One of the first things we say to anyone thinking about starting their own fundraiser is: don’t do it alone. Why is having a fundraising team so important? Hint: It isn’t simply because it’s less work for you. Here's a comprehensive guide so you know exactly how to build a fundraising team, to ensure your fundraiser is easy to manage and set up for success.
Why should I create a fundraising team?
Team fundraising makes a fundraiser more fun. When that positive energy spreads through your fundraiser, you wind up raising more.
With fundraising driven so heavily by social networks, each person added to the crowdfunding team dramatically increases your fundraiser’s reach.
If each member of your team takes on distinct tasks, such as writing updates or sending thank-yous, the team will be much faster and more effective. One person trying to do it all is a recipe for burnout.
Two (or more) minds are better than one. When you create fundraising teams, you can brainstorm fundraising ideas, host fundraising events, and make better collective decisions.
If things get tough or your fundraiser stalls, you can lean on each other for support.
How do I build a winning fundraising team?
There are four simple steps you can follow to build your own incredible team for your next fundraiser.
Step one: Recruit team members
The first step in creating fundraising teams: Make a list of people you’d like to invite to join your team. Summarize each person’s strengths and skills (e.g., public speaking, design, video production, writing, etc.). Your list will make it easier for everyone to see where they can make the greatest contribution.
Reach out and ask for help. Use the approach that works best for each person. Talk about the impact your fundraiser can have, and why and how it will make a difference for the beneficiaries.
Let people know you respect their time, and will set boundaries or limits on how much you ask of them over the course of the fundraiser. Setting expectations early makes it easy to overcome any fundraising challenges, will eliminate anxiety and tension over what’s expected from everyone.
Once you get commitments from a few people, use them to rally other people to join the team.
Step two: Assign roles
At your first meeting when working together, go over your fundraiser goals, and discuss how members can take on roles that best serve those goals. Start by assigning these common fundraising teams roles.
Public relations manager: Develops and then executes a media outreach strategy, starting with local media.
Marketer: Facilitates marketing efforts, including social advertising through Facebook fundraisers, as well as event promotions.
Social media manager: In charge of using social media to share your fundraiser. Manages Facebook and Twitter pages for your fundraiser, connects with similar groups and causes, starts and sustains conversations, and creates a fundraiser hashtag.
Writer: Comes up with the fundraiser title, and writes your fundraiser story. Edits online pages and posts create fundraiser email templates, and drafts a persuasive fundraising letter.
Designer/photographer/videographer: Creates fundraising images and designs, including online page headers, fundraiser page videos, and other assets that communicate the heart of the fundraiser.
Fundraiser manager: Keeps the group of people in sync and having fun, and acts as a resource for anyone struggling with how to ask for donations. Tracks goals using fundraising tools, schedules and runs team meetings, and does a mix of tasks that keep the fundraiser moving forward.
Step three: Plan your fundraiser
If you’re brand new to crowdfunding, starting with the right fundraising plan can make the process easy from start to finish. Set fundraising goals that help you raise funds quickly, and use a mixture of online and offline sharing strategies to promote your fundraiser. Avoid these common fundraising mistakes to ensure you meet or exceed your fundraising goal:
Keeping your fundraiser to yourself. Developing a fundraiser sharing strategy that taps into the networks of your team members, as well as multiple platforms, is key to reaching a broad audience.
Lack of proofreading. Grammar mistakes can spell disaster for your fundraiser, so make sure your team writer proofreads everything that will go public.
Not updating your donors. Posting regular fundraiser updates will help keep your donors in the loop and engaged throughout the entire process.
Choosing a platform with hidden fees. fundraising is the way to go—choose a fundraising site with the lowest fees, so you can get to keep more of what you raise.
Step four: Kick off your fundraiser together
A functional fundraising team is greater than the sum of its parts.
All members of the fundraising team should know what their responsibilities are during the fundraiser kickoff (and during every other phase of the fundraiser). This ensures that each person’s efforts reinforce the efforts of others.
Share your online fundraising efforts with members’ in your inner circle first. People who are more distantly connected will be more likely to donate if they see you’ve already raised money.
Make sure people are connected online. Synchronize your personal sharing so the news of your fundraiser launch is unavoidable within your respective social circles—one big wave of peer-to-peer fundraising is better than many little ones. Also making it a competition between teams helps the fundraising experience create positive momentum and a fast start.