In Fundraising 101, we will be sharing tips which will act as a starting point for you; you will need to do further research to design a customised plan for fundraising. Keep in mind that fundraising is an activity that should be adapted to fit the need, amount to be raised and target donor base. These tips are great to help fundraise for personal, project or business needs.
This series also aligns with QAN’s mission of supporting queer Africans globally to gain access to resources they need to self-actualize and realize their dreams. With this in mind, let's jump right into Series 1 by defining fundraising, types of fundraisers, fundraising support platforms and finally, qualities needed to be a good fundraising coordinator.
The Cambridge Dictionary (n.d.) defines fundraising as the act of collecting or producing money for a particular purpose, especially for a charity. Further, it talks about the process of getting money from investors to invest in particular companies, projects, etc, in the context of finance. The Merriam-Webster (n.d.) dictionary adds that fundraising is an organised activity of raising funds.
As such, we can conclude that fundraising is an activity aimed at raising money to serve a specific financial purpose. Now let’s talk about the purpose, why do you need to fundraise? For many people fundraising is a way to supplement their income to cater for emergency or unforeseen incidents, or for getting access to large sums of money they are unable to raise through other means either for education, investment or business etc.
Before you decide to fundraise, have you considered these factors? Answering these questions will help guide your decision on a suitable method for fundraising:
- Fundraising goal: How much do you want/need to raise?
- Fundraising timeline: How long do you have to raise the amount?
- Other fundraising sources: Can you realistically raise the money through other means e.g. borrowing, selling product/service or accessing supportive networks/initiatives (venture capitals, angel investors, and restricted/unrestricted grants) and other free/subsidised resources (health clinics, health funds)?
- Fundraising target audience: Who are you looking to get funding from?
- Privacy: Are you willing to have little to no privacy? Are you comfortable disclosing your personal or business particulars including health/financial records?
- Communication skills: Are you able to sell yourself and your initiative as credible? Can you confidently, clearly and convincingly articulate your need?
- Resources: Do you have the time and money to continuously work on your fundraising initiative?
- Shareholding: If fundraising for a business, are you willing to lose some of your control by giving away a part of your business through equity or shareholding
Types of fundraising
If after answering these questions, you still believe that fundraising is the best option for you then let’s delve deeper and consider the different types of fundraising you can use. ‘Types’ in this context is used to loosely define the activities used to engage an audience in fundraising. Feel free to think outside the box and come up with activities that can easily be adjusted to suit your comfort/confidence level, fundraising need, budget, and your target audience. Remember you can always adjust your fundraiser, even during its implementation, to increase its effectiveness.
1.Crowdfunding – commonly used for raising funds from a large pool of people. These do well for projects that have gained momentum and popularity as they continue to grow; they also do well for personal need initiatives.
These can be hosted either virtually or physically with the attendees helping to fundraise by paying entry fees, food or snacks, and purchasing merchandise or clues.
a. Watch parties – these are great for piggy backing on existing passion, energy and momentum within groups of people e.g. sports fans.
b. Birthday gift fundraiser – instead of guests giving you gifts on your special day; they can send their donations to a mission of your choice. It is also described as peer-to-peer fundraising where you can rally your network to contribute to a cause.
c. Scavenger hunt fundraiser – themed around your fundraising mission, the hunt is highly popular for bonding and friendly competition, blending fundraising, challenges, unique places and the thrill of competition together.
d. Bake sale/Tasty feast fundraiser – reach out to local players in the food industry to donate discounted/free food items for sale. Donors can pick up their orders or have them delivered allowing a blended virtual/physical event.
e. Sponsored marathons or tournaments – engage a company willing to sponsor a physical or virtual marathon where participants can complete a certain distance by a certain time. Another rising trend is where fundraisers complete daring adventures to raise donations and increase exposure around a certain issue. These ideas need to be crazy and unique.
f. Expert webinars or ‘TED’ talk – organise an event that brings together industry experts/influencers for an engaging conversation. Sell entry and merchandize fees to raise funds, it is also great publicity for donations from a virtual audience.
3. Photo, video or design challenges – engage an influencer or large audience to create a buzz around your campaign. Get them to share photos/videos and tag other people to win prizes after the challenge, if they don’t tag anyone, they should donate.
4. Corporate matching gift – reach out to organisations that can double or triple funds raised.
5. Mutual aids – organise a group of people to help raise cash or other products/services that community members need; they are usually conducted in the community you live in and gained popularity during COVID with a great push on social media.
6. Merry go rounds/chamas – this idea originated from low income women who would mobilise their savings and finance each other's ventures. Being part of a chama is a good way of fundraising as you are able to get flexible loans with a small interest.
Fundraising support platforms
Once you’ve decided which activity would work well for your fundraising goal, budget and networks; you have to decide which fundraising and social media platforms will help you reach the largest audience.
We might be biased, but we’d recommend using the QAN website/app. You can host your fundraiser on the site, access a vast resource of information on fundraising, and most importantly engage with donors through the blog, hashtag and group features.
There are other platforms that allow for donations from other audiences and payment systems, as such we recommend doing research to see what works for your campaign.
Qualities of a good fundraising coordinator
The last questions we have for you are, do you think you have the characteristics or personality needed to be a good fundraiser? If you don’t have these skills can you learn them? Check the list adapted from Charity Link (2022) for an idea of what makes a good fundraiser and share your thoughts or questions in the comments.
- Good communication skills
- Emotionally intelligent
- Socially confident
If you have any questions or concerns about the QAN Fundraising series and the QAN Fundraising platform please reach out to us at [email protected]. You can also join the Fundraising group to engage and learn with other fundraisers.
Merriam-Webster. (n.d.). Fundraising. In Merriam-Webster.com dictionary. Retrieved July 4, 2022, from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fundraising
Cambridge Dictionary. (n.d.). Fundraising. In Cambridge Dictionary. Retrieved July 4, 2022, from https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/fundraising
Charity Link. (2022, April 6). 13 Qualities of a successful fundraiser. Retrieved July 5, 2022, from https://www.charitylink.net/blog/13-qualities-of-a-successful-fundraiser