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Q: What has been your most successful fundraising event and what factors made it such a success?

February 5, 2009 | By Becky B. | 9 answers | Expired: 1980 days ago

Most animals welfare organizations are alway looking for ways to raise much-needed funds. Some use real events, cyber events, and non-events. I'm interested in getting feedback from folks about how they have ensured the success of their fundraisers and the types of things that seem to work best.

Readers' Answers (9)
Denise E.
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Feb 07, 2009

Hello! I have a background as CEO of a small Community Foundation which functioned to provide education, financial services, grants, etc. to other non-profits. Obviously that means fundraising, so here are just a few of my thoughts for whatever they may be worth. We all know how very difficult times are economically and animal welfare groups are competing for fewer dollars with a plethora of other special interest not-for-profit entities.

Thus, they key in my mind is to first review your prior donor list. Those who have given previously are far more likely to give again, and more quickly, than a donor that you are just beginning to cultivate. Be sure that every donor is profiled. There is absolutely nothing more embarressing that walking into a CEO's office to request financial support only to find out that he cares about Childcare Services and The Arts only. Bad target. Profile your prospective donors by networking to learn more about them. Ask current/prior donors if they would be willing to call associates with a common interest, introduce your fundraising executive, and ask if you may contact him/her for a visit. This has always worked very well for me, and it's no-cost, just time invested. Googling individuals will provide a whole host of information about new prospects as well.

If you are a 501C3, it's critical to review grant opportunities through regional/national sources as well as corporations. The money being allocated has dwindled somewhat, but the concept of "Good Corporate Citizenship" is still very popular and local businesses, with the right preparation for building the relationship and making the ask, still WANT to give. Government and Private Grant Foundations are excellent choices, but the process is lengthy, stringent, and generally a highly specific project must be named with a full "business plan" that emphasizes quantifiable outcomes. Every source of funding cares about the big WIFM. What's in it for me? That's why profiling is so important. In front of a good prospect, you just have to be prepared to ask the right questions. The ones that your research has already revealed are "hot buttons". Example: Mr. Smith, we are passionate about reducing and dream of eliminating homeless pets here in our home town. So, we are sponsoring a spay/neuter clinic and expect to be able to alter xxxxx dogs and cats. Is this something that is important to you? (If we're researched, the answer should be yes.) Fantastic! May I share a proposal with you? (Hopefully, "yes".) We are asking for donations to both fund the cost of the spay/neuter initiative and to allow us to utilize generous gifts for operations cost to move forward fast and forcefully so that others will join indiduals like you, who really care. (Profiling is important before the $$ ask, but I'll fiddle around.) Sir/Madam, do you believe this is a long term problem? (Yes) Well, we have a plan to manage this. We are asking for a pledge of XX dollars per year over a three year period. Your three year commitment will help our community TODAY, and your gifts in years two and three will see that we can budget in a way that will enable us to serve the animals, the community, and YOU, our donor. Would you be willing to make a gift of $XXX now and also pledge your gift amounts for 2009 and 2010?

Whew, too lengthy and oversimplified but, in a nutshell, if you know the donor prospect well enough, ask the right questions, respond to his/her affirmative responses, they'll "sell" themselves!

I've mentioned the simple, quick techniques I'm sure you utilize and TODAY, I believe creativity is absolutely critical to survival. Research every fundraising activity in your community, regardless of the area of interest. Network, network, network, and find out which ones really delivered! Then blend all of those "winning" techniques to create a highly unique event that will get people's attention.

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Lana  H.
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Feb 05, 2009

Here in Columbia Missouri we have "Triva Night" it is always a Huge success, it's kind of like karaoke but it's traveling trivia guy. You should try it. It's always packed! And it's so much fun. I've never organized it, but have participated many times. They hold one about every 3 or 4 months.

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Elizabeth D.
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Feb 08, 2009

My friend and I sponsored a pet photo contest where we work. We raised over 600 dollars. It cast five dollars to submit photo of pet then one dollar per vote. we had local businesses that donated prizes. Nothing too big, free fast food, pet toys, gift certificates... It was a lot of fun, and we were happy with the feedback we got from it.

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