The Beginner's Guide to Fundraising - a closed book with this as the title. Above it is the BBP logo. It's on a table next to a plate with a slice of Blueberry Cream Cheese pastry. It has several tabs with headings from the blog.

The Beginner’s Guide to Fundraising

When you’re just getting started, preparing a fundraiser can seem challenging and even a little intimidating. But it doesn’t have to be! In fact, once you’ve equipped yourself with the right knowledge and tools, fundraising is rewarding, inspiring, and, well, fun! That’s why we’ve created “The Beginner’s Guide to Fundraising”…to introduce you to the information you need to know when running a fundraiser.

The most important thing to remember is that fundraising is about a lot more than raising funds; it’s about bettering the community, supporting the dreams and goals of a group, and creating lasting change. Whether you’re a teacher, group leader, or part of a small organization, this comprehensive guide will equip you with the essential knowledge and tools to kick start your fundraising journey with confidence and success.

In “The Beginner’s Guide to Fundraising”, we’ll take you through the fundamentals of fundraising, providing a roadmap to navigate the exciting world of raising funds for your cause. Each aspect of this guide has been curated with your success in mind. So, let’s get started!

Table of Contents

Understanding Why People Give

Understanding the motivations behind why people support fundraisers is crucial for any aspiring fundraiser planner. It’s essential to recognize the driving factors that inspire individuals to contribute to your cause. As a beginner to fundraising, keeping these motivations in mind will help you effectively communicate the importance of your cause and inspire others to contribute. Here are some key reasons why people open their hearts to local groups and causes:

  • Personal Connection: People are more likely to donate to a cause that resonates with their personal experiences or beliefs. Whether it’s supporting a local school, a community organization, or a cause that has impacted their lives, a personal connection creates a sense of empathy and purpose.
  • Desire to Make a Difference: Supporters often feel a deep desire to create positive change in the world. Contributing to a fundraiser allows them to play an active role in making a difference and fostering a sense of empowerment.
  • Social Influence: When individuals see friends, family, or colleagues supporting a cause, they are more likely to join in and contribute as well.
  • Paying it Forward: Many supporters give back as an expression of gratitude for help they have received in the past. They want to pay it forward and help others in need, believing in the power of kindness and generosity.

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 planning a successful fundraiser, timing is key. Fall or spring? This month or that one? Long or short? These are important decisions that could impact the overall effectiveness of your fundraising efforts.

In our experience, fundraisers that are short, sweet, and to the point tend to be the ones that work best. 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 end without losing steam. They also help keep momentum going with sellers, create urgency, and ensure you can make the most of your time.

For more information on why a shorter fundraiser can be more beneficial to your group, check out our blog post “4 Reasons Why Shorter is Better”. It includes a sample timeline, so you can get a rough idea on what to expect from a fundraiser with a quick turnaround time.

4 Steps to Fundraising Success Roadmap: Set Up, Kick Off, Promote & Sell, and Pickup & Deliver

At the Butter Braid® brand, we also encourage you to choose a fundraiser that will help you reach your goals in the simplest way possible. That’s why our fundraising program is broken down into four simple steps: set up, kick off, promote & sell, and pick up & delivery. Each step is easily defined to bring groups to fundraising success. They do this by helping to keep groups on track throughout the fundraising process, so they can spend less time worrying about what comes next and more time focusing on meeting their goals.

Volunteer Recruitment

Main Blog Image -Guide to Volunteer Recruitment. Young woman, holding two boxes and typing on a computer. More boxes on shelves behind her.

Volunteer recruitment is the process of attracting people to your group, school, or organization and getting them involved with the varieties of activities you do. It’s about connecting with people who have the time, skills, and interests that would most benefit your group.

As you may already know, group leaders already have a lot on their plate; fundraising activities are typically either added on as part of their job, like a teacher, or the group leader may be a volunteer themselves. Volunteers help move fundraisers forward by supporting the group leader and the group during their busiest time.

Volunteers are essential to a fundraiser’s success. That’s why we’re including this process in our “Beginner’s Guide to Fundraising”. You see, volunteers can help with more than just selling and delivery. They can support you at every stage of the process, from planning to promotion to event support to communications.

Check out our “Guide on Recruiting Volunteers” for tips and strategies to help you recruit volunteers for your next fundraiser.

Who Should Your Group Sell To?

There are two main groups of supporters that your sellers can focus on during their fundraiser: new supporters and repeat supporters.

New Supporters

New supporters can come from anywhere in the community. Typically, sellers are going to be more successful getting people they know to support them. So, consider having a brainstorming session where you sellers can come up with a list of family and friends who would love to support their fundraiser. There are also plenty of people in the community who would be glad to support your group. Sellers should be encouraged to ask their dentist, coach, neighbors, congregation, or even their parents’ coworkers to consider purchasing from their fundraiser.

If your fundraising program utilizes an online store, encourage your sellers to share their unique link through multiple channels, so everyone knows there is a fundraiser to purchase from.

Repeat Supporters

People who have supported you in the past are more likely to support you again in the future. That’s why focusing on people who have bought from you in the past and turning them into loyal customers is so important. To turn people in your community into lifelong supporters of your group, you can…

  • Remember to say thank you.
  • Let them know they made a difference.
  • Connect with them after the fundraiser has concluded.

If you’d like to learn more about these tips for keeping supporters coming back, we have a whole blog post dedicated to increasing repeat customers that you can read.

Promoting Your Fundraiser

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

You want to attract as many potential supporters to your fundraiser as possible. After all, every item bought or donation made goes towards supporting your group and helping you reach your goal. That’s why, for a fundraiser to be successful, a strong promotional strategy is essential. From email campaigns to word of mouth to web promotions, there are a variety of strategies and mediums available for you to use when promoting your fundraiser.

Remember, people can’t support your fundraiser if they don’t know about it. When you increase the visibility of your event, you increase your pool of potential supporters. Each person that sees a post on Facebooks, hears an ad on the radio, or find a poster at a local restaurant could be a future supporter, volunteer, or advocate for your group.

If you’re not sure how to promote a fundraising event and are looking for help getting started, we have your covered. In our blog post “Effective Strategies for Promoting Your Fundraiser”, you’ll find detailed strategies and tools for promoting your fundraise via website, word of mouth, email, text, print media, and social media.

Get Ready for Delivery Day

Being prepared for your fundraiser’s delivery day is essential to the fundraising process. Deliveries for fundraisers can be complex, especially if your group or school sold a large quantity of items. Organizing a smooth fundraising delivery day requires advanced planning and coordination. Here are some things you can do to help ensure delivery day for your school or group goes off without a hitch:

  • Pick a program that fits your needs: When choosing a program, consider how the product will be delivered. The most important goal for delivery day is to distribute orders as quickly as possible; this is especially critical with frozen food fundraisers where the product needs to be kept frozen.
  • Communicate with parents: Send out a communication to parents to ensure they know what to expect and what to do on delivery day. You want them to be well informed about your delivery plan, so include details like what day and time pick up is, where they’ll need to pick up orders, and how they’ll need to address any missing or damaged items.
  • Decide on your storage options: Plan ahead and have temporary storage space available for those students or parents who are unable to pick up their order on the delivery day. You will have different storage requirements depending on the kind of fundraiser you run.

Advice from the Experts

Beginner's Guide to Fundraising - Open book with four quotes written inside. Each is from a different dealership. They're focused on advice for new fundraising group leaders. Each dealership's logo is under their quote.

Learning from seasoned experts can be a game-changer for your fundraising journey. At the Butter Braid brand, we have an abundance of seasoned professionals that are always ready to help others navigate the world of fundraising. Below, you can find tips and advice from three fundraising dealership owners who have been helping groups reach their goals for many years.

Meet with Sellers In Person

“First off, if you’ve chosen a Butter Braid Pastry fundraiser, congratulations! You’ve just chosen the easiest fundraiser in the world. Regardless of what fundraiser you choose, make sure you find one with local support, so you can have someone there to guide you every step of the way. Also, it is important to meet with your sellers in person to tell them about the product and the timeline of the fundraiser. Let them see how good the product is and that will help them when talking to potential supporters.” – Jamie Rodgers, Owner of High Profit Fundraising

Learn About Your Fundraiser

“Take time to learn about your fundraiser. Find out if there are features that set it apart, if the product is exclusive or the services are unique, and how technology is utilized to help you maximize your sales. Also, be sure to keep your personal fundraiser representative on speed dial. They are fundraising experts and ready to answer all of your questions.” – Adam Sinnema, Owner of Success N Fundraising

Communicate with Your Group

“When starting a fundraiser, a group leader should announce the sale dates and purpose of the fundraiser at a meeting, through social media, and/or through an email to promote the event. Also, consider choosing a fundraiser that offers an online store option. This option will help your sellers reach customers they may not see during the sale. Continue to motivate your group throughout the fundraising process. Keeping them interested and engaged is guaranteed to help make your fundraiser a success.” – Drew Hagerich, Owner of Freckled Moose Fundraising

Give Reminders of Your Timeline

“Stay in front of your sellers. Remind them every day or every other day about the fundraiser; tell them what you’re raising funds for, what your group goal is, what their individual goals are, and how long they still have to sell. It’ll really help your seller participation and help to keep them motivated. And, of course, promote your online store if you have it. It’s a simple and convenient way for supporters to purchase from your fundraiser.” – Doug Sims, Owner of Bee’s Fundraising

Are You Ready to Put “The Beginner’s Guide to Fundraising” to Use?

We hope “The Beginner’s Guide to Fundraising” has answered many of the questions you had as you started your fundraising journey and that you’ve gained the knowledge you need to propel you, your group, and your cause towards success.

The path ahead may be filled with challenges, but with the right mindset and determination, you’ll overcome every obstacle and celebrate numerous triumphs along the way. Just remember to embrace your cause and let your passion shine through every interaction. When you do, you’ll have your group on the path to fundraising success in no time.

Happy fundraising!

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