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Eight Traits of Effective Youth
Fundraising Programs:
Maintain Integrity

by Jim & Connie Walters

Editor's Note: This is the seventh of an eight part monthly series. Although it's focus is on youth fund-raising programs, these traits are universal enough for all fund-raisers to make note of. For more information about the authors and their expertise please see the end of the article.

Part 7: The organization is careful to maintain integrity in the community.

Once your fund-raising begins to touch the public, and once you have been able to take advantage of corporate contributions, your reputation demands constant vigilance before, during, and after events.

Be sure to keep any promises you make. Open the event on time, charge exactly what was advertised and deliver everything (and maybe a little more) that you promised. Stay open until the advertised closing time.

When using borrowed facilities, make sure you leave the place as clean as you found it (unless you have arranged for custodial service). Put everything back where you found it. If you borrow a church auditorium or school theater, and need to have the sound system on, do not assume they will supply you with a technician. Double check that in advance, as you may need to pay the sound engineer or obtain advance approval for one of your people to operate the system.

Do not drive nails and tacks through interior walls until you have permission to do so. Ditto for re-arranging furniture or utilizing equipment that happens to be on site. If you have access to a school kitchen and cafeteria, that does not mean you can pilfer their condiments or paper goods.

Recently, our school group received a large donation of hamburger buns from a major bakery. We were there to pick up the buns on time, were advised that we needed to return the plastic containers, and we made sure that was done. We do this not only to maximize the possibility of future donations, but because it is the right thing to do.

Be sure your secretary sends acknowledgments to all donors. Nothing irks a donor more than sending in a meaningful contribution of cash or material, and never hearing back from the organization. The acknowledgment says so much: that we received your gift, we put it to the best possible use, and we appreciate it and you.

Think long-term as you seek to maintain a good name in the community. One slip can destroy months or even years of goodwill. When a disaster does happen, be quick to own up to responsibility and pay for restitution. It will be worth it in the long run. Damage control is best done if done quickly. (If you have to eat crow, it's better to get it while it's hot.)

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About the Author:

Jim Walters serves in a local church ministry in Denver, Colorado. Along with his wife Connie, who has led fund-raisers for both church, elementary school, and high school groups, they formed Booster Solutions to help others find profitable answers to their fundraising problems.

Together they have written "Top Ten Youth Fundraisers", a 16 page handbook that details their plans for 10 great fundraising ideas. Each plan in the manual is fresh, tested and profitable. They work well for both school and church groups. This is not a rehash of coupon books, subscriptions or car washes.

Every plan includes: 1) an overview of the project as successfully completed. 2) a "key thought" ensuring your success. 3) step-by-step outline with options and thoughts on variations.

To order send a check for $7 (includes tax and shipping) to:

Jim Walters
11431 W. Lake Drive
Littleton CO 80127

For more information contact Jim at

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