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How to Manage Fundraising Programs so Everybody Wins
Author: Stephanie Taylor Christensen
Friday, November 10, 2017

Fundaraising can help your business connect with customers and prospects. That relationship extends beyond a business relationship, and into a more intimate connection. Though the overall objective of fundraising is to spread goodwill for an important purpose that’s bigger than profit margin, there are some best fundraising practices you can implement into your charitable effort to ensure it’s a win-win for all involved. 

Use these simple tips to ensure your fundraising efforts benefit the causes you want to support, without requiring that you jeopardize your businesses’ financial well-being. 

Select a cause or charity that aligns with your brand values.
Fundraising can be a powerful way to build a community of supporters from everyone related to your business, including employees, customers, vendors, and even, other local business owners. Before you commit to a cause, consider what values you’ve built your business upon, and how they might align with fundraising efforts. Ask employees and customers about the types of causes or charities they support, or would be motivated to support. The more emotionally involved your businesses’ employees and audience are to support your cause, the more successful your effort will be.  If you intend to leverage some of the business tax advantages that can accompany charitable giving, visit the Internal Revenue Service’s Exempt Organizations Select Check website to con rm that the organization you choose to support has a tax exempt so your gifts will qualify for potential tax- deduction opportunities.

Establish a goal—and track it diligently.
Once your business has identified the cause it wants to support through fundraising, set a realistic goal you’d like to reach. If the cause you’ll support has metrics from past campaigns similar to the one that your business will support, ask for guidance on how to set a feasible goal. When in doubt, choose a number the lower end of the fundraising spectrum, and aim to increase it incrementally in years to come. Once the campaign kicks off, establish a cadence for how you’ll measure, report, and publicize your fundraising progress to employees, and the public using social media, and even local media outreach to community newspapers, radio and television stations. When you’re transparent about the campaign’s progress, you can begin to form the kind of community support that transforms a one-time fundraising effort into an annual event.

Choose products that align with the cause.
Product, price point and place are critical elements to fundraising success. Consider which of your products align closely with the cause—and whether they will appeal to the audience most likely to support it. If you’ll fundraise to support breast cancer research, for example, the pink products in your line will be a natural t with the fundraising message—but remember to offer a selection that will appeal to all the people who could want to support your fundraising effort, including men, women and children. Connect with other small businesses who may be happy to help you spread the word to their customers—especially those who aren’t your typical target audience.

Prioritize high-profit margin products.
Using your higher-profit margin products to support the fundraiser allows the most flexibility in determining the percentage of proceeds you’ll donate to the cause from each product sale. In addition to product costs, consider the operational expenses that accompany different methods of fulfillment, including online and in store sales. If you can’t afford to ship your fundraising products to customers who order online, provide them with the option to support the cause with a simple monetary donation they can “opt into” on your secure online checkout page.

Craft a powerful marketing message.
Customers will be more responsive to your cause when your marketing message supports their desire to give. Consider the difference between a cause that gives $1 from every $20 sale—or 50% of the proceeds from every lip gloss sold. The monetary donation may be the same—but the latter creates a compelling message and makes the customer feel good about supporting the cause. Consider matching a percentage of funds raised through product sales to communicate that your business is as generous as it is asking customers to be. 

 



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