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Navigating your fundraising events in 2020

Fundraising events are fun and highly visible but they can be hard work. For many organisations events are a key date on the calendar as a vital income stream. However, we’re all having to rethink things in light of Covid-19. If you’ve had to cancel your event, hopefully your broader strategy means you can move to create smaller, simple fundraising activities or approach your donors in another way. Don’t be afraid to rethink how you want to personally engage with people and potential fundraising opportunities.

If you did have an event planned you’ll need to ask yourself some key questions.

  • Are you still in a position to go ahead with the event this year and is it critical to your fundraising income stream?
  • Can you move it to later in the year or early next year without having to incur cancellation fees?
  • How is your target audience placed right now and what will their circumstances be when you do decide to hold the event?

Keep communicating about your fundraising event

Be open and transparent in communications around your event.  Make sure you contact everyone to let them know what is happening.  Personal engagement with your big ticket donors is essential at this stage, especially if they have already contributed to the event with money or product. When speaking to them remind them why they are supporting your cause, and talk about what it is you have been doing during this time. Let them know about the increased need for your service, and the impact your cause is having on the community. Ask if they would be willing to redirect their donation to directly assisting with your services or programs or to another part of your operations. Be transparent.

At the same time be sensitive to your donors’ circumstances and offer to refund any monies you might have received.

Remember also to consider your partners. Let them know what is happening with your event as early on as possible in the decision-making process. Event venues are facing hardship too at this time, so be upfront, and give people plenty of notice. It’s better to over communicating and focus on maintaining good relationships. Take the time to personally contact partners if you do cancel and let them know.

Use technology to be effective with your fundraising event

You may have postponed your event but be facing some logistic issues, such as lack of resources to produce the event in the way you’d originally planned or uncertainty about attendance due to changed circumstances. Don’t let this put you off. Consider running a virtual event instead of your planned event. In some instances virtual events can require less planning cost less and if you’ve lucky raise just as much revenue.

Keep your fundraising event focused toward your mission

Advancing your mission and raising money to support your cause should be at the heart of your event strategy. People understand the difficulties and changes that are taking place as we navigate the next few months. Share your mission and keep your donors, guests, partners, and stakeholders informed with honest and authentic communications – you may find they will still donate to your cause without attending that black tie gala or music performance.

 

June 2020

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Keep your funding team motivated – it matters

When money is scarce, it’s tempting to put all your focus on building income and cutting costs. Yet, taking time for your team can help you achieve all your goals and truly thrive. Keeping your funding team motivated matters now more than ever.

Talk to your team to empower them

Good communication in a team is fundamental. Being transparent is critical when you need everyone to work together. If you’re genuine about preserving jobs in a struggling organisation, then sharing targets and progress allows your team to back you in tough decisions. You’ll empower them to share a sense of responsibility for success. We heard of one leader who explained the organisation’s challenging situation to her team. The ideas and commitments the staff offered were plentiful and creative. Importantly, they took ownership of cost reductions and income growth.

It’s vital to show your employees you care about more than their work outputs.e For instance, let them know you appreciate their ready smile or movie recommendations. Little things can make a big difference to people’s energy levels. Check they’re comfortable at their desks – a draft can make an employee miserable. Simply being polite and friendly can go a long way.  

Celebrate your team’s wins

Celebrating wins within the team has plenty of benefit. According to a Westminster College poll on employee motivation, 69 percent of people surveyed would work harder if they believed their leaders appreciated their work Why not build some ‘rituals of recognition’ into your workplace culture. Your team could make nominations for ‘weekly wins’. A well-deserved round of applause is motivating and memorable, while spontaneous celebrations allow you to be sincere and more personal. A note of thanks on someone’s desk can make a daunting task feel worthwhile.  Never underestimate the power of chocolate!

Have fun at work with your team.

Finally, get creative and invite others in your team to contribute ideas. Imagine the positive impact on your organisation if each of your employees is excited about coming to work every day. Even small things can lift people’s spirits – fruit in your break area or fresh flowers in the bathroom. A shared soup lunch is easy to organise. Imagine how the smell of fresh bread and warm tummies would bolster your team’s morale.

There’s nothing like a strong team working together to take you from surviving to thriving. More than ever, care counts. 

 

June 2020.

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Enjoy funding success with these six top tips

If funding can help you realise your vision for 2020, then it’s time to put everything in place to win. 

Here are our six top tips for funding success.

1. Be strategic with your fundraising.

Take time and care to build strong relationships and understand your funders’ needs. Also, keep your focus on showing the value the funding will provide to the community at a variety of levels.

2. Have a plan and get organised.

Fundraising is a big job! Planning well can smooth out the workload and identify areas where others in your organisation can help. Define roles, responsibilities, timeframes and most importantly – action! Everyone in the team should play a part. Together, you can keep fundraising high on the agenda so you’ll have the funds in the bank when you need them.

3. You don’t need to put all your eggs in one basket when so many funding options are available.

Explore local government, central government, trusts (community, gaming and private trusts), business sector/philanthropic sponsorship and community fundraising opportunities.

4. Engage others through compelling stories.

Having a strong case for investment and why someone should fund your project is critical to attracting funding. In a nutshell, this should:

  • Focus on how your organisation contributes to improved social, cultural, economic and environmental outcomes.
  • Explain the difference a funder’s support would make to community wellbeing. It’s important to show how funding will meet the needs of the community because funders focus on the impact and benefits of their investment.
  • Demonstrate that you have the support of your community – funders want to know that the community is behind you.

5. Keep your focus.

Tailor your applications, so they are relevant to a funder’s requirements. It’s just not worth copying and pasting the same material to do things faster. Funders will see that you haven’t taken their specific priorities into account. 

6. Look after your funders.

Creating truly sustainable partnerships means looking after them purposefully. Be clear about their own vision and how they measure success. Ensure they keep getting value from their partnership with you.

Make sure you follow us for all the latest ideas and tools from our experts.  Let’s make 2020 your best year yet!

 

April 2020

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Planning for the next 12 months

Wouldn’t it be great to have a crystal ball right now? Planning ahead and for longterm sustainability has never been more crucial – or more difficult. I’ve been talking to people in both the public and private sectors about what organisations can do and it’s encouraging. Despite the uncertainty, there’s plenty of reason to be optimistic.

The good news is funding will be available – especially for those organisations who have a compelling case for investment and can clearly demonstrate they’re meeting a need.

Plenty of government funds are offering immediate help to get you through. Keep your ears open for these, but don’t stop there. To be truly sustainable, it’s vital to take a diverse approach that broadens your funding streams.

Covid-19 is likely to exacerbate the decline in gaming funding availability. If you’ve been slow to step back your reliance on these funds, then now is the time to move quickly. If you are going to apply to gaming trusts, remember competition will be fierce. Target your applications where there is real alignment – sending in lots of generic applications is unlikely to be successful.

Don’t be afraid to review your strategy and get creative. For instance, are there opportunities to collaborate in new ways to deliver on your vision? Look out for other organisations with shared values and complementary strengths.

Impact investment is one funding stream we expect will increase in this new environment. Have a look at those companies that have adapted fast to the new norm and recovering in an agile and expedient way. Identify businesses whose sense of purpose aligns with your own. Once again, a match in values is essential.

All funders will want to understand the impact their funds are making. You can help them by communicating regularly and effectively. Make your impact easy to understand and including numbers, measures, feedback and individual stories that showcase your work.

Don’t forget to make the most of your expertise when you’re planning. You know better than anyone how the Covid environment will impact your community and services. You’ll also know what they need most to recover and thrive. This is a great place to start when you look ahead.

If you’d like more insights on the future of funding, and some help making a plan, then check out our website for our latest thinking. Give us a call if you prefer to speak directly to our team. We’re here to support you in helping build vibrant communities we all love.

 

May 2020