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Fundraising Idea of the Month:

by Doug Nash

Most non-profits run more than one fundraiser per year, probably they each would run several in a calendar year. One mistake that groups can make is to think that each individual fundraiser is isolated from all the other fundraisers that the organisation is involved in. In business terms we are talking about goodwill. Do the public and your workers see you in a favourable light? Will they give you the benefit of doubt - are you an organisation or people worth supporting?

While it is an excellent idea to have different individuals take responsibility for each project, it is something else entirely to expect the general public to separate each project. The trap here is that the different leaders may fail to communicate and develop an isolation rather than independent philosophy. You can benefit from other groups who make this mistake - you don't want others benefiting from your organisation making this mistake.

The public and your volunteers will judge your organisation and each fundraiser by their last experience. So if they were involved in your last raffle and it was not a positive experience you will have more difficulty getting them aboard for your next fundraiser even if it something completely different like a face painting stall. This effect is magnified in the case of volunteers. It takes several well run successful fundraisers to build a reputation or goodwill that will attract people and just one to wipe out all that effort.

That is the key - people's expectations. Are they in your favour or not. If they are for you, things will go easier. If they are against you, because their last experience was less than inspiring, then you will have to do it tougher.

It is a wise fundraiser, probably one who has been involved in many events, that never rests on the success of the last fundraiser and does not pay the usually high attention required to the next fundraiser.

Each fundraiser is dependant to an extent on those that have gone before and will have an effect on those that will follow. Even the annual events will have the same influence. A good annual fete this year was affected by last years' fete and will affect people's expectations for next years' fete. Anyone who has ever contacted a donor or volunteer who has had a bad experience, even if was years ago will know what I am talking about.

It is your own best interest to take into consideration the history of your fundraising efforts and what legacy you want leave for those who follow your footsteps.

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About the Author:

Doug Nash lives in Logan City in Queensland, Australia. He has graciously consented to share a fundraising idea with us every month. Although many of the ideas aren't new, each of them has a unique flair that comes from being developed and refined half a world away from ours. Visit his web site at for more fundraising ideas.

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