Hindsight is 20/20 - Lessons Learned about Participant Fundraising in 2009
If there’s one topic that’s near and dear to my heart in the nonprofit world, it’s participant fundraising.
First a little background information. In memory of my brother-in-law, Bill Drew, I joined Team in Training in 2002 and committed to raise $2,500 and run a marathon. For someone whose fundraising experience at that time was limited to selling chocolate covered almonds door-to-door in seventh grade, and whose running experience could best be described as non-existent, the odds were not in my favor. But I knew a lot about marketing and I thought that my determination might come in handy, so off I went.
Back then, fundraising was different. Technology to allow participants to accept donations online? In my dreams! I had to use both email and regular mail, contacting every person in my address book. As I type this, I’m having bad flashbacks to numerous paper jams, countless trips to the bank to deposit checks, and many dollars spent on stamps that could have gone to the cause instead. Despite these challenges, I became one of the organization’s top fundraisers in Northern California that year. (I also finished the marathon!)
Thanks to the Internet and innovative companies like Convio, the world of fundraising has been transformed since then. Now, participants have access to the tools they need to raise money online. But in reality, having the tools is only half the battle for many individuals. Just as I needed some prodding to train regularly, participants need the occasional poke to keep them motivated and focused on achieving their fundraising goal. And who better to push them along than the organization behind the event!
From the combination of my personal experience, information gathered from a survey and subsequent interviews with successful individual fundraisers, and a discussion with Noel Beebe at Convio at the time of gathering information for the 2010 Nonprofit Resolutions Guide, I gained insight into the many steps an organization can take to maximize the success of their participant fundraising. From these, I pulled together this set of lessons learned.
Top 5 Lessons Learned in 2009: Participant Fundraising
Even more lessons learned and ideas can be found in the 2010 Nonprofit Resolutions Guide, and of course, I know there are many other tips participant fundraisers must have. So please chime in with your ideas. What worked for your organization in 2009? And what are you looking to do in 2010?
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