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Fundraising in the Community

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 19 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Community Fundraising Accountant

It doesn’t matter what kind of events you’re putting on in the community or what services your organization is offering to people in the area, you need money to do it. That means fundraising, one of the ongoing jobs of any community organization that can be a curse or a blessing.

It has to be done regularly to keep the group afloat and working. Of course, any association will have people who are talented at raising money, and they’re vital to keeping you going. But it’s something that ultimately involves everyone in the group.

Raising Money

Since you need a constant flow of funds, you need a schedule for fundraising events. Twice a year or possibly quarterly is about right every six months to rise funds for the group alternating with raising money for special causes) – any more than that and people will be weary of reaching in their pockets to help.

It’s a process that requires a great deal of imagination. You can’t have endless jumble sales or bake sales – or anything, really – and expect people to be enthusiastic and generous. Life simply doesn’t work that way. You need to come up with new ideas, preferably things the area hasn’t seen before, in order to generate funds.

Obviously, the Internet can be an excellent source of inspiration and learning what others have done. In America they come up with plenty of innovative ideas you can use, and try in your own community. Some will work better than others; if there’s one that’s especially successful, you can make it an annual event, at least for a while (remember, all ideas tend to wear out their welcome eventually).

Fundraising Secrets

Truthfully, there are no real secrets – just a lot of hard work by volunteers. But some tried and tested ideas can bring in money:

  • Have volunteers pack groceries at a local supermarket in exchange for donations.
  • Wrap Christmas presents for donations.
  • Give Smarties tubes to people and ask them to fill them with 20p coins. Each full tube contains £14 (the bigger tubes hold even more!)
Don’t be afraid to use other avenues, like social network pages. They’re great for plugging your group and events, and might even bring in a little money – plus they don’t cost you anything. Consider using one of the fundraising gift catalogues that are around. Distribute them in the neighbourhood. Every time someone buys from it, your organization receives a small percentage.

Work with a local restaurant. Hold a fundraising meal there. Agree a price with the restaurant in advance, then charge more and the difference becomes part of your fundraising (and everyone has a good time).

These are just a few simple ideas. There’s no magic formula. But you do need to remember that fundraising shouldn’t be an expensive exercise – the idea is to make as much money as possible, after all. You need to be organized and have everything ready – and you need to be especially careful with your accounts. If you have an accountant willing to volunteer time, or someone very good with figures as part of your team, don’t be afraid to use their skills!

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