Fundraising can be a rewarding experience, but it can also be frustrating or even overwhelming. To avoid some of the typical pitfalls, here are five basic project management guidelines to keep the “fun” in your fundraising.
“Well Planned is Half Done”
Although it may appear tedious at first, it really pays off to plan ahead.
Take some time to consider your goal, your time frame, your resources and any other factors that will play a role in your efforts. Then you can set up a to-do checklist and schedule – they may well be life-savers once you’re in the middle of a fundraising project!
Don’t Be Afraid to Delegate Tasks
Doing all the work on your own is risky (what if something dire keeps you from your duties?), stressful (it’s a whole lot of work for just one person) and thankless (if nobody shares your efforts, nobody will know just how much effort it really is).
If possible, work in a team where all members have their own specific task. For example, if a treasurer looks after the funds, a PR officer takes care of announcements and media coverage and a booking agent makes sure you’ll get the location you need, that will lighten your load and leave your hands free for your actual work. While such a task force may not be necessary for smaller, one-off projects, it’s always good to have a few stand-by helpers for particularly busy times.
Ask for volunteers in your group or charity, or directly ask people you think are fit for the job – whatever works for you.
Communicate with Other Fundraisers
A lack of clear communication is one of the most common pitfalls whenever several people work together. Inform your team about your progress, and ask about theirs! Take care that everybody knows their task and knows who to turn to whenever there are questions.
Also, make clear that it’s no sign of failure to ask for help if one isn’t up to one’s task for whatever reason. It’s better to be honest about problems than to wait until disaster can no longer be averted.
Keep Track of Your Fundraising Resources
Don’t forget to take good note of the resources you’re expending. Wherever money is involved, errors or oversights can quickly lead to heated arguments.
If money has to be invested in advance, take a note and keep the receipts – unless it’s meant to be a donation.
Always take care to settle the accounts as soon as possible so there will be no nasty surprises later on – it could be ruinous to find out that your fundraising efforts actually cost more money than they brought in!
Above all, keep yourself and your team motivated. Try to maintain a positive attitude even during stressful times. Be friendly even when you have to criticise someone’s work.
Don’t be a dictator – take other people’s opinions and suggestions into account whenever possible. Remember, you are working for a common, worthy cause. Always let people know that their hard work is appreciated, and reward yourself every now and then, too – if only with a cup of your favourite tea!