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Fundraising Idea of the Month:

by Doug Nash

Incentives are a great way to improve your bottom line, either by enticing people to pull out their wallets or by motivating even slightly better performances from your volunteers. When it comes to incentives there are many well worn options however if you use your imagination and make the incentives relevant and personal to your situation the effects can really pay off not in money but in the groups atmosphere and long term performance. A warning though, be vary careful that a rewards system does not adversely affect your bottom line. A badly thought out or poorly implemented incentive scheme can do as much if not more damage than no incentive scheme at all.

Instead of dipping into your own assets, use your imagination to attract a sponsor or some donations to use instead. You can also use an incentive plan to achieve this goal.

When selling items, whether it is tickets, candy items, pledges or opportunities not to be embarrassed, you can have prizes for the most sold either in amount or value. However you may want to have a few novelty ideas like for most unusual sale, best effort without a sale or most humorous sale.

In a case like selling tickets, you may want to have every fifth or tenth ticket a different colour. These special tickets can then go into a separate draw or be used to accumulate points in winning the first prize. Another idea is that the person selling that ticket simply keeps all or part of the money for that ticket.

Instead of rewarding the most sales, some believe this can be unfair as not everyone has the same opportunities to make sales, maybe you place all those who made an effort into a hat and draw out a set number of winners. Many believe this is a fairer system and some who would not bother participating may be more likely to get involved and have a go.

Hold a mystery draw. Place all tickets in a hat and draw the winner, you can have a mystery prize for the person who sold the ticket and the person who bought the ticket.

The most powerful incentives though are free, a timely spoken "please" and "thank you" can work wonders both in regards to volunteers and buyers. Nothing will turn away a volunteer more permanently then the feeling of being mistreated or not their efforts, no matter how small in regards to others, not being recognised nor appreciated. During your pep talks you should single out and congratulate people in front of their peers. For instance you may want to recognise the person who solved a thorny problem or came up with a timely suggestion.

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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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