What Makes a Great Fundraiser?

What Makes a Great Fundraiser?


The most important thing you have to do when running a fundraiser is make sure that you’re delivering value to the people who are participating.  If you don’t make them feel like they’re getting something in return for the money they’re giving you, you’re not doing a good job. You might have a successful fundraiser this time, but it will surely be your last because no one is going to trust you the next time you come knocking.

It’s fairly easy to deliver value though. Just be discerning in who you partner with. If you’re hosting a gala, don’t cheap out on the band and caterer and think that you’re saving money.  If you’re running a silent auction, don’t put a bunch of junk on the table and expect people to bid it up. If you’re selling custom merchandise, make sure that the manufacturer is reputable and has quality and price guarantees.  You can see ours here.

Return on Investment

The other key element of a fundraiser is making sure that it, well…raises funds!  There’s no point in doing all the work involved with a fundraiser if it’s not going to help your organization and its mission.  This very closely ties in with the value that you deliver to your participants and it’s important to get both of these right. You need to think carefully about the balance that you want to achieve between delivering value and quality, what ROI you expect on this fundraiser, and what ROI you want on future fundraisers.  It’s very easy to bargain hunt and start seeing dollar signs and an outrageous ROI.

If you’re selling T-shirts, you’d have no problem finding someone who make them for you dirt cheap. You might be able to mark them up 4 times! You’re making $15 per shirt! This sounds great until the shirts arrive. You open the box, take one out, and unfold it only to find that the material is paper thin and your logo wasn’t screen printed but ironed on.

Another component of ROI that needs to be considered is the markup percentage vs the markup in terms of dollars. In a more reasonably priced promotional product scenario, you might acquire T-shirts for $10 and sell them for $20. A 100% markup…pretty nice you might think. But really you’re only making $10 per item sold which isn’t that great. On items like our blankets, you might mark them up only 50%. Your gut instinct might tell you to go with the T-shirts at a 100% markup, but even at a 50% markup on our blankets you’d be making roughly $20(at least) per blanket.  So if you sold an equal number of items, you’d make twice as much money, which is all that this really comes down to anyway. If you want to dig in to this some more look at our pricing page and run some numbers for yourself.


Lastly, you’ve got to provide your participants with an experience that they enjoy and remember.  So it pays to think outside the box a little bit and come up with something unique. Hoodies again this year?  Great, more stuff to bring to Goodwill next time we clean out our closets. How about a blanket that will last until your kids are doing blanket fundraisers for your grand-kids?  Now, that’s more like it.