All About Fundraising | A Primer on Getting Started and Raising Funds

Chicago, Cities, City Leadership, Connect, Events, Fundraising, Recruit & Organize, Seva, Sikhcesson March 8th, 2010No Comments

A few weeks ago, Sikhcess hosted a fundraiser in a Chicago suburb at a bowling alley with about 120 participants. Based on feedback from the organizers, volunteers and participants, it was an overwhelming success!

It’s great to know we have the leaders to make it happen, but what about having a fundraiser of your own? What if you want to put together an event for a good cause, have fun doing it but aren’t sure where to start?

Well, I’m glad you asked.

  • The first step in organizing a fundraiser is defining your goals. You need to have a purpose that everyone can support. The more specific you are, the better your energy will be spent and the better the results. Ask yourself questions such as “why do you need the money?” or “how much money do you need?” or “who can we help?”
  • When deciding your fundraiser event, keep in mind the income level of your community, what events have worked in the past and something that can target a wide ranging age group.
  • Next, build your team. Designate a few people to guide the event and then assign ownership of different tasks that need to be done. Don’t fall into the trap of doing everything yourself. Let those guiding the event trust those responsible for getting each task completed, giving them goals and deadlines.
  • With your goals defined, event selected and team organized, you can then discuss the all important budget. This will ultimately determine where your event will be and how many people you need to attend. Most importantly, select a prize or prizes that you can give at the end of your event, which is a big “Thank You!” to everyone that participated, making it fun and generating excitement.

It’s recommended the above steps should be completed about 6 months prior to your event. This should give you enough time to build a strong foundation for your fundraiser.

  • With the budget determined, you need to then select your event location. It’s best to have at least 5 options and visit each one, thoroughly discussing who we are and what we do, but also their level of sponsorship. Have your fundraiser selected at least two months prior to the event.
  • This is also the time to start marketing your fundraiser. With the heavy lifting done regarding budget, team roles, event selection, etc, your team can now focus its energies on spreading the word. This means creating flyers, sending emails to your friends and community (do not spam) and posting the event online. Continue to market until the final day before your fundraiser, even if you exceed your participant goals. Some people may not show up.

Never underestimate the power of online marketing. We almost doubled our total turnout for the bowling fundraiser in the last week by posting a blog and with reminders on Facebook and Twitter at no expense.

Finally, as the fundraiser approaches, assign your team to handle specific tasks during the event, such as checking in your guests, taking pictures, setting up tables and chairs, decorations, etc. If you need more help, make sure to find interested volunteers within your community to participate.

This is a general outline on how to host a fundraiser but there is plenty of good information online as well. Your best resource, however, is Sikhcess. If you have an idea for a fundraiser or want to organize an event, make sure to let us know. We have the experience to help guide you through any event and can help get the word out to make it successful. If you’re interested, we can email you a copy of the outline we used for the Strike for Success Fundraiser a few weeks ago.

We want to see all our regions feel empowered to do what they can for their community, from fundraisers to volunteer services to feeding the homeless. Let us know if there’s anything we can do, to help get you started: to having fun and also giving back!

By Amardeep Singh Rehal

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