Do you ever daydream about going on a great vacation? It’s fun to think of all of the great sights and things to do once you get to the destination. But usually there’s lots of planning involved, such as planning around schedules, getting tickets and placing reservations. It can be quite an ordeal. But once you’re on your dream vacation, boy is it worth it.
Oddly enough, creating fundraising goals is itself a little like going on a trip.
The Destination: Long Term & Yearly Goals
What’s the first thing you do when you decide to go on a trip? Yes, that’s right – choose the destination. Is it Disneyworld or New York City? Will you camp at the local state park or Yellowstone? Starting a fundraising program without a predefined goal is like getting in your car at the beginning of a vacation and saying, “I don’t know where we’re going, but I hope we get there!” (Doesn’t make much sense, does it?)
Your yearly goal is the final destination that your group should be striving for all year long. Whether your organization follows the calendar year, school year, fiscal year, or whatever the case may be, you still need to set this long term destination goal.
Budgetary requirements generally guide the financial goals that are needed for your organization. What are the total expenses for the year, and how much of those expenses need to be covered by fundraising efforts? Write down this “big target” number that needs to be reached by the end of the year.
The Roadmap: Project Goals
Now that you’ve decided on a fundraising destination, the next step is to break down that number into smaller, more manageable goals.
Imagine your organization’s individual fundraisers such as events, raffles, or candy sales as the highways you will take to get to your final destination. Therefore, each individual campaign or event has its own fundraising goals. The combined goal amount should equal or be greater than the yearly goal.
Having too many fundraisers that appeal to the same audience can become burdensome and reduces the effectiveness of your efforts. By forecasting the amount of funds needed, you’ll be able to plan the right amount of individual fundraisers.
The Pit-Stops: Fine Tuning Your Fundraising Goals
During the course of the year, periodically review your fundraising goals. Have your fundraisers met their individual targets? If not, the “pit-stops” are times when you can do some fine tuning to your list of goals and objectives.
Consider ways that you can earn more on the remaining fundraisers
1. Increase attendance at your event by adding something unusual, like a door prize drawing, a contest or a “celebrity” appearance
2. Place calls or send letters to get more prizes donated for your raffle or auction
3. Add an additional source of revenue to already planned
4. Add an easy fundraiser that doesn’t require much time from volunteers, such as an online magazine fundraiser
Reaching Your Destination
Your group has worked hard to raise funds for your cause. Be sure to celebrate along the way, thanking donors and volunteers. Each year evaluate what programs worked best, how you can improve upon them, and ways that you can become more efficient in planning the fundraising programs.
About the Author: Sandra Sims has been raising money for non profit organizations for over 10 years. She is the publisher of Step By Step Fundraising e-zine and website, which will help you get maximum results from your fundraising campaigns. Get a free copy of the special report The 5 Keys to Successful Fundraising .