An image of an open manila folder. On the left is a picture of a Strawberry & Cream Cheese pastry paperclipped to the folder. On the right are several pages stacked together. The top one has the BBP logo on it and a stamp that reads "Top Secret". Also on this page is the title "5 Secrets to Successful Fundraising (& How to Apply Them to Your Next Fundraiser)". A slice of a Chocolate pastry is on a plate at the bottom of the image.

5 Secrets to Fundraising Success & How to Apply Them to Your Next Fundraiser

The key to successful fundraising lies in the details. Whether you’re supporting a school, group, or organization, knowing all the ins-and-outs of the fundraising process is vital to turning your group’s dreams into reality. That’s why we’re sharing our five secrets to fundraising success and walking you through how you can apply them to your next fundraiser. With these tips, you’ll be well on your way to not only meeting but exceeding your fundraising goals, all while creating a positive and enjoyable experience for everyone involved. Without further ado, let’s get started on the path to fundraising success!

Table of Contents

5 Secrets to Fundraising Success

1. Stay Motivated and Optimistic

Secrets to Successful Fundraising #1 - Stay Motivated and Optimistic - group of middle school students high-fiving. Butter Braid Pastry fundraising materials are on the wall behind them.

It’s no secret that fundraising can be challenging, with plenty of ups and downs along the way. However, maintaining a positive attitude and staying focused on your goals can significantly impact your results for the better. When you devote your energy to remaining optimistic, your enthusiasm becomes contagious. Sellers and supporters are more likely to respond positively to your cause when they see your genuine passion. Optimism also helps you persevere through setbacks and obstacles, turning challenges into opportunities for growth.

How to Apply It to Your Fundraiser:

  • Celebrate small wins: Recognize and celebrate each milestone achieved along the way, no matter how small. These moments of success will keep your team energized and eager to move forward.
  • Understand things don’t always go as planned: Accept that setbacks are a natural part of the fundraising journey. When things don’t go as planned, use these moments as learning opportunities to adjust and improve your strategy. Maintaining an optimistic outlook helps you adapt and find creative solutions in the face of adversity.
  • Practice positive thinking: Keep a positive mindset by reminding yourself and your team of the impact your fundraiser will have. Focus on the benefits and potential outcomes rather than the challenges.
  • Take care of yourself: Fundraising can be demanding, so it is crucial to prioritize self-care. Ensure you’re getting enough rest, eating well, and taking breaks when needed. When you take care of your physical and mental well-being, you’ll be more resilient and better equipped to maintain a positive mindset.

What Other Techniques are There to Keep Sellers Motivated?

Making sure you and your group remain optimistic is just one way you can motivate your group during the fundraising process. There are plenty of simple, fun, creative ways you can help ignite the fundraising spirit within your team, such as:

  • Providing your sellers with all the tips and tools they need to be successful
  • Getting parents involved
  • Increasing seller participation
  • Maximizing each seller’s efforts
  • And utilizing group and individual incentives.

If you want to dive into these ideas in more detail, check out our blog post Ways to Motivate Sellers During Your Fundraiser.

2. Pick the Right Partner

Tips on Finding the Right Fundraiser for Your Group main image - group of adults around a table evaluating fundraising options. A slice of pastry is also on the table.

When it comes to picking a fundraiser for your group, you have a lot of programs to choose from. Finding the right fundraiser for your group can make all the difference. A great partner brings expertise, resources, and support to help you achieve your goals efficiently and effectively. They understand your mission, share your passion, and align with your values. They provide tools, strategies, and insights needed to navigate the complexities of running a successful fundraiser.

How to Apply It to Your Fundraiser:

  • Assess your group’s needs and goals: This is a critical starting point in finding the right fundraiser for your group. During this time, you should identify your group’s financial requirements, outline your broader fundraising objectives, consider your timeline, and evaluate resource availability. By doing so, you’ll lay a solid groundwork for choosing a fundraiser that’s a perfect fit for your needs.
  • Understand your supporters: When choosing a fundraiser, you aren’t just choosing one that works for your group. You’re also choosing one that works for your supporters, aka the individuals and communities you’ll be engaging with during your fundraiser. By gaining a deeper understanding of who your supporters are, you’ll be able to tailor your fundraiser to their preferences.
  • Evaluate your options: Research potential partners thoroughly. Look at their track record, the types of programs they offer, and their reputation in the community. Compare the resources, support, and flexibility each one offers to determine which one best aligns with your needs and goals. To help you make an informed choice, we created a Fundraising Partner Evaluation Checklist for you to utilize.
  • Conduct a post-fundraiser assessment: After your fundraiser has ended, evaluate the performance of your chosen partner. Assess what went well and what could have been improved. Did they meet your expectations? Gather feedback from your team and supporters to determine if this partner is a good fit for future fundraisers or if you need to consider other options moving forward.

For even more information on this topic, go to our blog post Tips on Finding the Right Fundraiser for Your Group.

3. Make Sure People Know You Need Help

Promoting Your Fundraiser - Two high school girls putting up a poster for their Butter Braid Pastry Fundraiser.

Effective communication is the cornerstone of any successful fundraising campaign. When people are unaware of your fundraising efforts or the importance of your cause, they are less likely to offer their support. By getting information about your group and your fundraiser out there, you can create awareness, generate interest, and inspire action amongst potential supporters. This not only increases the likelihood of reaching your fundraising goals but also fosters a sense of community and shared purpose around your cause.

How to Apply It to Your Fundraiser:

  • Update your group’s website: One of the quickest and easiest ways to promote your fundraiser is to add to your group’s website. You can include it on your homepage, add it to the announcements tab, or dedicate a landing page specifically for the event.
  • Use the power of word of mouth: Word of mouth is one of the oldest and most successful tools in the promotional toolkit. That’s because it utilizes the power of people around you. Use it in promoting your fundraiser by encouraging current supporters, volunteers, sellers, and staff members to share your emails, social media posts, and flyers.
  • Plan an email campaign: Email marketing should be one of the core promotional strategies you use for your fundraiser. Email is a cost-effective and efficient method for connecting with large groups on a regular basis. Most experts recommend sending at least three emails throughout the course of your fundraiser: Save the Date, Fundraising is Starting Soon, and Last Chance to Order.
  • Capture attention with text marketing: More people open and read text messages than any other form of media. If your group or school already has a text notification system in place, make use of it during your fundraiser. You can send the exact same messages you do during the email campaign, just remember to keep them short and sweet.
  • Don’t forget about printed materials: Ask your fundraising partner if they have printed materials available for your group to customize! After all, flyers and posters have the same information as a website or email, and local businesses are often happy to display them in windows or on community bulletin boards. Potential, high-traffic areas you can look into include gas stations, libraries, grocery stores, and community centers.
  • Create posts for social media: You can reach more potential supporters with social media than almost any other form of communication. You can use it to announce your upcoming event and share updates about your progress in real time.

You can find more information on these strategies and tools in our blog post Effective Strategies for Promoting Your Fundraiser.

4. Have a Great Product Experience

Secrets to Successful Fundraising #4 - Have a Great Product Experience - multigenerational family having a picnic, eating slices of a Cinnamon pastry. Apples, bread, and other baked goods are also on the picnic blanket.

A great product experience can make all the difference in the success of your fundraiser. A high-quality, unique product not only attracts more supporters but also enhances the overall fundraising experience for everyone involved.

Butter Braid® Pastries are a perfect example. Braided by hand and made with 100% real butter, these pastries are bursting with sweet and savory fillings and can be topped with a sweet icing or rich dipping sauce. The premium quality and mouth-watering taste not only make them easy to sell but also ensures supporters are satisfied with their purchase. When people have a great product experience, they’re more likely to support your fundraiser again in the future and recommend it to others.

How to Apply It to Your Fundraiser:

  • Choose a high-quality product: Look for a product that stands out, offers exceptional quality, and is sure to impress your supporters. Consider the demographics of your area; if you have a lot of families in your community, for instance, they may be more interested in kid-friendly treats vs. kitchen items or holiday décor.
  • Highlight the benefits: When promoting your product, focus on what makes it special. Highlight key features such as convenience, affordability, or quality. You can also share testimonials from satisfied supporters to build trust and excitement around the product.
  • Create a positive buying experience: Make ordering easy by using order forms and online ordering options that are simple and user-friendly. Be available to answer questions and provide support to potential customers throughout the fundraising process. Finally, follow up with supporters, when possible, to ensure their orders were delivered promptly and accurately.

5. Keep it Short and Simple

Why Shorter is Better - Sample Fundraiser Timeline from kick off to turning in orders to pick up to delivery

When it comes to fundraising, simplicity is key for several reasons. First, it helps maintain momentum and excitement amongst your sellers and supporters. A shorter campaign keeps the fundraising goal within reach and prevents it from dragging on. Additionally, by keeping it short, you’ll get to dedicate more of your time and energy to the fundraiser. You can check in with sellers, keep track of your goals, and promote the event all the way to the very end without losing steam.

How to Apply It to Your Fundraiser:

  • Set clear goals: Establish specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals for your group. Having clear objectives gives you a sense of direction and purpose, making it easier to stay focused.
  • Limit the duration of your fundraiser: Keep your fundraising campaign short. We recommend the selling period not exceed more than 2-3 weeks as this creates a sense of urgency and prevents supporter and seller fatigue.
  • Utilize an online store: If your fundraising partner offers an online store option, consider integrating it into your fundraising strategy. Online stores have been shown to improve the visibility of fundraisers and increase seller averages as they make it easy for supporters to order and pay using a credit card or mobile wallet. This is a great alternative for relatives and friends who may live far away but still want to support those in your group.
  • Provide regular updates: Regular updates keep your cause at the forefront of people’s minds and sustain their interest and enthusiasm throughout the fundraiser. These updates serve as reminders, ensuring that your fundraiser doesn’t fade into the background amidst busy schedules and other distractions.

If you want to see what running a short-term fundraiser may look like in more detail, you can check out our sample timeline. It gives you a rough idea of what to expect from a fundraiser with a quick turnaround time.

It’s Time to Put These Secrets to Fundraising Success into Action!

As you prepare for your next fundraising campaign, remember these five “secrets” and start brainstorming on how you can apply them to your group, your program, and your community. When you do, you’ll be setting yourself and your group up for a successful and fulfilling fundraising experience. So, go ahead! Start implementing these tips and watch your goals go from dreams to reality.

Happy Fundraising!

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