doing the same thing for cheaper. I was devastated. Looking back, I would’ve just countered their offer, added an extra service to my features or maybe even scrounged up enough money in my piggy bank to hire an ip attorney. I’m mostly kidding about the attorney, but I wish I wouldn’t have thrown in the towel so soon. There are a lot of things you can do to keep your fundraiser afloat even if it seems to be taking a lengthy trip on the fail boat.
1. Utilize Your Resources
In the age of the Internet, there are endless sources of information about every topic imaginable. Community based volunteering organizations and local nonprofits have websites that could prove useful for your fundraising endeavors.
There are also great books and pamphlets about fundraising, especially on a small scale. If you’re unsure about the legal side of larger fundraising projects, asking a family member or friend who has knowledge of the law could be helpful.
2. Keep Up With The Jonses
If you’re competing with another similar fundraising campaign, make sure you’re up to speed with their tactics and techniques. Not so you can copy them, but so you can keep up and possibly stay a step ahead. Knowing the competition is key.
Take my gardening fundraiser failure for instance. Sure, I knew about the girls down the street offering to water plants for cheaper, but I didn’t do anything. It could have been because I was intimidated or maybe I was scared of failing again. Either way, keeping up with the current market and competitors is key to understanding what your audience likes and dislikes.
3. Know Your Target Audience
If you want to run a gardening service, but live in and around apartment complexes, you might consider the fact that most people in an apartment won’t have an extensive garden, if any at all. A family oriented neighborhood might be a better target audience for such a fundraiser.
Knowing your audience/demographic is a huge key to your fundraiser’s success. Even if you’re not doing much marketing, certain fundraisers are more successful for certain audiences. If your target audience involves college students, for example, a clothes-ironing service might not do as well as a food delivery fundraiser.
4. Add Extra Features
If the gardeners down the road are offering a complimentary hedge trimming with their watering services, try throwing in a mulch spreading or weeding option.
Keeping a leg up and staying alert shows potential clients or donors that you’re earnest in your fundraising goals. Show that you’re willing to work hard and your passion will attract plenty of positive attention.
Fundraisers, large or small are a great way to be involved with something you care about. Keep in mind larger projects that seem more original in nature might want to speak with an ip attorney to make sure no one swipes your idea. Your fundraiser is bound to be more successful than mine.