As many charities have experienced, the summer months bring with them a lull in donations and giving. This is typically due to a combination of factors, ranging from donors taking extended vacations away from the home or office to the fact that the vast majority of donations are often made during the winter holiday season. For fundraising teams, cracking the riddle of the summer season is difficult, but not impossible. Third-party fundraising represents a powerful and flexible solution to this recurring challenge.
Generally speaking, third-party fundraisers can be defined as businesses, social clubs, or private individuals and other non-charity groups who are willing to plan and host fundraising drives on behalf of charities. Third-party fundraisers can bring fresh ideas, vibrant enthusiasm and, perhaps most importantly, a new collection of social connections which may lead to increased awareness and financial giving.
The charities themselves will directly benefit from all efforts made by the third-party fundraiser. For example, the use of a third-party fundraising program saves valuable time, freeing up outreach coordinators and event organizers to begin planning larger events in the fall and winter season. Thanks to the generous efforts of the third-party fundraisers, charities will also be able to enjoy a wider network of supporters, and, in the best of scenarios, a new revenue stream which can help offset an otherwise slow season of the year.
To help your charity develop an effective ‘to-do’ list for initiating a third-party fundraising program, we’ve outlined five powerful strategies and tips below. With this information, it is our hope that charities across Canada can begin tapping into the exciting world of third-party fundraising!
Strategy #1: Provide Your Supporters with the Tools They Need to Succeed Fundraising is a complex process, which means you shouldn’t automatically expect third-party fundraisers to already have mastered these skills, no matter how enthusiastic they may be to help you. Consider developing a ‘fundraising toolkit’ which these individuals or businesses can use to acquaint themselves with the basics of charitable giving, event planning, networking and event promotion.
While this might be ‘old news’ for some of your fundraisers, it will significantly help others who can leverage this knowledge to greatly benefit your charity. As a rule, the easier you can make it for a third-party fundraiser to help you, the easier it will be for them to raise funds.
Strategy #2: Inspire a New Collection of Fundraisers Emails, newsletters and other periodic ‘updates’ discussing the value of third-party fundraising and its importance to your beneficiaries and annual goals may help convert passive readers into more active supporters. Also, consider devoting part of your social media calendar to spreading awareness about third-party fundraising and recruitment of new participants. Investing in awareness at this stage will help nurture and cultivate new fundraising opportunities with willing participants over time.
Recruit third-party fundraisers by developing an attractive and engaging dedicated online landing page which lists reasons why their efforts are important to your overall mission and includes specific resources to assist them in their decision-making and event planning. It should be clear to them how to get started and where to find more information.
Strategy #3: Use the Internet to Your Advantage Whether it’s customized fundraising pages, donor list management, secure bank transfers, or even automated tax receipting, the internet brings with it a suite of powerful online tools to support charities and fundraisers alike. Implementing many of the newer technologies available today will make it significantly more convenient for others to assist you in your fundraising efforts. The ‘ease-of-use’ created through the integration of such technology can quickly result in a surge of volunteers, donations and general interest!
Strategy #4: Maintain a Personal Connection Charitable giving has long been an institution grounded in a love of community and a desire to build bridges between people and ideas. When businesses or individuals volunteer to act as third-party fundraisers for your charity, make sure that they feel appreciated and connected always. This doesn’t have to be a time or energy-intensive process. Whether it’s a periodic phone call, a thank you note, or recognition on your social media, website, etc., this type of outreach can help ensure that fundraisers and donors feel compelled to continue giving for years to come.
Strategy #5: Get Creative Perhaps the most exciting element of third-party fundraising is the opportunity to synergize and collaborate with new people and ideas. Encourage your third-party fundraisers to think outside the box when planning new events. You may discover that your third-party fundraisers have strategies and perspectives which can catalyze the growth and success of your charity. Similarly, don’t hesitate to offer event and promotional ideas to your fundraisers. Bake sales, birthdays, memorials, dinners, local sporting events (fun-runs, baseball games, etc.) and holiday-themed gatherings are just a few of the many possibilities when it comes to giving!
We hope these ideas have inspired you to begin developing your own third-party campaigns. If you would like to learn more about this process, and take an even more in-depth look into effective third-party fundraising strategies, we encourage you to download our free white paper!
Shannon Craig is the Chief Marketing & Product Officer at CanadaHelps. As a registered charity itself, CanadaHelps.org allows donors to safely donate and fundraise online for any registered Canadian charity and provides charities the secure online fundraising platform and education resources they need to succeed. Stay connected with CanadaHelps on Twitter @CanadaHelps.