I’m sure at some point in your life, maybe even right now, you are trying to raise funds for a cause or organization that you are passionate about or a part of. It’s typically one of the least liked parts of being in a club, on a team, or a member of an organization. Asking people to donate their money is a tough conversation at times and not one that many of us relish the task of doing.
I am an advisor of a personal finance club in my school called The Millionaire’s Club and our directive for raising club funds is a little different to most other school clubs. We are not allowed to ask for funds. Instead, we have to earn our club funds through entrepreneurship projects. The key difference to an entrepreneurship project vs having a fundraiser where students are “selling something” is that an entrepreneurship project should be actively trying to solve a problem for people, rather than trying to convince them “buy” something they don’t need or want to support the organization.
My proposal to you is to adopt a similar plan. Treat a fundraiser as an opportunity to take your group through the process of starting a business and providing solutions to their customers’ problems. Think about the group you want to serve, what problems they have and what solutions you can provide that they would be willing to pay for. Alternatively, go through a Mind Map or Collect and Connect session as a group, generate a business idea, and then identify who the right market is to buy it.
Often we like to operate within one of those two setups. Most school fundraisers like to target local communities and alumni since they are the ones with whom you have a relationship already, and it’s an easier sale to make. For other organizations, your target audience may be sympathizers with the mission of the non-profit, or people who would directly benefit from what you are trying to accomplish. Sometimes you don’t need an audience who are familiar with your work at all since they are just interested in your product or service!
Some of the classic fundraising ideas that we see do operate almost like a business. I can think of ones like car-washes, christmas tree collections, or mulch delivery straight away. BUT are the group thinking about promoting and running it like a business or like a fundraiser? Are they targeting the right customer and adopting a marketing mix that will generate sales? If the answer is no, then it may only take a small change to drastically improve your numbers!
What are your top business ideas that have also worked as a fundraiser? I’d love to hear them. My Millionaire’s Club is currently operating virtual game tournaments for students. They are going to facilitate organized tournaments online in games such as chess, Uno, Rocket League, Super Smash Bros., FIFA, Madden, Fortnite, etc. I’m really excited to see how it develops and how successful they end up being. If you’d like to follow along with their journey, check it out on their Instagram account.