Top 10 Fundraising Tips

Sharon Linacre runs the Chester Half Marathon for IWA
Created on 05/02/2014

Raising money for a cause or a project can seem like a difficult task, as each method can get a variety of different responses and reactions.  However, there are many ways that could make your fundraising projects more successful.  Below are the top 10 tips from IWA’s Fundraising Officer, Toby Gomm.

1. Be Creative
It pays to stand out, whether you plan to organise a sponsored event or run a raffle. Many people host similar events and campaign for similar causes. By taking a different and unique approach, you will not only increase chances of receiving donations but could also make a positive and memorable impression on your target audience.  

2. Know what you are Raising Money for
This is perhaps the most important stage of the fundraising process. In order to successfully raise money you need to make it clear what you are fundraising for. Is it general fundraising for a charity or for a specific project? Why should people give you their money? Set out your aims and create a detailed plan of what you want to achieve once you have raised your target amount. Encourage your target donors to understand, empathise or relate to your cause. Empathy will often be the defining factor as to whether the target donors will give a donation.

3. Plan Early and in Detail
A thorough plan is essential for fundraising success and getting this done as early as possible can ensure that all the necessary details are in place before the fundraising begins. List every stage of the process, any costs and equipment involved, how you will get your message across and to whom. For more information on planning sponsored events, raffles and lock winds see the Guidance on Fundraising page.

4. Decide on the Type of Fundraising
With so many options available, it can seem difficult to decide what will be the most effective way of raising your target amount of money. Running a raffle provides a good opportunity to keep the donors updated about your fundraising efforts. Hosting or participating in a sponsored event could, in addition to raising funds, spread awareness of your cause and involve the wider public. There is no single best method of raising money. You need to decide what type of fundraising is best suited to what you are trying to achieve. For inspiration take a look at the “100 Fundraising Ideas” on the Oregon Association of Student Councils’ website.

5. Make it Personal
It is important to give your cause a personal touch so that people can relate to it. If a donor develops a connection to your cause the chance of receiving a donation for them could significantly increase. To find that personal touch, draw on your own connections to the cause. Will the project affect local communities or a particular way of life? Are you aiming to change people’s lives? Case studies of success stories can help a potential donor connect with a cause.
6. Spread the Word
Any fundraising will never be successful unless people know about it. Tell friends, family and work colleagues about what you are trying to achieve and then expand to the local community. Consider using leaflets, posters or placing an article in the local paper.  You could even advertise nationwide if you have the means to do so and if it is relevant to your cause. The internet is a great resource to help you spread your message as widely as possible. Identify where you think the most effective places to advertise your fundraising efforts may be and make sure all the important information in conveyed clearly and concisely.   

7. Fundraising Options
Take advantage of the many opportunities that are available to help you raise money. The methods you use will depend on the ways you plan to fundraise. Here are a few suggestions:
•    Set up a fundraising page on Justgiving or Virgin Money Giving.
•    Use SMS giving – JustTextGiving offer a free service.
•    Write an article for a website or blog, with a donate button that links to a payment process   
      such as a Virgin Money Giving page.
•    Put donation forms in magazines or local newspapers, or details of how to donate via cheque.
•    Create a QR code to link to a fundraising web page.

8. Gift Aid
Charities can claim Gift Aid on donations from UK taxpayers. If you want to do this it is important to get the right details from donors. Gift Aid reclaims the basic tax rate from the “gross equivalent” donation and adds it to the total amount of money donated. Basic rate tax is 20 per cent, so this means that if you give £10 using Gift Aid, it’s worth £12.50 to the charity. However, there are strict guidelines on the wording of Gift Aid and the appearance of the logo so be sure to read the gift aid information on IWA's website carefully.

9. Take Photos
Words may be able to convey a lot of important information but photos can catch the eye and enable a far wider range of expression, whether you are trying to provoke an emotional response or add to a factual account. You will be able to give people something to visualise, which could increase their desire to donate. Photos can also be useful for publicising your fundraising efforts to accompany an article or press release.
10. Thank your Donors
It may seem obvious but the effect of a simple thank you is easy to underestimate. A donation to a cause often represents an interest in the outcome, so as well as an initial thank you take the opportunity to provide a later update and let donors know how things are progressing. People usually just want to know that their money will be spent wisely and that they made the right decision in donating. By showing your gratitude this could increase the likelihood of a repeat donation in the future.

Success Stories

Read Sharon Linacre’s account of her sponsored run at the Chester half-marathon. She successfully raised £175 for IWA.

In August, 2011 Shrewsbury & North Wales Branch raised around £400 by organising an IWAlk along the Montgomery Canal.

On 3rd and 4th August 2013 IWA Warwickshire Branch carried out a Lock Wind at Kingswood Junction, raising in excess of £200. For more details please see the Mid-August 2013 Bulletin.