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The Intelligent Fundraiser - Working Smarter, Not Harder
by School Programs USA 

It's no secret that successful fundraisers require a commitment and can be hard work. No matter how much we wish, profits do not just fall from the sky because you have decided to host a fundraiser.

While fundraisers can be laborious they do not have to rely on working your committee and volunteers to the point of being beaten down by and overwhelmed by their efforts. The key to a successful fundraising promotion is learning how to work smarter, not harder.

Learning how to work smarter will allow you and your committee members to operate more efficiently, productively and most of all more profitably. The first step to working smarter is being organized. Make sure you and your committee has a complete understanding of your goals and direction. Each member should know and understand their responsibilities and exactly what is expected of them. Remaining organized and properly coordinating these responsibilities with each member will keep everyone focused and on track with your common goal.

Once your members and fundraising plan are in place it's time to turn your attention to the execution of your fundraiser. It is in this process that you can take advantage of a variety of resources to allow you to operate most productively for optimum results without the need to exhaust your efforts.

Among the best ways to achieve this is by taking advantage of current technology and methods that are used in today's business but often overlooked or simply not considered as part of our fundraising efforts. Methods such as e-mailings, faxing, telephoning and direct mail can often offer fantastic results with only minimum expense and effort.

One of the best kept secrets your fundraising group can have is assembling and creating an e-mail list of previous, current and future customers and supporters. This list offers a great foundation for each fundraising campaign you implement as you know these people are already familiar with you, your group or cause and have selected to support you in the past, so it is quite probable that they will do the same in the future. Each and every person on your committee should gather and submit the e-mail address of every customer or supporter they incur to be maintained in a master e-mail contact file. This list will prove quite valuable and offer a great foundation to kick start your future fundraising campaigns and events.

The same success can be attained by also compiling the mailing addresses and even fax numbers of every supporter, personal or professional, for their involvement in your current and future campaigns. In business there is an old adage that it's easier and more cost-effective to conduct business with a previous or current customer than it is to try to generate a new customer. The truth of the matter is your success will be a combination of both new customers and those on your compiled lists. Keep cultivating these lists and soon you will have a great foundation for each and every fundraising event you begin.

Direct sales are also still one of the most productive means to gain support for your campaign. Talking to people directly by the phone or by word of mouth is still a strong, reliable and time-tested method. One of today's newer technologies is utilizing a Voice Blast. This is an automated service that allows you to send a recorded phone message to each and every phone number in your database of clients. It can be set up to call at anytime you choose and if no one answers it will record the message on their voice mail or answering machine. This has proven to be a very effective form of promotion and awareness.

As you can see your database of contact information can easily become one of your most valuable tools to utilize over and over again with minimal effort and expense. It is very common for many fundraising groups to put a great majority of their efforts into building and expanding their contact database list.

While it has always been quite common for fundraising programs to use printed promotional information, another promotional methods that can present and deliver your message is a custom recorded CD or DVD featuring your campaign and call to action. These media products can be produced for less than $1.00 each, sometimes for as little as a $ .25 and can allow you to explain, details and offer visual delivery of your fundraising message.

These are just a few of the most effective methods that are utilized by businesses of all types and can be adapted to your fundraising success.

Take a moment to step back and notice the methods and types of promotional resources that are targeted to you from area businesses including car dealerships, pizza places or restaurants, household services, banks, and other products and services interested in your business. Once you are aware of these techniques you will soon see how many of these same resources can be incorporated into your next fundraiser allowing you and your entire committee to attain greater results by working smarter, not harder.