Putting together a fundraiser doesn’t have to be intimidating or extremely difficult. You can raise a lot more money and save a lot of time if you use the right approach. This is a comprehensive guide detailing the actions taken by the fundraising groups that raise the largest sums of money. These guidelines will help you determine whether the preferred fundraising idea calls for direct sales, a brochure with an order taker. This steps work equally well whether more expensive retail products like a cookie dough fundraiser and Katydid candy are chosen, or lesser-value items like chocolate, smencils, and lollipops.

Below are the 12-steps the most successful organizations take to raise maximum profits; this is the road map showing how to start a fundraiser without any experience and raise money like a seasoned professional:

1. Define your “WHY.” 

For what purpose are you collecting money?  Is it to purchase new equipment? Is it to reimburse your competition team’s travel expenses?  to take your students on a educational trip? to pay for the building renovations that your organization needs?

2. Evaluate the price of that.

Be precise. If necessary, obtain quotes. The exact amount should be known to you, down to the last penny.

3. By what date do you need the funds?

Specifically, when do you need the money?

4. Assemble your team of volunteers. 

Ask for help amongst your team members, coaches, parents, family members, community, local businesses.

5. Decide how quickly you can begin.

What is our start and end date of your initial fundraising campaign?

6. Choose the product you want to sell to raise money.

Select the product that best fits your needs based on your financial goal, start date, amount of time to raise funds, and number of volunteers.  Take into account dollar earned with each sale ($), the profit percentage, local social economy vs the retail value, the interest you anticipate from potential customers, and, last but not least, enthusiasm of your volunteers to sell the products.

7. Select the location for the products’ sale.

Would you like to plan an event where all of the volunteers come together and sell together, for instance, in front of a busy local store? (see our post on the best locations to raise money), plan a 60-minute fundraising event, plan a combination event featuring a service and a product (car wash + snacks), or decide to let each person sell on their own.

8. Assign each volunteer a specific sales target, and project your total sales volume, product costs (including shipping), and profit.

Avoid being too aggressive as this could demotivate your volunteers, but also avoid being overly conservative as you want to maximize your sales.

9. Create a fundraising calendar

If more than one fundraiser is required to meet your goal, schedule the following events. Take advantage of seasonal holidays and celebrations to choose themed products.

10. Get your communication materials ready.

Tell prospective customers why you are trying to raise money, what you plan to use it for, how it will affect your players, students, and organization as a whole, as well as how much you need and by when. Make sure you utilize every avenue of communication at your disposal. Text messages, phone calls, SM, posters, live conversations, emails, etc.

11. Arrange in advance the dates of your meetings with the volunteers.

Depending on how long your fundraiser is going to be, make sure you get together to talk about its objective before it starts, after it ends, and at least once in between (more if needed).  It is crucial to get together during the fundraiser to assess your progress, exchange personal advice and experiences (what is successful, what is not, and why), and address any questions that may come up when your volunteers begin selling for the first time.

12. Write a thank-you note to each and every one of your volunteers and supporters.

Inform them of your fundraiser’s success, solicit their opinions, and get their consent to get in touch with them when you plan to host another fundraiser.

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