There are three main ways you can raise money: donations, events, and grants. Before we start on how to fundraise, here are four big tips to keep in mind:
- The more inspiring your campaign or project is, the more likely it is that people want to support you.
- You won’t get what you don't ask for. Don’t be shy to ask for money to support you work. Many people love to help out if there is a clear way for them to contribute.
- Use a combination of funding tactics for the greatest success.
- Finally, remember, fundraising is a way to support your efforts, and is usually not the goal of your campaign.
Individual donations give members of your community the opportunity to contribute to your goals. It can also be first step to getting more involved in your campaign or project. Here are some tips for getting individual donations:
- Emailing Members: If you’re emailing your members about a campaign or project, include an ask for donations to support your work. Be clear about how to donate, i.e. who to make checks and postal orders payable to. You can also send out an email focused specifically on asking people to support your work.
- Donation Bucket: Consider setting out a bucket for donations at any event you do. Small change soon adds up and there are always people who will chuck in bills!
- Local Business Support: Ask local businesses if they’d be able to sponsor your project or a piece of your work. Sometimes even if they won’t donate money, they will donate supplies, food, or items you can use for a raffle at an event.
- Busking: Playing music on the street or setting up a canvassing fundraising event can raise a lot of money and entertains the local community. Just be sure to check what the city’s rules are for playing music on the sidewalk before you busk.
Remember to keep a record of all donors and always write personal thank-you letters to people who have sent money. This will make them feel appreciated and increase their chances of giving in the future.
Raise awareness about your team and campaigns, while raising money. You could sponsor a school dance, put on a concert with a local band or DJ, have a green fashion show, or host a climate movie night.
Remember that events cost money to put on, so be sure you account for the cost of the event and think you can make a profit beyond that. Here are a couple ideas for making money through events:
- Charge an admission fee: This is a great way to cover the costs of your event, and make a little bit of extra money for your project or campaign.
- Raffles: Ask local businesses to donate raffle items or bake delicious cakes or cookies. Hold the raffle at an event, sports game, or even just at school.
- Sell snacks: Depending on the event, you might be able to make money by selling snacks, or even a meal, to the attendees.
- Sponsorship: Sometimes a local business will sponsor your event in exchange for the publicity you will give them. Sponsorship can help cover the cost of the event, allowing the profit you bring in from snacks, raffles, or admissions to go straight to your club.
To find out where to look for grants, search the Internet, or better yet, talk to other groups similar to your own to find out where they got their funding from.
Grant writing has two simple steps: gathering information and writing the application.
Gather Information: When looking at a potential grant, here are some things you’ll want to consider:
- What kind of activities do they fund?
- What are their criteria for giving out money?
- How much do they give?
- What sort of budget do they require from you?
- When are the deadlines?
- What forms do they require?
Write the Application: Sometimes the funder will provide an application form to fill in. Other times you have to write a freestyle application. Here are some tips to keep in mind as you write a grant application:
- Be positive. Never use “would,” “could,” “should,” “might,” or “may.” Always use “will.” If you don't have confidence in yourself and your project, they won't either.
- Make your application concise and easy to read. Organize the text in a clear structure so that everything flows smoothly.
- Avoid technical jargon and be concise. Get a native English speaker to proofread it for grammar and spelling. Do not rely on a computer spell-checker.
- Be realistic. Do not try to do too much. The best projects are often small with measurable results which can be pointed to as a success. Show the proposal to others for a “reality check.”
- When you’re writing out your budget, round up on your estimates, as things will often cost more than you think or there will be some expense you forgot about.
- If you have any questions, make sure to call the funder! With grants, it's all about how well you can answer in detail and very specifically.