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Major gifts are significant monetary donations made by donors or sponsors to a charitable organization. Though major gifts are relatively rare, they are a very important aspect of any development plan, due to their large size. Major gifts don’t just happen – a major gifts strategic plan is needed if your organization plans to receive major gifts with any regularity. The stewardship, outreach and cultivation processes are all crucial parts of a major gifts program. If your University or organization is interested in implementing or revising your major gifts program, start with these five key steps.

Step 1: Determine the Threshold for a Major Gift

Major gifts are defined as significant monetary donations received from donors or sponsors. But what exactly is major? The amount can vary widely, from organization to organization. The range can begin as low as $1,000 for small or new organizations and exceed $10,000 or even $100,000 for Universities or large established organizations. Determining your major gift minimum threshold depends on several things:

  • Past Donors: A good place to begin is to review your organization’s past donors and highest donation amounts received. If you have a recurring donation campaign or membership program, review these donors especially. This information can serve as a good starting threshold and help determine your major gift fundraising goal.
  • Annual Fundraising Goal: Using your organization’s annual fundraising budget or goal is another point of analysis that can help determine how many major donors are needed and the amount needed for each major gift to accomplish a significant portion of the goal. Remember these donations are rare, so fundraising events, grants and smaller donations will still likely make up the majority of your fundraising.
  • Connections and Time Commitment of the Committee: After discussing the prior two points, it’s also important to evaluate your committee or Development Department’s realistic capacity to perform the outreach required for major gift donors. We’ll cover this more in detail in the section Finding New Prospects.
Step 2: Prepare Marketing Collateral and Documents

While most major gift donations will come through warm connections and building relationships, having the proper marketing collateral reinforces the reputation of your organization. Be sure to focus on the programs and options that donors can allocate major gifts to here. While some donors may be happy to simply write a $20,000 check, most major gifts donors will want to know exactly how their funds will be used and what impact can be expected as an outcome.

Proper marketing collateral can include any of the following:

  • Professional Website: The organization website should be easy to navigate, simple but beautifully designed and able to receive donations securely. Here is a great article to understand essential elements that create an impressive non-profit website design.
  • Educational Brochures: Brochures should be available that educate supporters and donors about your organization and charitable cause, as well as your organization’s achievements to date and how their financial support helps.
  • Letterhead: Any handwritten or typed letters should be completed on the organization’s professional letterhead.
  • Sponsorship Collateral: Major donors like to be recognized for their generosity. Preparing a chart which illustrates your donation tiers and incentives donors receive for donating at these incremental tiers is vital to your program’s success.
Step 3: Set Up Incentives for Major Gift Donors

The relationship with your organization and charitable cause will be a large part of the reason why a sponsor considers giving a major gift, but incentives will help seal the support. The more a sponsor donates, the more incentives they should receive. Here are examples of incentives that are appropriate for donors of major gifts:

  • Brand Recognition Opportunities: Many sponsors are enticed by the amount of brand recognition received from a major cause. If there will be advertising campaigns for a special event (such as a race or walk fundraiser), major gift incentives can include a business logo, organization name or individual name on the advertisement or poster (higher donation amounts can be shown in larger font/logo sizes). If there is a step-and-repeat banner for photo opportunities for guests and news outlets, their logo can be included on the backdrop for media exposure. Alternatively, for a non-event affiliated branding opportunity, a certain program, room or building can be named after the donor. This works especially well for alumni fundraising campaigns.
  • Speaking Sessions: If your organization has an upcoming event, such as a gala or speaking panel, major donors can be offered the opportunity to present an award or introduce a keynote speaker. This serves to recognize their contributions and tie them more closely to your organization’s platform.
  • Special Major Gift Events: A great way to thank the donors of major gifts is to host a special event just for them or give them VIP passes to your fundraising events. Special major donor events could be a brunch, lunch or dinner with tickets to an event (such as a Broadway show or sports show) or a special tour of the work your organization is doing.  If your organization hosts an annual charity golf outing, offer them a foursome and VIP dinner table at no charge.
Step 4: Find Your Major Gifts Prospects

Achieving the fundraising goal requires a strong team with a realistic plan. Major donors can be broken down to two groups:

  • Already Existing Prospects: As mentioned before, a good start is to review your past donors and to see who has either consistently donated to your organization or who has donated large amounts. Approaching pre-existing donors should be warm, consistent and informal, since they already know about your cause. If a new campaign is coming up or a major gift program has been launched, assign it to a committee member or board member that has a close connection to the person or organization. Have them initiate a conversation to discuss the benefits of participating as a major gift donor.
  • Finding New Prospects: New prospects will take a lot more effort because there is a process of gaining trust and building brand recognition for your organization. Designate certain committee members or board members certain prospects to outreach based on their connections, time capacity and reputation. There are different places to find new prospects:
    • Networking Groups: Whether it is a Meetup geared towards non-profits, a technology event, a referral networking group, a networking event or otherwise, these are great places to find volunteers and donors.
    • Vetting the Network of the Network: Since your supporters and donors already appreciate your cause, they may be able to introduce you to other well-connected individuals and organizations that can also donate major gifts or help with in-kind donations. You’ll have to ask them to introduce you.
    • Research Donors of Similar Causes: Annual reports, past event information, social media channels and other helpful sources can provide details about past donors that have given major gifts to causes that relate to your organization.
Step 5: Define Protocol to Ask for and Receive Major Gifts

All committees and Development personnel should be in sync to understand what is needed to ask for and receive a major gift. Determine the deadlines for first outreach, follow-ups and finalizing donation amounts to achieve the goal during a given period (quarterly, annually). The organization’s Treasurer or Office Manager should communicate any tax information that is necessary to properly give letters or tax forms to the donors to recognize their donations.

Also, having fundraising software that is able to track all of the information about the major gift and the donor would be helpful for long-term planning and the growth of your major gift program. If logging the donation information or using a donation software is not already part of the procedure, research a sophisticated donation software that comes with helpful features to build your donor list.

Once all of the prior steps have been done, discuss the plan and establish a protocol to receive major gifts. First and foremost, you will need to meet with your prospects in person to make an ask. You can’t ask for major gifts in a group setting or by email.

The Ask

Once you have determined a prospect in step 4, someone will need to call them and setup a meeting. The call as well as the in-person meeting should come from the Executive Director of the organization, a Board Member or senior Development staff (Development Director or Major Gifts Officer). When meeting with the prospect, be sure that they already know who you are and have a relationship with you. Don’t send someone who has never met a prospect to do a major gift ask.

If you are just getting started with a major gift campaign, be sure to practice the ask before you show up for a meeting. You can practice and role play with others in the organization. Be sure to know who is making the ask (if you go as a team), once you are in the situation. Don’t’ leave it to just happen – it’s not easy to ask for a major gift for the first time. What happens when the donor requests more information or says they will think about it…And what happens if the prospect says no? Be prepared for this.

What If a Donor Says Yes?

When meeting with potential donors, being prepared to receive a donation is just as important. It’s understood that major gift donations are frequently done with a handshake and a check. However, having a major gift sponsorship form on hand can b useful. Here are some helpful fields that should be on the major gift sponsorship form:

  • Basic Individual/Company Information
  • Contact Information
  • Amount Donated
  • Tax Information (to take advantage of tax write-offs for donations)
  • Instructions and/or Information for executing incentives (instructions on providing their logo for a banner for a major race, information about the speaker for a speaking slot during your gala)

With these helpful steps, careful planning and a communicative committee, giving an extra push to achieve new fundraising goals from major gifts is quite possible to achieve. For some extra tips and advice on the strategy of major gift outreach, building relationships and donor retention, stay tuned for part two of Building a Major Gift Program.

The post Build a Major Gifts Program at Your Non-Profit appeared first on Online Fundraising Today.

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Non-profit and charity organizations are recognizing more and more the impact that utilizing video can create for their fundraising campaigns. The good news is that creating a non-profit video is not only much more prevalent, but easier and less expensive than ever.

Best Nonprofit Video Fundraising Strategies Utilize Animated Videos

Explaining your nonprofit program’s details and objectives through animated videos help topics come to life through visualization and voice. Use of graphics in video allow you to convey your message quickly and effectively. Sharing charts, graphs, photos and key phrases in motion are effective teaching concepts that are easily included in animated videos. As well, video animation takes away the limitations of what real people and real life communications convey.

You may wish to explain to your donors the specifics regarding operating costs and the support you need. Or you may wish to explain how your website donations page works and go through step by step how to make a donation. Animation is clearer and easier to understand than text.

DoJiggy recommends video producer 30 Second Explainer Videos for creating simple, animated campaign videos. They offer affordable prices and an easy production process. We have worked with them on multiple video projects and the process is simple:

  1. Pick your style and video length (they offer 2 styles of videos)
  2. Answer a questionnaire which defines your goals for the video
  3. Approve the script or provide feedback
  4. Review the animation and provide feedback

Video Planning

In the past, nonprofit video fundraising was thought to be successful through casting stars, great sound and an expert video producer. Yet new evidence shows these attributes to be far less important in nonprofit fundraising. It is more about understanding who your audience is, how you wish to affect them, and offering a clear call to action. Brief, entertaining video that is low cost is drawing more donors to charity organizations.

Video Writing and Scripting

Your nonprofit video will be as good as the writing and content are. Allow for sufficient time for your nonprofit staff to write and discuss the content. Spend time tossing out ideas, and next agree on the message you wish to convey in your nonprofit video. Come to a consensus on the video content and writing, and realize this is the most important aspect.

Video Creation and Production

Competition for getting your video noticed is very high. Think of the number of videos you watch in a day. Yours must compete. If folks like your video on social medial channels, they are more likely to visit your nonprofit website and donate to your cause.

Entertaining videos that are also informative is a good direction for nonprofit videos. This works especially well for animated videos. Your producer or video production partner will guide you in the simple steps of putting it together.

Your video production partner should provide a questionnaire to help your group prioritize ideas. For nonprofits and nonprofit video producers alike, keeping your project on time and on budget is easy when proper time has been put into the initial stages. Animated video templates make the process easy.

Creating a Clear Call-to-Action

Of course you want to educate people about your cause, but you need to be more specific if you want to raise money with your video. If your goal is to drive traffic to your donation website, the end of your video must give a clear call to action with the web link to your website. Be bold and tell your viewers what you would like them to do. Suggest a donation amount or amounts and what that amount can do. Offer the benefits and rewards of becoming a donor.

Posting Your Video on YouTube

Now you’ve created your video. A great way to get your video seen is by posting it on YouTube. Here are some tips:

  • Add your video to your YouTube page or create a new page, if your organization doesn’t already have one.  Feature your most current video on the front page.
  • Add your own thumbnail. Do a little research on thumbnails by looking at what is available on YouTube. Chose one that is fitting for your nonprofit and draws your audience in particular.
  • Choose a short title. You don’t need a title that holds a description. Choose a brief title that draws your nonprofit audience.
  • Add a video description. Entertaining your audience begins with your nonprofit video description. Your objective is get people to click on the video link.
  • Use keywords in your video title and description. Think broadly as to what your followers may search for – they may not be searching for a video. Apply the same science of non-profit SEO when posting YouTube videos.
  • Use YouTube nonprofit annotations. Get a jump on your competition by using annotations specifically for YouTube nonprofit users.
  • Change your video posts. Attract more viewers to your video by changing the title during the first month of posting it. Post it often to social media platforms.
Nonprofit Video and Donor Retention

Make some personal thank-you videos for new donors using your mobile phone. Thank a business or donor who has helped you reach a goal or has given extra this year. Create a short video to say thanks for the time a specific donor has given your nonprofit.

Thanking your donors through video shouldn’t be reserved just for year-end giving campaigns. Acknowledge their contributions and donations through thank you videos year-round.  A short video of thanks engages donors and thanks them on social media. Potential donors see this and are attracted to your charity organization.

Consider having the thank you come from those who are helped by the donation. There are many forms of delivery in thanking donors through short nonprofit video. They will enjoy being thanked by program leaders, CEOs, staff they have worked alongside on projects and programs, and direct recipients of their donations.

Video and your Nonprofit Website

Utilizing video throughout your nonprofit websites offers people a fast way to learn what you offer and how they can get involved. Nonprofit crowdfunding events present a great forum to create excitement with the use of videos. Volunteers speaking on video of their work and the benefits of volunteering will draw more volunteers and donors.

DoJiggy’s non-profit fundraising software makes it easy to add impact with videos. Our state-of-the-art platforms present videos with precision and clarity and ensure they’ll play well for donors.

Fundraising Events and Animated Video

Nonprofit and school crowdfunding events offer opportunities to get videos seen and draw donors to your cause. Consider a few different videos during your fundraising campaign. Use an animated video to explain what crowdfunding is and how to donate to your website. Explain where your event is and what your needs are along the lines of volunteer recruitment.  Create animated videos to let potential peer-to-peer fundraising participants and donors know what your specific financial needs are for a new library or science lab.

In summary, the current trend is using animated and short videos for nonprofit video fundraising. Longer and more expensive videos are still great. Yet the attention spans of potential donors clicking through websites, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other digital platforms are brief. Statistics show the importance of creating nonprofit videos and getting them seen.

The post Tips for Nonprofit Video Fundraising appeared first on Online Fundraising Today.

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I can’t be racist, sexist or biased because I am a good person!

We in United States all grew up in the same white, patriarchal social system which is racist and sexist. We are thus all racist, sexist, gender biased, ableist, classist and religiously biased. We don’t like to admit this, yet that is the first step in looking at creating a healthy, diverse environment within your nonprofit. Doing so impacts how your charity organization is seen in our society by prospective donors and employees. How cohesively your fundraising team works effects everything – how much you raise and how quickly and effectively you grow your programs.

Nonprofit leaders need to understand their privilege. They are then in a position to lead their charity organization in addressing equity, diversity and inclusion. They may not want to because they have benefited from this through better jobs, more power and pay. Hiring a diversity consultant is the next step to help them so they can help their nonprofit organization.

Equity and equality are two different things. Addressing the individual needs of members of your nonprofit allows volunteers, donors and employees to get what they need. Addressing a group of color or gender as the same does not allow for this. Assuming all women or all black people have the same thoughts and needs is another form of inequity. Through a diversity expert, the leaders and supervisors of your nonprofit introduce such conversation between employees and leaders. Group facilitation is helpful so team members can hear each other. Bring diverse members of your nonprofit to an equal playing field.

Discuss incidents of bias. Allowing specific stories of racial and gender bias to be known help your nonprofit to learn and become more effective in fundraising and carrying out your mission. Talk about how transgender behaviors interrupt the status quo. There is no shame in how we grew up, yet silence or failure to act is discriminatory and may be harmful to your co-workers and overall mission.

Many nonprofits say they cannot afford to hire diversity facilitation. Yet often they can and are resistant to the idea. And some nonprofits actually find it difficult to pay for this. Partnering with other organizations in hiring facilitation is a way to reduce the cost. It also points the finger less at your organization, and brings it to a broader societal level. All organizations struggle with equity, diversity and inclusion issues. Learning from each other is very helpful when 3 nonprofits join. Also, look for funding. While it is limited and needs to offered at a greater level, funding exists for diversity facilitation.

We all need to unlearn our biases and don’t like to admit it. Prejudgements or assumptions about others can be unlearned. Oppression and discrimination is defined by the unjust treatment of people because they don’t fit our social structure. Nonprofits deny gender diversity issues yet they exist at all nonprofits. Women and gender oppressed people don’t speak up. Nonprofit leaders may resist addressing this. You may need to find partners within your organization to help you in bringing the topic to the table.

45% of our society today in the United States are black or Hispanic. If your nonprofit does not know how to manage equity, diversity and inclusion it will be less successful. White supremacy is a fact in the US. In order to grow and compete with successful nonprofits, addressing racism is truly of importance.

How can your nonprofit embrace equity, diversity and inclusion?

Add board members who are diversity experts. A wide range of diversity, equity and inclusion perspectives are critical to effective nonprofit leadership. Women, people of color and gender diversity all have unique experience and different areas of expertise. A white woman cannot stand for racism.

Realize that your nonprofit will be celebrated for having an inclusive gender and race environment. The difficulties you face and hard work you do in embracing issues of equity, diversity and inclusion will be seen by your donors, volunteers, staff and society.

Know that confronting equity, diversity and inclusion in your nonprofit creates a more cohesive environment which impacts fundraising.

Hire diversity experts to facilitate classes, groups and individual interviews. Find diversity experts and their websites. Find ideas online to address diversity, equity and inclusion at your charity organization.

If your leadership is resistant to address equity, diversity and inclusion, find partners within your nonprofit to start educating your nonprofit organization through books on diversity, online lectures and discussions.

Actively seek acceptance and inclusion within your nonprofit staff by holding potlucks where everyone brings a dish from their childhood. Hold retreats where appreciating nature is the main goal and finding what team members have in common. Hold free pizza luncheons to have fun and sing karaoke. or hear lectures on interesting topics like nutrition, green energy, humor and much more.

Add a section to your nonprofit website on equity, diversity and inclusion. Place video lectures on racism, sexism, gender bias, ableism, classism and religious bias. Add names of books and ebooks. Add contact information as to who to turn to for help and support on matters of equity.

Nonprofits with a diverse staff, board and donor and volunteer base tend to be more successful than groups who are mostly alike. Diversity brings fresh experience which lends creativity and innovation in thought and nonprofit programs. While it may be uncomfortable to work with diverse board members and staff, yet the benefits outweigh the advantages.

Mistakes are inevitable when you start making changes and are learning. Be open to feedback and listen to any concerns regarding diversity, equity and inclusion. Learn together how to have an equitable environment, and never stop being open to learning.

Nonprofit organizations and fundraising teams whose goal is to make the world a better place, hold a moral and social responsibility for inclusion. There is no question of the importance of equity and confronting discrimination within nonprofit environments.

Each nonprofit has a unique situation. Yet we know that all nonprofits have issues of racism, sexism and bias. Oppression is a part of our society and nonprofits cannot escape this. Consider it a lifelong learning process to address issues of diversity at your nonprofit. Enter this mission with an mind and accept help from experts in equity, diversity and inclusion.

We don’t see things as they are; we see them as we are.  – Anais Nin

 

 

 

 

 

The post Nonprofit Diversity, Equity and Inclusion appeared first on Online Fundraising Today.

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Non-profit and charity organizations are recognizing more and more the impact that videos can create for their fundraising campaigns. The good news is that creating a non-profit video is not only much more prevalent, but easier and less expensive than ever.

Best Nonprofit Video Fundraising Strategies Utilize Animated Videos

Explaining your nonprofit program’s details and objectives through animated videos help topics come to life through visualization and voice. Use of graphics in video allow you to convey your message quickly and effectively. Sharing charts, graphs, photos and key phrases in motion are effective teaching concepts that are easily included in animated videos. As well, video animation takes away the limitations of what real people and real life communications convey.

You may wish to explain to your donors the specifics regarding operating costs and the support you need. Or you may wish to explain how your website donations page works and go through step by step how to make a donation. Animation is clearer and easier to understand than text.

DoJiggy recommends video producer 30Seconds for creating simple, animated campaign videos. They offer affordable prices and an easy production process. We have worked with them on multiple video projects and the process is simple:

  1. Pick your style and video length (they offer 2 styles of videos)
  2. Answer a questionnaire which defines your goals for the video
  3. Approve the script or provide feedback
  4. Review the animation and provide feedback

Video Planning

In the past, nonprofit video fundraising was thought to be successful through casting stars, great sound and an expert video producer. Yet new evidence shows these attributes to be far less important in nonprofit fundraising. It is more about understanding who your audience is, how you wish to affect them, and offering a clear call to action. Brief, entertaining video that is low cost is drawing more donors to charity organizations.

Video Writing and Scripting

Your nonprofit video will be as good as the writing and content are. Allow for sufficient time for your nonprofit staff to write and discuss the content. Spend time tossing out ideas, and next agree on the message you wish to convey in your nonprofit video. Come to a consensus on the video content and writing, and realize this is the most important aspect.

Video Creation and Production

Competition for getting your video noticed is very high. Think of the number of videos you watch in a day. Yours must compete. If folks like your video on social medial channels, they are more likely to visit your nonprofit website and donate to your cause.

Entertaining videos that are also informative is a good direction for nonprofit videos. This works especially well for animated videos. Your producer or video production partner will guide you in the simple steps of putting it together.

Your video production partner should provide a questionnaire to help your group prioritize ideas. For nonprofits and nonprofit video producers alike, keeping your project on time and on budget is easy when proper time has been put into the initial stages. Animated video templates make the process easy.

Creating a Clear Call-to-Action

Of course you want to educate people about your cause, but you need to be more specific if you want to raise money with your video. If your goal is to drive traffic to your donation website, the end of your video must give a clear call to action with the web link to your website. Be bold and tell your viewers what you would like them to do. Suggest a donation amount or amounts and what that amount can do. Offer the benefits and rewards of becoming a donor.

Posting Your Video on YouTube

Now you’ve created your video. A great way to get your video seen is by posting it on YouTube. Here are some tips:

  • Add your video to your YouTube page or create a new page, if your organization doesn’t already have one.  Feature your most current video on the front page.
  • Add your own thumbnail. Do a little research on thumbnails by looking at what is available on YouTube. Chose one that is fitting for your nonprofit and draws your audience in particular.
  • Choose a short title. You don’t need a title that holds a description. Choose a brief title that draws your nonprofit audience.
  • Add a video description. Entertaining your audience begins with your nonprofit video description. Your objective is get people to click on the video link.
  • Use keywords in your video title and description. Think broadly as to what your followers may search for – they may not be searching for a video. Apply the same science of non-profit SEO when posting YouTube videos.
  • Use YouTube nonprofit annotations. Get a jump on your competition by using annotations specifically for YouTube nonprofit users.
  • Change your video posts. Attract more viewers to your video by changing the title during the first month of posting it. Post it often to social media platforms.
Nonprofit Video and Donor Retention

Make some personal thank-you videos for new donors using your mobile phone. Thank a business or donor who has helped you reach a goal or has given extra this year. Create a short video to say thanks for the time a specific donor has given your nonprofit.

Thanking your donors through video shouldn’t be reserved just for year-end giving campaigns. Acknowledge their contributions and donations through thank you videos year-round.  A short video of thanks engages donors and thanks them on social media. Potential donors see this and are attracted to your charity organization.

Consider having the thank you come from those who are helped by the donation. There are many forms of delivery in thanking donors through short nonprofit video. They will enjoy being thanked by program leaders, CEOs, staff they have worked alongside on projects and programs, and direct recipients of their donations.

Video and your Nonprofit Website

Utilizing video throughout your nonprofit websites offers people a fast way to learn what you offer and how they can get involved. Nonprofit crowdfunding events present a great forum to create excitement with the use of videos. Volunteers speaking on video of their work and the benefits of volunteering will draw more volunteers and donors.

DoJiggy’s non-profit fundraising software makes it easy to add impact with videos. Our state-of-the-art platforms present videos with precision and clarity and ensure they’ll play well for donors.

Fundraising Events and Animated Video

Nonprofit and school crowdfunding events offer opportunities to get videos seen and draw donors to your cause. Consider a few different videos during your fundraising campaign. Use an animated video to explain what crowdfunding is and how to donate to your website. Explain where your event is and what your needs are along the lines of volunteer recruitment.  Create animated videos to let potential peer-to-peer fundraising participants and donors know what your specific financial needs are for a new library or science lab.

In summary, the current trend is using animated and short videos for nonprofit video fundraising. Longer and more expensive videos are still great. Yet the attention spans of potential donors clicking through websites, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other digital platforms are brief. Statistics show the importance of creating nonprofit videos and getting them seen.

The post Tips for Nonprofit Video Fundraising appeared first on Online Fundraising Today.

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Food lovers have been relishing in the latest trend of farm to table dining. Farm-to table is as clean and straightforward as the concept cooks themselves use, of creating fresh meals using ingredients and resources from local farms. Ingredients are healthier, as they are not processed and contain fewer additives than most foods purchased at the grocery store. Many times, the fruits, vegetables and meats are also grown organically, making them healthier for the environment as well as the diners. When fresh, local ingredients are coupled with the skilled craftsmanship of a chef, patrons enjoy the dining experience because of fresher and cleaner flavors. With the rising popularity of this dining concept, it is only so natural to bring farm to table fundraising event ideas to the table. If you’ve been wondering how to plan a farm to table fundraiser, we’re here to help!

Farm to Table Fundraising Ideas and Concepts

There are several ways to implement a farm to table fundraising event. Below we detail two of the most popular options –  to either serve a dinner with several courses, or to give guests a relaxed option and more autonomy in their experience with a tasting event or food festival.

Farm to Table Dinner Fundraisers

Many farm to table fundraisers choose this option. A major benefit of a farm to table dinner fundraiser is that it is an ideal setting for a higher-cost ticket. Several course meals are typically associated with a higher-end dining experience, so ticket prices can be higher. If you choose a farm to table dinner fundraiser, you’ll need to be sure to work with a great chef and plan a seasonally appropriate dinner menu. The other consideration when choosing this style of event is that diners will expect more focus on hospitality and service. Whether you enlist volunteer servers, hire a company or use servers provided by one of your event sponsors, a memorable dining experience includes good service.

Farm to Table Tasting Events

The other approach to farm to table fundraisers is to offer a food fair or tasting event. The benefit of this concept is that attendees enjoy the event with more autonomy to walk around and taste the foods and drinks that they prefer to taste. It is not as formal and doesn’t require a full dinner menu and planning. This format works great for beer and wine tastings as well.

This can allow for a more relaxed environment, as tasting events tend to draw a larger crowd since tickets are typically cheaper for tasting events and food festivals. The consideration when hosting a farm to table tasting event is that there is more heavy emphasis on sponsorship and vendor outreach. The number of participating vendors and sponsors often dictates the ticket price (or vice versa), as well as the food and drink supply available for all the attendees, so there may be pressure to acquire a certain number of sponsors.

Planning Fundraising Goal and Budget

Before planning any logistics behind the farm-to-table fundraiser, it all begins with planning the event budget. Begin the budget planning with the proceeds goal (amount that goes towards your organization or cause) that the event should raise. Then itemize all of the costs that would be incurred to host the event to understand the gross amount that needs to be raised (the total to cover both proceeds and costs). From here, perform an analysis of which price point and target number of attendees are needed to meet your fundraising goal. Then decide on which scenario is the best fit for your non-profit organization, based on available resources, effort and time your team can dedicate to the event execution.

Finding the Venue

The venue is certainly part of the fun in hosting a farm-to-table fundraising event. If there is a farm that participates as a vendor for farm-to-table restaurants, consider inquiring if they have space to host a dinner or tasting event. This may be an outdoor space that requires tents or a barn that they rent out for special events. This is the best idea! Alternatively, consider inquiring a restaurant that focuses on farm-to-table dining or an establishment that focuses on locally crafted drinks to block off an afternoon or evening to host the event. This venue type can greatly minimize costs and effort to organize, in relation to needing volunteers to serve or tend to attendees. If these spaces are not available, consider researching venues that can best accommodate the format of one of the farm-to-table event ideas, whether it is a park, a gallery, a general event space or otherwise.

Finding Farm to Table Fundraising Event Sponsors

As with all fundraising events, sponsors can greatly decrease the cost of hosting farm to table fundraisers, allowing for more of the funds to go towards your charitable cause or effort.

  1. Food and Beverage Sponsors: Since the farm-to-table fundraiser has a main focus on dining and drinking (of all types of beverages), it would greatly help towards decreasing the cost to seek food and beverage sponsors. Many farms, local stores and restaurants will be interested in the recognition they receive from donating their wares for your event, It may be towards the ingredients of preparing a dinner or prepared foods and drinks to serve bite-sized or tasting portions to attendees.
  2. Service-Oriented Sponsors: If the farm-to-table fundraiser is a dinner, it is important to have a chef or culinary professional to help craft the menu and plan the kitchen logistics to prepare the menu on the day of the event. Another type of sponsorship that would be helpful is a caterer. Oftentimes caterers will have liquor permits that can welcome a whole new appeal to the event, if a bartender or mixologist is available. Otherwise, wine and beer are the most frequently served beverages because of permit restrictions for non-catered events. Another type of service that would be helpful is dishware, flatware, linens, tent and event furniture rental, which might otherwise need to be rented or borrowed.
  3. Prize Sponsors: There may be activities that are also added to the itinerary to help bring in additional funds, whether it is a fundraising raffle or a silent auction. More appealing prizes results in bringing in more raffle sales and higher bids for auctions. Take time to understand the audience and find sponsors that can offer prizes that will appeal to them. This may be spa services, event tickets for sporting events or performances, luxury experiences like a high-end dinner, vacation getaways and more.
  4. Monetary Sponsors: Last, but not least, one of the most helpful types of sponsorship is monetary donations. Since hosting these fundraisers often require funds to cover overhead event costs, monetary support can help a great deal. Read more on securing sponsors for your non-profit event.
Fundraising Event Management Software

Once all of the logistics are in place, the forefront element to assuring the farm to table fundraising event goes well is utilizing event management software that can collect ticket sales, provide sales reporting and manage event logistics, such as volunteer and sponsor management.

Learn More about DoJiggy’s fundraising software for non-profit events.

Start Fundraising Now Insurance, Permits and Paperwork

When hosting a special event that draws a large crowd and involves food and beverages (especially alcoholic beverages), it is important that all of the necessary paperwork is in place. Not having the right paperwork can put a damper on your event, whether it forces your event to be canceled or it doesn’t allow for beer and wine to be served. The first type of paperwork to research is whether an event permit is needed. This is more applicable for public spaces, such as a park. The next type of paperwork is researching event insurance. Event insurance minimizes the liability against your non-profit organization, in the case of an accident that results in an injury (and then may lead to a lawsuit). The other permits are food and beverage permits. If alcoholic beverages are served, there is typically a beer and wine permit that must be acquired. With a catering service or restaurant, you may be able to inquire if you can use theirs (this applies to both event insurance and beverage permits).

Recruiting and Delegating Volunteers

Based on your venue and sponsors, some of the tasks needed to successfully run a farm-to-table fundraiser might be able to be delegated to their staff or helpers. See if the venue or sponsor is willing to include wait staff, servers or other helpful services that might otherwise require a volunteer or hired contractor.

Volunteers will certainly be an asset to your organization when planning this type of event. Read more on recruiting volunteers for your non-profit events. Volunteers may be needed to assist with the following tasks:

  1. Registration
  2. Greeters
  3. Parking
  4. Runners (to handle open-ended or emergency needs)
  5. Food preparation and service
  6. Event Set-up & Breakdown
  7. Entertainment
  8. Raffle Sales
  9. Silent Auction Staffing
  10. Clearing tables and clean-up
Maximizing Funds at the Event

When hosting a farm to table fundraiser, also consider additional fundraising strategies and activities that can give an extra boost to your fundraising. Fundraising raffles and silent auctions are always a good idea. Perhaps even an after-party or event such as a charity poker tournament can be included. When adding these types of activities, consider the effort required to find the sponsored prizes to help minimize cost and maximize appeal of these activities.

Last, but not least, have fun and enjoy the amazing experience that comes from eating foods and drinking beverages made with fresh, local ingredients!

The post Hosting Successful Farm-to-Table Fundraisers appeared first on Online Fundraising Today.

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Nonprofits are able to target a diverse audience of volunteers through specific recruitment strategies. Volunteers from a broad base of society bring fresh thoughts and growth to charity organizations. A culture that acts and thinks alike has less room for expansion and creativity. Diverse fundraising teams attract new donors and volunteers.

Recruiting volunteers gives pause for nonprofits to look at who they are targeting. People volunteer for various reasons:

  • Some volunteers wish to give something back to their community and make a difference
  • For others volunteering provides a chance to gain experience or skills in a new area of interest or for a job market
  • Many people enjoy meeting new people or working as part of a team on volunteer projects

5 Strategies to Recruit a Diverse Pool of Volunteers

Volunteerism and Corporate Partnerships

Talented professionals pursue companies who give back to society. Thus many employers actively engage in socially responsible efforts. Partnerships between businesses and charity organizations in volunteerism set the stage. It is as much about fulfillment as it is dollars for businesses and nonprofits. If nonprofits create a flexible environment and means of engagement, they benefit from the talents of corporate employees. A win is found for corporations by keeping their talent on board and providing a chance for enrichment.

Volunteer partnerships between corporations and nonprofits provide opportunities for corporate teams to learn to function well together and build trust. Their interactions during volunteer work are more intimate and heartfelt than in the board room. Corporate employees discover improved self esteem as a result of their positive volunteer experiences. Studies thus show improved conflict management and decision making in employees.

Attracting Young Volunteers

Social media platforms, especially Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube, are a great way to attract young volunteers. A visual presentation appeals to a young audience. Young volunteers of the same age range tend to share their photos and stories on social media platforms. A chance for them to meet new friends by working together is a most appealing and alluring incentive. Recruitment in person also works with this audience in visiting universities and alumni institutions as well as youth groups.

Keep young volunteers around by offering incentives such as internships and writing letters of reference. Managing a full fundraising event from start to finish is great work experience. Put the pressure on them to do well by offering job recommendations and extra credit opportunities. A one year internship looks great on a resume. Work in collaboration with nearby universities and high schools.

How you work with young volunteers is a strong consideration in keeping them around. Consider their age in terms of mindset, attention span and interest in technology. Involve them in decisions and learn from them. Find out what roles are best for young adults by asking and listening to them. Assign team leaders who speak their language.

Open Door to Diversity

Perhaps your nonprofit tends to recruit similar kinds of people as those who are already involved as volunteers. This is great if you are building a particular kind of organizational culture, but can be limiting if you want to bring some diversity into your volunteer programs.

Streamlining your recruitment process can make it easier for volunteers from diverse backgrounds to get involved. Consider reducing the amount of forms and paperwork, or include this in the interview process where you can assist the volunteer to fill them out when needed. This may open the door to volunteers of varying levels of education and language background.

Partnerships with Employment Agencies

Create partnerships with local employment agencies and unemployment offices. Job seekers can find training through volunteering by running special events, outreach to donors and recruiting other volunteers. New connections are made with regard to potential employers and networking with other professionals.

Job seekers are able to step into doorways of companies who have a strong culture of social responsibility with volunteer experience. Volunteers stand out in the job market due to the commitment they’ve shown to giving back. Volunteering found on resumes is a topic of conversation in interviews. Unemployed folks using their time to gain new skills and help nonprofits shows real initiative and proactive thinking.

Virtual Volunteering

Bring diversity in volunteerism to your nonprofit by reaching a global audience through virtual volunteering. Virtual volunteers work by phone or online to help nonprofits with online marketing and non-profit SEO strategies, IT, research projects and more. Virtual volunteering allows employees, in partnership with nonprofits, to work on projects without scheduling confines. Add a section on virtual volunteering to your nonprofit website defining your needs. Make it easy for global volunteers to connect with your organization.

More Volunteer Recruitment Advertising Strategies

If your non-profit is looking for new volunteers, here are some advertising strategies to get you started:

  • Host a volunteer day with festivities, food and program information booths. While fundraising events (such as walkathon fundraisers) can bring new volunteers to nonprofits, a day set aside to meet potential volunteers is more focused.
  • Ask community leaders to promote volunteer opportunities and the benefits. Teachers at universities may share inspiration to students, parents and other teachers. Doctors and lawyers may wish to keep your marketing materials in their lobby as a way to help you recruit more volunteers. Community leaders may wish to be a part of a lecture series on volunteering held at your nonprofit.
  • Contact your local TV and radio stations with interesting stories about a volunteer or your nonprofit projects. Host a call-in to promote your organization and the richness of volunteering. Place short radio and TV ads on the benefits of volunteering and being involved your nonprofit in particular.
  • Post stories and photos of volunteers on your nonprofit website homepage. Add a volunteer section to your website. Elaborate on the benefits of volunteering for your nonprofit. Post a volunteer sign-up link to your fundraising websites and organization website.
  • Host fundraising events that can be managed by volunteers. Give them opportunities to feel a sense of accomplishment and a desire to manage the next event. Charity galas, golf tournaments and peer-to-peer fundraising events hold many roles for volunteers.
  • Advertise in your newsletter, and community, business and school newsletters. Find opportunities to advertise in newsletters with libraries, job programs, vocational training centers and any relevant places to find volunteers. And as always, think outside of the box.
  • Place a volunteer recruitment ad in local newspapers. Add openings for volunteers and internships in the jobs section. Create an opportunity for publications to offer their ad space free and grow their business through social consciousness.
  • Hold information sessions at community centers and at your nonprofit. Brief sessions allow your nonprofit to cover more ground and find volunteers in places you may not expect.
  • Create fliers, posters and postcards and distribute them in key places around your community. High-school students are good volunteers for helping you with distribution. Offer them an opportunity to work with college students and your staff in learning how to create marketing materials.

Opportunities and benefits for both volunteers and nonprofits are vast in the arena of volunteerism. Consider how to recruit new energy and faces and listen to your current volunteers. Crowdfunding for nonprofits alone funnels a steady stream of new and diverse volunteers to the scene. Strategies that reach a cross-section of society create the strongest base and generate creativity and diversity of thought.

The post Winning Volunteer Recruitment Strategies for Non-profits appeared first on Online Fundraising Today.

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Charity organizations recognize more with each day the fundraising impact inclusion of video has. Creating video is not only much more prevalent, but easier and less expensive at present. Animated nonprofit video creation tools such as 30 Seconds or Facebook Live are trending now.

Best Nonprofit Video Fundraising Strategies Animated Videos

Video animations takes away the limitations of what real people and real life communications convey. Use of graphics in a video with fun, animated characters allow you to do much more. Sharing charts, graphs and photos in motion are effective in teaching concepts.

Explaining your nonprofit programs details and objectives through animated videos help topics come to life through visualization and voice. You may wish to explain to your donors the specifics regarding operating costs and the support you need. Or you may need to explain how your website donations page works and go through step by step how to make a donation. Animation is clearer than text and is a more personal touch.

Animated video such as 30Seconds is a popular nonprofit video source because:

  • They offer 2 styles of videos, as you see there on their home page
  • They are super cheap – nonprofits really like this
  • The process is very easy:
  1. pick your style
  2. answer a questionnaire
  3. approve the script

Video Planning

In the past, nonprofit video fundraising was thought to be successful through casting stars, great sound and an expert video producer. Yet new evidence shows these attributes to be far less important in nonprofit fundraising. It is about understanding who your audience is, how you wish to affect them, and offering a clear call to action. Brief, entertaining video that is low cost is drawing more donors to charity organizations.

Video Writing and Scripting

Your nonprofit video will be as good as the writing and content are. Allow for sufficient time for your nonprofit staff to write, and discuss the content. Spend time tossing out ideas and next agree on the message you wish to convey in your nonprofit video. Come to a consensus on the video content and writing and realize this is the most important aspect.

Video Creation and Production

Competition for getting your video noticed is very high. Think of the number of videos you watch in a day. Yours must be compete. If folks like your video on social medial channels, they are more likely to visit your nonprofit website and donate to your cause.

Entertaining videos that are also informative is one good direction for nonprofit videos. This works especially well for animated videos. Your producer or video production partner such as 30Seconds will guide you in the simple steps of putting it together.

Your video production partner should provide a questionnaire to help your group prioritize ideas. For nonprofits and nonprofit video producers alike, keeping your project on time and on budget is easy when proper time has been put into the initial stages. Animated video templates make the process easy.

Video Clear Call-to-Action

Your goal is to drive traffic to your donate now button and educate people about your cause through your nonprofit video. The end of your video gives a clear call to action with the web link to your donation page. Throughout your video you’ll add web links to your projects and mission statement. Be bold and tell your view what you would like them to do. Suggest a donation amount. Offer the benefits and rewards of becoming a donor.

Your Video on Youtube

A great way to get your video seen is on YouTube. Here are some tips:

  • Add your video to your YouTube page.  Feature your most current video on the front page.
  • Add your own thumbnail. Do a little research on thumbnails by looking at what is available on YouTube. Chose one that is fitting for your nonprofit and draws your audience in particular.
  • Choose a short title. You don’t need a title that holds a description. Choose a brief title that draws your nonprofit audience.
  • Use Youtube keywords. Think broadly as to what your followers may search for – they may not be searching for a video. Apply the same science of SEO when using Youtube nonprofit videos.
  • Add a video description. Entertaining your audience begins with your nonprofit video description. Your objective is get people to click on the video link.
  • Use Youtube nonprofit annotations. Get a jump on your competition by using annotations specifically for Youtube nonprofit users.
  • Change your video posts. Attract more viewers to your video by changing the title during the first month of posting it. Post it often to social media platforms.
Nonprofit Video and Donor Retention

Make some personal thank-you videos for new donors using your mobile phone. Thank a donor who has helped you reach a goal or has given extra this year. Create a short video to say thanks for the time a specific donor has given your nonprofit.

Thanking your donors through videos shouldn’t be reserved for your year-end giving campaign. Acknowledging their contributions and donations through thank you videos year-round.  A short video of thanks engages donors and thanks them on social media. Potential donors see this and are attracted to your charity organization.

Consider having the thank you come from those who are helped donations. There are many forms of delivery in thanking donors through short nonprofit video. They will enjoy being thanks by program leaders, CEOs, staff they have worked alongside on projects and programs, and direct recipients of their donations.

Video and your nonprofit website

Embedding links to all videos you create are your website is a great draw for donors. Homepages and pages throughout nonprofit websites containing video offer people a fast way to know what you offer and how they can get involved. Team videos during a crowdfunding event present the live excitement of your fundraising. Volunteers speaking on video of their work and the benefits of volunteering will draw more volunteers and donors.

Choose fundraising websites and nonprofit websites that make it easy to add videos. State of the art platforms present them with precision and clarity and ensure they’ll play well for donors. Test drive nonprofit websites and fundraising websites to make sure your videos will be of the highest standards.

Fundraising Events and Animated Video

Nonprofit crowdfunding events offer ample opportunities to get videos seen and draw donors to your cause. Consider a few different videos during your fundraising campaign. Use an animated video to explain what crowdfunding is and how to donate to your website. Explain where your event is and what your needs are along the lines of volunteer recruitment.  Create animated videos to let potential walkathon participants and donors know what your specific financial needs are for a new library or science lab.

In summary, the current trend is animated video and short videos for nonprofit video fundraising. Longer and more expensive videos are still great. Yet the attention spans of potential donors clicking through websites, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other digital platforms are brief. Statistics are certainly showing the importance of creating nonprofit videos and getting them seen.

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Food lovers have been relishing in the latest trend of farm to table dining. Farm-to table is as clean and straightforward as the concept cooks themselves use, of creating fresh meals using ingredients and resources from local farms. Ingredients are healthier, as they are not processed and contain fewer additives than most foods purchased at the grocery store. Many times, the fruits, vegetables and meats are also grown organically, making them healthier for the environment as well as the diners. When fresh, local ingredients are coupled with the skilled craftsmanship of a chef, patrons enjoy the dining experience because of fresher and cleaner flavors. With the rising popularity of this dining concept, it is only so natural to bring farm to table event ideas to the fundraising table.

Farm to Table Fundraising Concepts

There are several ways to implement a farm to table fundraising event. Below we detail two of the most popular options –  to either serve a dinner with several courses, or to give guests more autonomy in their experience with a tasting event or food festival.

Farm-to-Table Dinner Fundraisers

A major benefit of a farm to table dinner fundraiser is that it is an ideal setting for a higher-cost ticket. Several course meals are typically associated with a higher-end dining experience, so ticket prices can be higher. The other consideration when choosing this style of event is that diners will expect more focus on hospitality and service. Whether you enlist volunteer servers, hire a company or use servers provided by one of your event sponsors, a memorable dining experience includes good service.

Farm-to-Table Tasting Events

The other approach to a farm to table fundraiser is to offer a food fair or tasting event. The benefit of this concept is that attendees enjoy the event with more autonomy to walk around and taste the foods and drinks that they prefer to taste. This format works great for beer and wine tastings as well.

This can allow for a more relaxed environment, as tasting events tend to draw a larger crowd since tickets are typically cheaper for tasting events and food festivals. The consideration when hosting a farm to table tasting event is that there is more heavy emphasis on sponsorship and vendor outreach. The number of participating vendors and sponsors often dictates the ticket price (or vice versa), as well as the food and drink supply available for all the attendees, so there may be pressure to acquire a certain number of sponsors.

Planning Fundraising Goal and Budget

Before planning any logistics behind the farm-to-table fundraiser, it all begins with planning the event budget. Begin the budget planning with the proceeds goal (amount that goes towards your organization or cause) that the event should raise. Then itemize all of the costs that would be incurred to host the event to understand the gross amount that needs to be raised (the total to cover both proceeds and costs). From here, perform an analysis of which price point and target number of attendees are needed to meet your fundraising goal. Then decide on which scenario is the best fit for your non-profit organization, based on available resources, effort and time your team can dedicate to the event execution.

Finding the Venue

The venue is certainly part of the fun in hosting a farm-to-table fundraising event. If there is a farm that participates as a vendor for farm-to-table restaurants, consider inquiring if they have space to host a dinner or tasting event. This may be an outdoor space that requires tents or a barn that they rent out for special events. Alternatively, consider inquiring a restaurant that focuses on farm-to-table dining or an establishment that focuses on locally crafted drinks to block off an afternoon or evening to host the event. This venue type can greatly minimize costs and effort to organize, in relation to needing volunteers to serve or tend to attendees. If these spaces are not available, consider researching venues that can best accommodate the format of one of the farm-to-table event ideas, whether it is a park, a gallery, a general event space or otherwise.

Finding Fundraising Event Sponsors

As with all fundraising events, sponsors can greatly decrease the cost of hosting the farm to table event, allowing for more of the funds to go towards your charitable cause or effort.

  1. Food and Beverage Sponsors: Since the farm-to-table fundraiser has a main focus on dining and drinking (of all types of beverages), it would greatly help towards decreasing the cost to seek food and beverage sponsors. Many farms, local stores and restaurants will be interested in the recognition they receive from donating their wares for your event, It may be towards the ingredients of preparing a dinner or prepared foods and drinks to serve bite-sized or tasting portions to attendees.
  2. Service-Oriented Sponsors: If the farm-to-table fundraiser is a dinner, it is important to have a chef or culinary professional to help craft the menu and plan the kitchen logistics to prepare the menu on the day of the event. Another type of sponsorship that would be helpful is a caterer. Oftentimes caterers will have liquor permits that can welcome a whole new appeal to the event, if a bartender or mixologist is available. Otherwise, wine and beer are the most frequently served beverages because of permit restrictions for non-catered events. Another type of service that would be helpful is dishware, flatware, linens, tent and event furniture rental, which might otherwise need to be rented or borrowed.
  3. Prize Sponsors: There may be activities that are also added to the itinerary to help bring in additional funds, whether it is a fundraising raffle or a silent auction. More appealing prizes results in bringing in more raffle sales and higher bids for auctions. Take time to understand the audience and find sponsors that can offer prizes that will appeal to them. This may be spa services, event tickets for sporting events or performances, luxury experiences like a high-end dinner, vacation getaways and more.
  4. Monetary Sponsors: Last, but not least, one of the most helpful types of sponsorship is monetary donations. Since hosting these fundraisers often require funds to cover overhead event costs, monetary support can help a great deal. Read more on securing sponsors for your non-profit event.
Fundraising Event Management Software

Once all of the logistics are in place, the forefront element to assuring the event goes well is utilizing event management software that can collect ticket sales, provide sales reporting and manage event logistics, such as volunteer and sponsor management.

Learn More about DoJiggy’s fundraising software for non-profit events.

Start Fundraising Now Insurance, Permits and Paperwork

When hosting a special event that draws a large crowd and involves food and beverages, it is important that all of the necessary paperwork is in place. Not having the right paperwork can put a damper on your event, whether it forces your event to be canceled or it doesn’t allow for beer and wine to be served. The first type of paperwork to research is whether an event permit is needed. This is more applicable for public spaces, such as a park. The next type of paperwork is researching event insurance. Event insurance minimizes the liability against your non-profit organization, in the case of an accident that results in an injury (and then may lead to a lawsuit). The other paperwork are food and beverage permits. If alcoholic beverages are served, there is typically a beer and wine permit that must be acquired. With a catering service or restaurant, you may be able to inquire if you can use theirs (this applies to both event insurance and beverage permits).

Delegating Volunteers

Based on your venue and sponsors, some of the tasks needed to successfully run a farm-to-table dinner or tasting event might be able to be delegated to their staff or helpers. See if the venue or sponsor is willing to include wait staff, servers or other helpful services that might otherwise require a volunteer or hired contractor.

Volunteers may be needed to assist with the following tasks, besides actual food preparation and service:

  1. Registration
  2. Greeters
  3. Parking
  4. Runners (to handle open-ended or emergency needs)
  5. Event Set-up & Breakdown
  6. Entertainment
  7. Raffle Sales
  8. Silent Auction Staffing
  9. Clearing tables and clean-up
Maximizing Funds

When hosting the farm to table fundraiser, also consider additional fundraising strategies and activities that give an extra boost to the fundraising, such as fundraising raffles and silent auctions. Perhaps even an after-party or event such as a charity poker tournament can be included. When adding these types of activities, consider the effort required to find the sponsored prizes to help minimize cost and maximize appeal of these activities.

Last, but not least, have fun and enjoy the amazing experience that comes from eating foods and drinking beverages made with local ingredients.

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Nonprofits are able to target a diverse audience of volunteers through specific recruitment strategies. Volunteers from a broad base of society bring fresh thoughts and growth to charity organizations. A culture that acts and thinks alike has less room for expansion and creativity. Diverse fundraising teams attract new donors and volunteers.

Recruiting volunteers gives pause for nonprofits to look at who they are targeting. People volunteer for various reasons:

  • Some volunteers wish to give something back to their community and make a difference
  • For others volunteering provides a chance to gain experience or skills in a new area of interest or for a job market
  • Many people enjoy meeting new people or working as part of a team on volunteer projects

5 Strategies to Recruit a Diverse Pool of Volunteers

Volunteerism and Corporate Partnerships

Talented professionals pursue companies who give back to society.  Thus many employers actively engage in socially responsible efforts. Partnerships between businesses and charity organizations in volunteerism set the stage. It is as much about fulfillment as it is dollars for businesses and nonprofits. If nonprofits create a flexible environment and means of engagement, they benefit from the talents of corporate employees. A win is found for corporations by keeping their talent on board and providing a chance for enrichment.

Volunteer partnerships between corporations and nonprofits provide opportunities for corporate teams to learn to function well together and build trust.  Their interactions during volunteer work are more intimate and heartfelt than in the board room. Corporate employees discover improved self esteem as a result of their positive volunteer experiences. Studies thus show improved conflict management and decision making in employees.

Attracting Young Volunteers

Social media platforms, especially Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube, are a great way to attract young volunteers. A visual presentation appeals to a young audience. Young volunteers of the same age range tend to share their photos and stories on social media platforms. A chance for them to meet new friends by working together is a most appealing and alluring incentive. Recruitment in person also works with this audience in visiting universities and alumni institutions as well as youth groups.

Keep young volunteers around by offering incentives such as internships and writing letters of reference. Managing a full fundraising event from start to finish is great work experience. Put the pressure on them to do well by offering job recommendations and extra credit opportunities. A one year internship looks great on a resume. Work in collaboration with nearby universities and high schools.

How you work with young volunteers is a strong consideration in keeping them around. Consider their age in terms of mindset, attention span and interest in technology. Involve them in decisions and learn from them. Find out what roles are best for young adults by asking and listening to them. Assign team leaders who speak their language.

Open Door to Diversity

Perhaps your nonprofit tends to recruit similar kinds of people as those who are already involved as volunteers. This is great if you are building a particular kind of organizational culture, but can be limiting if you want to bring some diversity into your volunteer programs.

Streamlining your recruitment process can make it easier for volunteers from diverse backgrounds to get involved. Consider reducing the amount of forms and paperwork, or include this in the interview process where you can assist the volunteer to fill them out when needed.  This may open the door to volunteers of varying levels of education and language background.

Partnerships with Employment Agencies

Create partnerships with local employment agencies and unemployment offices. Job seekers can find training through volunteering by running special events, outreach to donors and recruiting other volunteers. New connections are made with regard to potential employers and networking with other professionals.

Job seekers are able to step into doorways of companies who have a strong culture of social responsibility with volunteer experience. Volunteers stand out in the job market due to the commitment they’ve shown to giving back. Volunteering found on resumes is a topic of conversation in interviews. Unemployed folks using their time to gain new skills and help nonprofits shows real initiative and proactive thinking.

Virtual Volunteering

Bring diversity in volunteerism to your nonprofit by reaching a global audience through virtual volunteering. Virtual volunteers work by phone or online to help nonprofits with online marketing and non-profit SEO strategies, IT, research projects and more. Virtual volunteering allows employees, in partnership with nonprofits, to work on projects without scheduling confines. Add a section on virtual volunteering to your nonprofit website defining your needs. Make it easy for global volunteers to connect with your organization.

More Volunteer Recruitment Advertising Strategies

If your non-profit is looking for new volunteers, here are some advertising strategies to get you started:

  • Host a volunteer day with festivities, food and program information booths. While fundraising events (such as walkathon fundraisers) can bring new volunteers to nonprofits, a day set aside to meet potential volunteers is more focused.
  • Ask community leaders to promote volunteer opportunities and the benefits. Teachers at universities may share inspiration to students, parents and other teachers. Doctors and lawyers may wish to keep your marketing materials in their lobby as a way to help you recruit more volunteers. Community leaders may wish to be a part of a lecture series on volunteering held at your nonprofit.
  • Contact your local TV and radio stations with interesting stories about a volunteer or your nonprofit projects. Host a call-in to promote your organization and the richness of volunteering. Place short radio and TV ads on the benefits of volunteering and being involved your nonprofit in particular.
  • Post stories and photos of volunteers on your nonprofit website homepage. Add a volunteer section to your website. Elaborate on the benefits of volunteering for your nonprofit. Post a volunteer sign-up link to your fundraising websites and organization website.
  • Host fundraising events that can be managed by volunteers. Give them opportunities to feel a sense of accomplishment and a desire to manage the next event. Charity galas, golf tournaments and peer-to-peer fundraising events hold many roles for volunteers.
  • Advertise in your newsletter, and community, business and school newsletters. Find opportunities to advertise in newsletters with libraries, job programs, vocational training centers and any relevant places to find volunteers. And as always, think outside of the box.
  • Place a volunteer recruitment ad in local newspapers. Add openings for volunteers and internships in the jobs section. Create an opportunity for publications to offer their ad space free and grow their business through social consciousness.
  • Hold information sessions at community centers and at your nonprofit. Brief sessions allow your nonprofit to cover more ground and find volunteers in places you may not expect.
  • Create fliers, posters and postcards and distribute them in key places around your community. High-school students are good volunteers for helping you with distribution. Offer them an opportunity to work with college students and your staff in learning how to create marketing materials.

Opportunities and benefits for both volunteers and nonprofits are vast in the arena of volunteerism. Consider how to recruit new energy and faces and listen to your current volunteers. Crowdfunding for nonprofits alone funnels a steady stream of new and diverse volunteers to the scene.  Strategies that reach a cross-section of society create the strongest base and generate creativity and diversity of thought.

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A charity poker tournament or Casino Night can be a great and glamorous way to achieve your non-profit organization’s fundraising goals. The benefits of hosting a poker tournament are many – donors will look forward to the event and you will likely have the opportunity to introduce new supporters (who love playing poker) to your organization. This leaves plenty of room to achieve your fundraising goals with tournament ticket sales, rebuys (which are additional poker chips available for purchase, either to buy back into the game or to add to a pile of chips), fundraising raffles and other activities. We’re here to walk you through how to run a poker tournament fundraiser and raise the fundraising stakes for your organization.

1. Research the Costs of a Charity Poker Tournament

As with many fundraising events, planning begins with how much you want to raise from your poker tournament. Poker tournaments can be lucrative events, if well-organized and well-promoted. For a smaller event with lower ticket prices, organizations can raise $5,000-$8,000. For larger tournaments with higher ticket prices, you can raise upwards of $25,000. Plan with your committee what you’re looking to raise and how many attendees you project for your event. Before deciding the gross fundraising goal, understand the costs that are associated with a poker tournament:

  • Venue
  • Poker Table and Accessories Rentals/Tournament Staff (Dealer, Pit Manager/Tournament Director)
  • Hors d’oeuvres and Beverages
  • Fundraising Software
  • Other Marketing Costs

Shop around for the best pricing for the service and quality that best fit your needs. With projected costs and a fundraising event budget, it is easier to understand how to determine ticket pricing and attendees needed to reach fundraising goals.

2. Plan Your Fundraising Goal

Once you research the tentative costs, the following projections should be determined:

  • What is the gross fundraising goal (how much to cover your fundraising goal and your costs, before any deductions are taken out)?
  • What are some potential projections of how many tickets are needed to be sold at a certain price point? For example, how many seats would you need to sell at $50 per person? At $75 per person? At $100 per person?

When deciding the price point, consider that rebuys and add-ons can contribute around 30% of your fundraising amount. Consider this when projecting how many tickets need to be sold.

3. Discuss Poker Tournament Format and Additional Revenue Channels

The most popular format for charity poker tournaments is Texas Hold Em’.

You will need to have at least one poker expert on your planning committee that assists with format choices and all rules. The tournament director dictates how quickly the blinds (minimum bet of the game) rise throughout the duration of the game. Throughout the tournament, as more players are eliminated, the tables are combined until a final table is left. The final remaining three to five winners will have a choice of winning an appealing, high-priced prize.

Keep in mind that charitable gaming is legal on a state-by-state case basis. Often prizes cannot be actual cash tender, but need to be a non-monetary prizes. Of course, perform due diligence to find out your local and state laws on gaming and charity poker tournaments before planning. This information can be found in the office of the state attorney general.

A given additional stream of fundraising comes from the rebuys and add-ons. Another option is to utilize the poker tables that have been eliminated to run smaller and quicker poker games for smaller prizes. Other forms of fundraising can come from side games, which are other card or casino games such as roulette or blackjack. Casino Night fundraisers offer tables with all of these games to choose from.

Non-gambling related options include selling raffle tickets for a chance to win appealing prizes or hosting a silent auction. In addition, a charity poker tournament could be held in conjunction with a fundraising golf tournament, gala or other special event.

4. Plan Promotional and Graphic Collateral

Once the venue, date and time have been determined, it’s time to plan the marketing and promotional collateral. Poker tournaments typically exude a concept of “a fun and classy night out.” The collateral should express the same concept. There are inexpensive flyer and collateral templates available online if your non-profit organization doesn’t have anyone with graphic design experience. The collateral may include the following:

  • Poker tournament event invitation
  • Flyers
  • Website Banners and logos
  • Printed items for the event (signage, tickets, step-and-repeat banners, sponsor signs)

The physical or digital flyer and invitation should include the following information:

  • Date and time of the tournament
  • Location
  • Poker tournament format (Texas Holdem’, 7-Card Stud)
  • Attire requirements, if any
  • Pricing of Buy-in and Rebuys
  • Promotion of desirable prizes
  • Sponsors
  • Mission of your organization or charitable cause
  • How the money raised will be used
5. Build a Fundraising Event Website

DoJiggy event management software allows organizations to easily manage the entire life cycle of fundraising poker tournaments, including event promotion and marketing, sponsor and sponsorship management, secure online event registration, donations, detailed financial reporting, and day-of-event operations. The following are just a few features of our software:

  • Online ticket sales with the ability to create custom ticket packages (think VIP)
  • Sponsor registration and promotion
  • Real-time financial reporting
  • Volunteer management
  • Brand customization for your organization and event
  • Easy-to-use interface
  • Secure credit card processing

Consider our low fees and we think you’ll agree that DoJiggy is the best fit for charity poker tournament management.

Start Fundraising Now 6. Initiate Sponsor Outreach

The poker tournament will only be as appealing as the prizes, so in-kind sponsorship procurement is one of the pivotal steps in organizing a charity poker tournament. Sponsorship support is also important because, in a charity fundraising game, cash tender prizes are not typically allowed by state regulations and laws (the specific legalities of your state should be researched).

Typically, there should be sponsorship outreach to procure prizes for the following: the top winners of the main poker tournament, side games prizes, raffles and/or silent auction items. The retail value of the tournament prizes should also be considered, especially in comparison to the buy-in price. Here are some great prizes to consider:

  • Restaurant gift certificates for high-end restaurants
  • A seat to the World Series of Poker ($10,000 ticket value)
  • A ticket/suite admission package to sports games
  • A week-long or week-end vacation or retreat package

Always start with your connections. Consider casting your net out to your poker planning committee to see if there are employers or business owners here. For cold outreach, delegate the team accordingly so that outreach for both corporate sponsorship and local business sponsorships are performed.

7. Begin Event Promotion and Ticket Sales

Once all the details are in place with the venue, time and place and top prizes, it’s ready to share the news with the world. Here are some places to garner ticket sales:

  • Existing Supporters
  • Past Sponsors
  • Local Businesses
  • Local News Outlets/Event Calendars
  • Meetups
  • Past Collaborators

Keep in mind to consider the most effective approach to soliciting ticket sales by what type of relationship is present. Existing supports, past sponsors and local businesses are best approached in a face-to-face manner or with a warm phone call. Local news outlets and Meetups may be best with an e-mail sent to the main contacts. And as with many ticket sales, the magic behind the sold ticket is consistent follow-up. Send everyone to your event website for easy registration.

8. Prepare Volunteers for Tasks and Vendor/Venue Check-In

As the date of the charity poker tournament approaches, it is vital that the event has an all-star team on deck. That means that there is a lead volunteer or event coordinator that knows the agenda and the tasks involved throughout the night. Once these tasks are planned, finding volunteers to make sure that everything is handled is essential to event execution. Here are some volunteer and/or vendor roles to consider filling:

  • Registration
  • Greeter
  • Event Set-up and Breakdown
  • Master of Ceremony/MC
  • Prize Presenter
  • Coat Check
  • Photographer/Videographer
  • Raffle Sales
  • Food and Beverage Servers (hors d’oeuvres should be provided as part of the ticket price)
  • Runner/Back-up Volunteer

Approximately 1-2 weeks prior to the event, hold a meeting at the tournament venue. Vendors and volunteers should all attend, to assure that everyone is on the same page with the event agenda and their assigned tasks. Also, if there is any use of audio/visual equipment at the venue, perform a technical rehearsal to assure microphones work as expected and videos or slideshows play accordingly. This is also a great time to work and rehearse with the MC (master of ceremony) on the flow of the event.

9. Host the Event

Be sure to run through all the materials that should be brought by your organization the night before the tourney. Prior to arriving at the venue, have plenty of cash on hand to handle change for rebuys and raffles. Also, it’s best to arrive at the venue several hours early to work with the poker table rental company to set-up the tables in a way that works for the venue layout. Run through the tasks one final time with the volunteers before doors open, offer a venue tour as needed (to know bathroom locations and other information) and assign them to their locations. From here, enjoy the evening as the games begin!

10. Wrap Up with Numbers and Thank-Yous

Host a meeting with your tournament committee within a week of the tournament to discuss the successes and failures of the charity poker event. What can be done differently in the future? Keep a file with this information for next year’s committee. Another agenda point is to review the feedback received during the event to see where there could be room for improvement, as a tournament and for future events. Turning a charity poker tournament into a successful annual event is contingent on how much fun your supporters have during the tournament.

The amount of funds raised will also determine if a poker tournament should be a comeback occasion. Work with your treasurer or committee to review how much money was raised from the event, after all of your final expenses are figured.

Don’t forget to send off hand-written thank-yous to your sponsors and attendees and let them know what impact they’ve had as a supporter of your organization or charitable cause. This is an important step that is not to be skipped! And that’s how to run a successful poker tournament fundraiser in 10 steps.

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