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What Are the Best Tips for Starting a Fundraiser?

By Susan Abe
Updated May 17, 2024
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A fundraiser is a term used to describe an event — social, sale or business-related — designed to raise money for a specified cause. Fundraisers may be established and run for charitable efforts or for the goal of an eventual profit — i.e., to establish the capital necessary to start a new company. The campaign for the fundraiser's cause may be targeted to thousands of benefactors, each giving small amounts, or to less than five major donors. Finally, a fundraiser may be a one-time effort, an annual event or a daily effort in some cases. The best tips for starting a fundraiser may depend, in part, upon some or all of these variables.

All expert sources on fundraising cite the necessity of adequate planning as part of starting a fundraiser. The purpose of the planned fundraiser, the population to be targeted and the length, or cycle, of the event should be established in writing. Prior to beginning solicitations, the ultimate fundraising goal amount should be clearly established, as should the amounts of any necessary expenses or materials.

When starting a fundraiser in the US in which charitable donations will be solicited, it is strongly recommended that a legal entity be established, if necessary, to allow donations to be tax-deductible. This guarantee is said to be particularly attractive to individuals or companies who contribute larger amounts of money. For fundraiser events or donors located outside the US, organizers should research nationally applicable tax laws to determine whether donations are tax-deductible.

Starting a fundraiser is also an exercise in motivation and encouragement whatever the type of fundraiser planned. The solicitation of charitable donations necessarily involves educating prospective donors about the benefits their gifts will provide for the causes targeted by the fundraiser. When organizers are starting a fundraiser for a school or an athletic team, donations generally increase when concrete examples of the benefits to the organization are cited, such as new uniforms or a special trip. Organizing a fundraiser for a business start-up also involves these issues. The investors targeted must be convinced of the business's viability and profitability, as well as the abilities of the entrepreneurs.

Teamwork is another essential aspect of starting a fundraiser. It is particularly important to establish a committee to assist with the many duties and details involved in a charitable or social fundraising event, as organizers may not feel personally invested or responsible until such assignments are tendered. Scheduled events and important timelines need to be freely communicated with all involved, particularly when children are involved in sales of items for school or team-related projects.

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