Let’s be real, there’s no such thing as bad fundraising when it’s for a good cause. However, not all fundraisers were created equal. You will get out of it what you put into it. Here’s the secret sauce:
If you’re selling a product, price it appropriately. You’re probably thinking okay Sophia, duh. But what does that mean? Price it high enough to make money, but not so high that nobody will buy it. So how do you do that?
- Calculate how much it costs to make the product, or how much it costs for you to acquire it. For me, this was doing a test batch of cupcakes and adding up grocery and gas costs. A dozen cupcakes had to cost more for the customer than it did for me to make them to profit for the CCA.
- Look at comparable items. I researched what major bakeries sell for, and also local locations. I priced around/ just under those prices to make my product accessible for people. I ended up settling on basically $2.50 per cupcake, or $2 per cupcake if you ordered 6 or more. Big name companies price cupcakes at $5 a cupcake, and local places priced around $3.5, so I priced low enough to get lots of orders, but still make money!
- Don’t forget added costs, like travel, shipping, etc. Delivering the cupcakes added the factor of the price of gas. I could have chosen to raise the price of the product, but I instead added a small delivery charge based on location. This is entirely up to you, but something to keep in mind, because you could lose a lot of money here if you’re not careful.
Nobody can’t donate to your initiative if they don’t know about. Therefore, the key to successful fundraising lies in your ability to reach as many people as possible. You don’t necessarily need social media for this, but your online platforms are one of the primary places you will get donations! So even if you don’t have many followers or spend much time on Instagram or Facebook, they can be real tools. Utilize every social media platform you have. Post a photo, post a story, tag people in your posts you think might be interested. If you don’t have social media or if you just want to reach more people that don’t have social media, email the person you’re trying to reach or give them a call!
This brings me to my next point:
USE YOUR CONNECTIONS:
You probably know more people than you think you do. Especially when it comes to doing good in your community, you’d be surprised how many people that are just acquaintances or people you haven’t seen in a long time that will come out of the cracks to support you! One of my favorite parts of Operation Joy was reconnecting with people I haven’t seen in ages since they reached out to support me! So don’t be afraid to tell everyone what you’re doing. I’m going to tell you a secret I wish I knew when I first started out and was so nervous to put my project out there in fear of it failing….
YOU WILL NEVER BE JUDGED FOR DOING SOMETHING GOOD.
I remember being so nervous to post for the first time about Operation Joy. I worried, what if people think I’m doing this for attention? What if they don’t get it? What if nobody donates. Throw the what if’s out the window. You don’t have time for them if you’re going to be successful. You will be floored how many people will show up for you when they find out what an awesome thing you’re doing.
So, don’t be afraid to text the distant relatives you don’t talk to much. Send that email to your old drama teacher. Give a call to a family friend who owns a business and see if they’d be interested in matching some of your donations, or even just let you put a flyer up! Get out there, whether in the real world or on your digital platforms, and spread the word to everyone you know! It’s scary, but THAT is the single most important key to success in a fundraiser.
I generally approach people with a script along these lines:
“Hi _______! I just wanted to let you know that I’m running a fundraiser for ________, via my own service initiative ______ . This cause means so much to me because __________. Every single donation, even as small as a dollar helps and I’m accepting donations via [Venmo/ PayPal/ Zelle, etc.]! No pressure to donate but I just wanted to let you know what I was doing and if you’d like to share, I have a flyer for you! Thank you so much.”
A flyer!? Say what now!? That’s right.
HAVE A FLYER/ HANDOUT:
You need to have some kind of one page flyer or handout with your initiative name, logo, what it benefits, a brief description of what you are doing and why. Photos help too! Basically, this is something you can attach on an email to any friend, family member, or business you’re soliciting for donations or matching purposes. This is also something you can copy and paste onto your social media. Think informative, but not overwhelming. Give them the gist without giving so much information they’ll stop reading half way through. This is a great place to develop an elevator pitch or tag line for your service initiative! This is just a sentence or two that you can say to someone in a brief moment explaining what you’re doing. This is the same information & probably some of the same photos you’ll also be posting on your….
This is optional, but can increase engagement! In addition to posting about your project on your personal social media, I recommend creating social media dedicated to your initiative, particularly if you plan making this a long term endeavor. This is a great tool because you can post more in depth and more frequently about your work on these platforms if they have a dedicated place. That way, your personal social media doesn’t become only about your new project, and you have a degree of separation if people want to read about your project but you don’t want them on your page. In the interest of privacy as you grow your initiative, it is a great idea. Strangers can still interact with what you’re doing and donate, without needing to know more about you. Of course, you should still make known on your personal pages that you run that new account or page in order to build a following there. Lastly, in order to be even more official, you could create a…
This is also optional! This is a LOT more work, so I wouldn’t recommend this unless you know this is a long term project for you, really want to grow your initiative, or if just have a lot of time and enthusiasm! For me, Joy From Scratch as an idea came after the start of Operation Joy. I needed time to grow it and figure it out before I could put energy and focus towards a website. However, if this something that interests you, WordPress is the hosting resource I used to get my domain and create my site. You can take the free route and get a longer, less specific web address to you for example “joyfromscratch.wordpress.com”, or something along those lines. Or, you can purchase a domain. For myself, I knew this would be a long term project and something I really wanted to grow, so I bought “joyfromscratch.blog” and pay fees to keep this blog live with a more user friendly web address to type in! If you’re interested in creating a site, feel free to reach out to me at email@example.com and I’m happy to consult with you for free about my process. I’m all self taught, and have learned so much along the way to be here today!
How else can you expand your initiative and reach people? For example, I not only have this website & blog as a supplement to my Social Impact Initiative, but I also have a Podcast and YouTube series. I’ve seen many people host Instagram series or go live with different guest speakers. Whatever works for you, just make sure it adds value & brings in the stories behind your initiative. It should really encapsulate the “why.”
Well, that’s it folks! These are the secrets to successful fundraising… accurate pricing, publicity, using your connections, having a flyer, using social media, and even going as far as making a website!
This was how I was able to raise so much! Show people your heart and be vulnerable, and you’ll be surprised how many people will show up for you. Service is such an honorable and noble thing, and your efforts will be met with support, kindness… and joy.
So next, you might be wondering, what do I do when people actually start donating!? Head now to PATH #2, STEP #7 People are donating… Now what!?