Charity and fundraising provide a reliable platform for those who want to stretch out a helping hand to the needy. If you are planning on holding a fundraiser or charity event, there are a number of issues you will need to consider to ensure that everything goes on smoothly. Understand the people you are calling upon, communicate efficiently and make sure to operate within the discretion of the law in your state.
The first rule of fundraising is don’t be afraid to approach the “right people” for money, i.e. those who are sympathetic to your cause. You need to carefully consider how much to ask them for. Some will be able to donate money; some their time; others may leave a legacy or bequest. This means researching people before approaching them. Ask yourself: “Does this person or organization have an interest in my charity?”
Communicate regularly with your supporters. You may use direct mail, but do not mass produce letters. Write to your supporters personally, and tell them how their money is being spent. This will encourage them to continue donating. Think about how you might address different audiences and seek donations from different sources, eg grant-making trusts, individuals, the national lottery, the UK government, Europe and fundraising events.
Do not forget to learn your charity law. There are a number of requirements, responsibilities and duties you need to know about before you begin to raise funds. For information contact the Charity Commission which provides up to date guides.
People are usually called upon to help raise money for charity or fundraising. Most of the time you may take this for granted, and fail to understand how beneficial this can be on your side. From creating better opportunities for earning more, to training your kids the art of giving and even to manage your finances, there is so much to benefit from as a charitable giver.
When you donate money to charity, you create opportunities to meet new people who believe in the same causes that inspire you. That, and making a real impact on those causes, can infuse your everyday life with more meaning. If you’ve been stuck in a rut, whether personally or professionally, sometimes the simple act of donating cash can do the trick and reinvigorate your life.
When your kids see you donating money, they’re much more likely to adopt a giving mindset as they grow up. I write from personal experience. I’ve donated money to a variety of charities over the years and have always made sure to inform my eight-year-old son of my efforts. Last Christmas, when he and I were shopping at a mall, he spotted a kiosk for a charity and rather than spending some of his allotted money on Christmas gifts, he asked if we could sponsor a hungry child overseas. We signed up then and there. Do the same with your kids and you might see similar results.
If you set a scheduled $100 donation each month for a particular charity3, that can motivate you to be more attentive to your own finances in an effort to ensure you don’t default or fall behind in your monthly donations. Anything that gets you to pay closer attention to your bank account is a good thing—especially when it helps those in need.
Not all the time you give to charity do we really reach out to the very people or cause counting on your donation, since the donations you give may sometimes not help them as you thought, or as you are told. Giving just penny to charity, funding a lot of causes and giving to strangers are just some of the mistakes people make in donations.
Giving less than $25
Because of processing costs, proportionately less of a small donation can be used for good causes. If it costs $2 to process a donation, that is just 2 percent of $100 but 20 percent of $10.
And once you are on their radar, charities typically will start spending marketing dollars to chase you for more donations.
Trying to fund too many causes
Rather than responding to emotional appeals, determine what causes you are passionate about, said Sandra Minuitti, vice president of Charity Navigator (www.charitynavigator.org/), another watchdog.
Then narrow the field further by thinking about how you want your money used. If you want to fight cancer, for example, do you want your money to go for advocacy and awareness? To fund research or treatment for people who cannot afford it?
Giving to strangers
We are not talking about handing a few bucks to a homeless person but about giving money to the solicitors with clipboards outside Starbucks or the telemarketers who cold-call you.
Until you do some research on a site like GuideStar (guidestar.org), you do not really know where the money is going or how much is spent on fundraising. Whatever you do, avoid telemarketers. On average, only one-third of the money donated this way gets through to the charity, Borochoff said.