We are all busy, so I will keep this post fairly short. What I have to say is easy to say, and repeat:
You Never Stop Fundraising. Your Board Never Stops Fundraising.
Now, if that sounds like the stuff of nightmares, I understand. It feels like a long road into the distance to crawl with your hand out and your brain weary from fundraising endlessly into oblivion.
It’s not so bad. Some people like to call it “Friend-raising” because it sounds hopeful and fun and better somehow. Sometimes fundraising isn’t the word to use, and your Boards – particularly tax supported entities – don’t really like that word at all. They prefer grants, stipends, and sponsorships.
That is all in the weeds, though. The reason I am bringing this up is from seeing people in non-profit and recreation settings really married to the budget. That little line item #107 says bring in $35,000 in sponsorships and donations this year, so Jan 1 the clock starts ticking and they get busy. (This definitely used to be me, I will admit!) If that amount is amazingly raised by April, they stop, thankful that this line item is met and they can take a break. Others labor away through the year until let’s say October it is finally met and then collapse in exhaustion.
Okay – it’s not that bad, right? The point is, if you meet the goal in April, don’t stop! Maybe you change directions, maybe you take a little break… maybe you pass the task to your Interns (Interns can come up with some amazing Gen Z style fundraising stuff that will blow your mind)… maybe you ask the Board to start Friend-raising for next year’s campaign… maybe you ask a Sponsor for a different type of partnership or to suggest another sponsor. But don’t stop. Your organization needs the money, so keep the momentum and the process going.
In this way, you’re not looking at that line item so much as you’re seeing what you can do. What can the people around you do? With curiosity and a fresh approach, there are a lot of possibilities based on the relationships you’ve created in the community and the willingness of others to give to support your cause. From small opportunities like Facebook birthday fundraisers or a single giving day to bigger opportunities to raise for a park or crowdfund a new feature, there are a lot of chances throughout the year to keep up the communication and momentum with people in the community. This will gather more people and keep your fundraising going without feeling like such a long challenging road. Good luck!