Archive | July, 2016

The SMARTer Way to Fundraising Goals

26 Jul

The start of every great cause is a vision that inspires people to act. Yet, a vision can only take you or your organization so far. You’ll need well-developed goals that help manage your progress and offer guidance through challenges to be successful.

To better develop goals, many fundraising organizations employ the S.M.A.R.T. criteria to improve their performance. The S.M.A.R.T. criteria challenges a goal until clear objectives and trajectory are found. Here’s what each letter in S.M.A.R.T. stands for with insight on how to develop better fundraising goals:

S – Specific

The first step to establishing SMART goals is to be specific with what your objectives. When objectives are too vague, the goal runs the risk of losing momentum and failing when it is challenged.

A fundraising organization can specify their goals by answering the Five Ws of information-gathering:

  • Who must be involved to achieve the goal?
  • What is the desired result? What objectives must be met to accomplish the main goal?
  • When must the objectives and goal be met?
  • Where is the desired location or event?
  • Why work towards this goal?

M – Measurable

After you’ve defined the specifics of your goal and its objectives, the next step is to ensure its measurability. When your goal and objectives are measurable, accessing success or failure becomes objective. For goals that long timelines, keeping measure of your fundraiser’s progress can help illustrate how much more needs to be done before the organization is successful.

In fundraising, a fundamental metric used is the amount of money being made. However, some fundraisers have other numbers to keep into account, like costs, deadlines, specifications, and manpower. To make your goal and its objectives measurable, ask “how” questions like:

  • How much have we raised so far? How much more do I need to raise?
  • How much time and money do I need to invest?
  • How many volunteers do I need?

A – Attainable

One of the most challenging questions to ask when creating SMART goals is, “are my goals and objectives attainable with our time and resources?” Keep in mind that challenging goals will require greater performance to succeed. It’s easy to get sidetracked in the excitement and commit to something that is out of reach.

If your organization has history, consider using previous experiences to evaluate the attainability of your goal. Organizations that are new or have a short history may want to consider breaking challenging goals into smaller objectives for better measurability.

R – Relevant

The relevancy of a goal focuses on how it contributes to the greater cause of an organization. For example, if your fundraiser’s cause is to help your local school’s extracurricular program, then the fundraising goal must serve the needs of the program.

To ensure that your goal is relevant to your cause, create a sales pitch that you would give to a supporter or potential sponsor. The sales pitch should be simple and connects how the goal will lead to the cause.

T – Time-Bound

All goals should have a deadline. It’s what helps motivate the organization to act and maintain a high level of performance. If the fundraiser has an open deadline, then create a target deadline that is feasible with your dedicated resources.

The S.M.A.R.T. criteria are a smarter method of developing goals that will keep your fundraising organization on track to meeting its cause. With the S.M.A.R.T., your organization will have more clarity on how to evaluate success or failure for smarter decisions on your fundraising journey.

 

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To learn more about popcorn fundraising, fill our form below and a fundraising expert will contact you soon!

Added Benefits of Fundraising for Students

13 Jul

When it comes to teamwork and organizing goals, participating in a fundraiser offers many fun opportunities for students to learn real-world skills. Students who fundraise are engaged in their communities and work hard for a good cause, all while making friends along the way. Here are some of the benefits that students gain from fundraising:

  1. Support Extracurricular Activities

With looming budget cuts and a tightening of resources, some extracurricular school programs are left to continue their activities with less funding. Activities like field trips, guest speakers, festivals and talent shows rely on the help of parents and students every-year.

To help support these extracurricular programs, students and parents can host fundraisers. In fact, organizations like the Girl Scouts of the United States of America began selling cookies in 1933 as a way to raise funding for their Girl Scout council.[1] Fundraising helps students develop a sense of ownership over their extracurricular programs, showing that hard work and dedication can overcome challenges.

  1. Learn Real-World Skills

Students and organizations can learn many valuable real-world skills when they participate in a fundraiser. Depending on the size of the goal and objectives, a fundraiser will need leaders, treasurers, event coordinators and staff members, community managers, promoters, and many other important roles to succeed.

Hosting a fundraiser will allow students to apply these real-world skills as they organize events, manage sales and inventory, balance budgets, and practice organizational communication skills.

  1. Practice Creativity

Fundraising can also be a fun opportunity for students to overcome challenges with creative events, promotions, and goals. From a large scale talent shows to Popcorn Fundraisers, students must get creative on how to best utilize their time and resources available to raise the most support.

  1. Make Friends Through Teamwork

Students who participate in fundraisers will have the opportunity to work closely with their peers to achieve a common goal, enabling students to make friends who are also passionate about helping their community. Another major benefit of fundraising for students is learning how to make decisions as a team. Fundraising for a sensitive cause like hunger relief and animal cruelty sanctuaries can help students explore these topics and organize their efforts through teamwork.

  1. Connect with The Local Community

Fundraising is rarely a solo venture. Many fundraising initiatives work with the local community to promote, host, and offer support to a common cause. Students who participate in fundraisers are better connected to their local communities by investing their time and efforts to improve their surroundings.

Perhaps the biggest benefit of fundraising is learning to be selfless while serving the community. Through fundraising, students are given the opportunity to organize and pursue a cause that they believe in. Students will learn how to prepare goals, manage their resources, and closely monitor their progress to help raise as much support as they can.

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For more information about popcorn fundraising, fill our form below and a fundraising expert will contact you soon!

[1] “Girl Scout Cookie History”. Girl Scouts. https://www.girlscouts.org/en/cookies/all-about-cookies/Cookie-History.html

7 Tips for Fundraising Organizations on Twitter

5 Jul

Knowing the ins-and-outs of social media platforms can make a big difference in promoting your fundraiser. Twitter, for example, has features unique to the platform that are essential for fundraising organizations to quickly get the word out and engage with supporters. In fact, a recent Nonprofit Communication Trends Report, 76% of nonprofits are on the micro-blogging platform Twitter.[1]

Maintaining a Twitter account isn’t too complicated. However, to use Twitter to its full-potential, there are a few nuances about the platform to keep in mind. To get started on using Twitter like a pro, here are 10 tips to help you with fundraising on Twitter:

  1. Post Often

Tweets fly by fast. According to Twitter’s website, 500 million tweets are sent every day.[2] With a 140-character limit, Twitter encourages users to tweet and retweet multiple times a day. If you have planned daily content, spread your tweets for coverage throughout the day. This will improve your visibility and opportunities for engagement with followers.

  1. Take Advantage of Hashtags and Mentions

Twitter is where hashtags take off. There are plenty of active hashtags available to get your fundraiser plugged into the conversation. Conduct a Twitter search for hashtags that are relevant to your organization and fundraiser. As a rule of thumb, you’ll want to use broad hashtags that are no longer than two words. Hashtags that are too long or specific will tend offer lower rates of engagement.

If you’re referencing a partner, person or place, be sure to use their mentions to tag them in the tweet. This will make the tweet visible to both of your followers for more reach.

  1. Use Twitter to Keep Supporters Updated

Use Twitter to publically thank supporters for helping your fundraiser. If a user is thanked, they are likely to retweet it and expand the reach of your campaign. If you’re working with a partner, volunteers or are receiving ongoing support, send them updates through Twitter. Their public contribution to your fundraiser is also likely to get a retweet.

  1. Focus on Engagement

The key to an effective Twitter campaign is follower engagement. Twitter has recently made its algorithmic timeline the default setting for all users. This allows users large followers and engagement to show higher in the timeline than other accounts.

One method of increasing your engagement is to regularly favorite and retweet articles, links, videos and images that are relevant to your fundraiser. By sharing content from other accounts, you are opening yourself for discussion while at the same time offering your followers something to see.

  1. Use a Link Shortener

A key feature that make Twitter unique is the 140-character limit, including links and attachments. Take advantage of link shortening sites like bit.ly to give your tweets more room to work with. Also, monitor of your engagement rate by tracking activities like replies and retweets around your links. This will give you greater insight on the type of content that you followers enjoy.

  1. Follow and Retweet Relevant Tweets

Twitter is great for branching out and maintaining connections with organizations and influencers. For example, if you’re using Twitter for your school’s athletic department, it may be in your interest to follow College and Professional sports personalities and official accounts. This will allow you to pitch your organization and join conversations about relevant topics.

  1. Maintain an Editorial Calendar

Spend some time every month to plan out some of your tweets. Although the format of Twitter is more conducive for news updates and interactions with followers, maintaining an editorial calendar will ensure that you’ll always have content to publish for the month. Planning the pieces of your editorial calendar will also help you better align your tweets to other promotional strategies.

The attraction of social media is it allows people to have conversations about things that are important to them. Engage with your supporters frequently and develop content that they will enjoy. Keep our 7 tips in mind and you’ll soon see spikes in your Twitter activity.

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For more information about popcorn fundraising or other fundraising tips, fill our form below and a fundraising expert will contact you soon!

[1] John H. “2016 Nonprofit Communications Trends”. John Haydon. http://www.johnhaydon.com/2016-nonprofit-communications-trends-infographic/

[2] Alexei O. “Tweets Per Day”. Business Insider. http://www.businessinsider.com/twitter-tweets-per-day-appears-to-have-stalled-2015-6