How to Create a Successful Community Fundraising Strategy

Fundraising is the lifeblood of many nonprofit organisations. A regular stream of donations can make charitable work sustainable and ensure your organisation is effective in its mission. Community fundraising (link to Complete Guide to Community Fundraising) involves raising donations within your surrounding community using both online and offline initiatives. It can be a successful way to establish an income and to build awareness and lasting relationships.

However, fundraising can be complex and it can have a lot of moving parts. From picking fundraising events and organising them to promoting events and evaluating them, there’s a lot to consider. But we can help you with that. Here we outline how to develop your community fundraising strategy, from identifying your target audiences to choosing your fundraising events.

Set Fundraising Goals

The first step of your fundraising strategy is to set your goals. Fundraising goals are typically a target amount of money to be raised, but could also include raising awareness, reaching a certain number of people, or securing the support of particular groups or organisations.

Goals will provide a clear objective for everyone involved to work towards. Your goals should be specific and measurable, to ensure you can judge the effectiveness of your plan. 

Identify your Target Audiences

As with any promotional activity, to be effective, fundraising needs to be targeted towards specific audiences. By defining and understanding your audiences, you can make sure you put on events that will appeal to them. You can also promote them in engaging ways, and in places where your target audience can be found, whether online or offline.

You may have more than one target audience, such as community parents, local businesses, other organisations and online influencers. You should tailor communications and activities to each of these individually for the best chance of success. 

Communicating with your Target Audiences

By defining and understanding your target audiences, you can adopt methods of communication that they use and create appealing messaging to reach them effectively. Social media can be particularly impactful, allowing you to reach audiences globally, often with a relatively modest investment.

Tailor your messages to your audiences and try to craft compelling stories that set out the issues you’re addressing. Clearly communicate the impact donations will have and why your supporters’ contributions are vital. Research how other organisations communicate with success and experiment to find out which methods and styles of communication work best for your nonprofit.

Establishing your Fundraising Methods

You’ll need to decide on a suite of fundraising methods and events that will be relevant to your target audiences. Also consider what you can achieve with the resources and budget you have. Remember, all of your fundraising methods should be geared towards achieving your overarching fundraising goal or goals.  

You can use a mix of online and offline activities, including:

  • Fairs and fetes
  • Sponsored walks and runs
  • Jumble sales
  • Bake sales
  • Concerts and festivals
  • Charitable auctions
  • Community sports events
  • Community service projects, like neighbourhood cleanups, tree planting initiatives or food drives
  • Business partnerships
  • Online crowdfunding (link to Ultimate Guide to Crowdfunding) 
  • Fundraising via social media
  • Social media challenges
  • Digital product and merchandising sales

Creating a Fundraising Timeline

A fundraising timeline (link to Building a Fundraising Timeline guide) provides a structured roadmap for planning, executing, and evaluating your fundraising efforts that can be shared throughout your organisation to inform and secure support. A timeline ensures fundraising activities are organised and implemented in a timely manner. You can track progress, measure results and make informed adjustments along the way. 

You’ll find a selection of fundraising templates you can download offline that can be modified to suit your organisation’s needs.

Assembling your Fundraising Team

Securing the right internal support is critical for fundraising success. Establishing a dedicated fundraising team (link to Fundraising Team guide) to help plan and execute your organisation’s fundraising activities can help ensure your events and campaigns are effective and that your nonprofit meets its fundraising goals.

Identify areas of expertise amongst individuals in your organisation, such as previous experience of organising events or social media use, and invite people to contribute their skills. Divide up areas of clear responsibility and delegate them to team members to make sure there’s no overlap of tasks. 

Evaluating and Adapting your Strategy

You should monitor and analyse the effectiveness of your fundraising efforts to understand what activities are the most impactful and how you can adapt your fundraising plan to make the most of your available resources. 

Depending upon the fundraising activities you conduct, you’ll have a range of different metrics available to you to judge the success of your endeavours. The simplest, and usually the most important metric, is the total amount of money raised, but you can also track measures like engagement levels, donations per donor and retention rates. 

Social media and digital fundraising can offer you a whole host of metrics, from follower counts to impressions, and from conversion rates to audience demographics. These measures can be essential to improving the effectiveness of online activities, but they can be a little overwhelming at first. To help you understand these online metrics, you’ll find plenty of straightforward guides online with examples of how they can be used.

Success in Community Fundraising

Creating a successful community fundraising strategy will take time, effort and ongoing dedication. By setting goals, understanding your audience and communicating effectively with them you build the foundations for successful fundraising. Your fundraising strategy will require a timeline and a dedicated team to execute it. And you’ll need to monitor and adapt your fundraising activities based on insight, so you can increase your chances of achieving your objectives. 

With effective community fundraising, you can raise the donations your nonprofit needs to operate. You can raise awareness of your organisation and the causes you’re addressing, and build lasting community relationships. 

We’re passionate about fundraising for charitable causes at easyfundraising. Find out more about how we can help your organisation, including how we can help raise funds for you via our unique online platform.