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Implementing A Successful Fundraising Campaign
By Jim Headley
Launching a successful fundraising campaign is much more complicated than it appears on the surface. On the surface it would seem that if you have a worthwhile non-profit cause that you are promoting, people would buy whatever you are selling because they want to help your organization. In reality, constructing a fundraising campaign is more like launching a small business. You must choose a product or service to sell, market that product or service, and keep tabs on customer satisfaction; all while making sure that you are generating the revenues that you need to accomplish your organization's goals.
First, let's look at some examples of how not to do fundraising. I can clearly remember being practically held at gunpoint by a coworker, who said "You know, my daughter is selling girl scout cookies, I just wanted to know how many boxes of girl scout cookies can I put you down for?" My response would be "Uh, three?" She responded with "I will just put you down for five, they aren't expensive you know." Why does this tactic not work? Because it often leaves a bad taste in the customer's mouth and resulted in me hiding from other coworkers, whom I knew had daughters in girl scouts.
Cookies seem to be a harmless product that appeals to everyone. Candy bars are much the same, since they typically have mass appeal. I remember my grade school sending us out to sell boxes of candy bars that usually ended up being bought by my parents. But not everyone likes cookies and candy bars. Why not actually market a product that people want or need?
Much of your fundraising efforts and marketing strategy needs to focus on who your target market is. Who do you think will contribute to your charitable cause, and what product or service do those customers desire? Answering this question is where the fundraising planning should begin.
Let's use an example of an international student group at a major university. While there are virtually dozens of individual international student groups, we will focus on the generic, overarching international student association. Now let's suppose that these students want to raise money so that they can bring in guest speakers or to display an information booth at a local event. Whatever their reason for needing a fundraiser, they will need to turn to those who are willing to support their cause.
It is safe to assume that the target market of the international student association is other international students. Now that we have defined the target market we need to develop a product or service that the target market would find to be valuable; cookies and candy bars? Maybe. How about instead of the traditional methods, we look at something that these foreign-born students could actually use, an international telephone calling card. Doesn't this sound like a much better idea? Not only is it useful, but also it can save the students money when they phone home. As we know, college students are frequently short on money.
This is an example of a fundraising campaign that put some thought into the target market and what product or service would match up with the needs of that target market. If you are in the international student association and trying to raise money from other international students, you understand that these other students want to contribute, but they live on a strict budget. Using international telephone calling cards will not only save them money when they call home, but it will also generate the needed revenue for the student association.
There are companies who offer these international calling cards that offer huge savings over calling internationally using the traditional methods. These phone card companies offer the fundraising group a residual income of 15% on the web recharges sales. There is no actual selling involved, since you simply offer promotional codes for the student to use. These promotional codes give the students a couple of dollars of free airtime to try the service out. If the students like the product, and recharge the phone card, the student association receives a 15% commission off of that recharge. This commission does not just happen once either, it happens every time the customer buys a web recharge on the phone card. One such phone card company that offers this service is "Send Global". You can visit http://www.sendglobal.info to learn more about the affiliate program.
This example, which happens to be a real life example, can generate big revenues for the international student association, while providing a needed service. No more do you have to pester coworkers or friends into donating money, only to have them resent you later. No more cookies or candy bars being sold to people who don't eat sweets. Now, you can actually help the members of your group and those interested in assisting your group. Fundraising campaigns are obviously much more complex than they first appear. A successful fundraising campaign requires a well thought out plan that identifies the target market and identifies an appropriate product or service that the target market will want to utilize.
About the Author
Jim Headley, (email@example.com) VP of New Business Development, Telecents Communications Inc.
Telecents' SENDGLOBAL brand offers FREE International Calling. Call Free to Europe, South America, Asian, Mexico, Middle East, India. Visit http://www.sendglobal.com enter promo code "C3ZCG".
Want to become an agent/affiliate? Go to http://www.sendglobl.info login TCI
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