4 common fundraising mistakes to avoid

Stations can have more successful events if they aim to avoid certain common mistakes.

Hosting a fundraising event is a great way to bring awareness to your station's cause and collect valuable donations that can help others. However, there are number of contributing factors that can lead to an event being successful or disappointing.

Here are some mistakes many organizations make when planning and conducting their fundraisers that broadcasting stations should avoid.

Not listening to your data

Keeping detailed records is important in ensuring the success of any fundraiser. Any data recorded during previous events can be helpful guides in determining certain aspects of future functions.

People that have donated in previous events or have already been in contact with the station prior to any planned fundraisers are more likely to contribute than those with no prior involvement. It's important that accurate logs are kept of things like past donors, how much they gave and how often they gave so that future communications can  be directed at them appropriately based on their patterns.

Social media analytics and other communication through other digital channels should also be recorded. Based on the success of past campaigns, adjustments can be made for the next major fundraiser.

In some cases, data can be a useful too that can alleviate much of the guess work in planning a successful fundraiser. Ignoring it is a mistake that can have unfortunate consequences for the outcome of the event.

Repeating the same fundraiser

When a fundraising technique works, organizations tend to trust its success and rely on it often. However, over time, supporters may grow weary of the tried methods and volunteers may be more hesitant to offer their time as well. While offering reasonable returns, stations could see their donations decrease as the same events are repeated time and again.

Broadcasters should vary their approaches to fundraising so that things do not grow stale and new opportunities to earn donations can be seized. A lack of knowledge, an apprehension to change or fear of upsetting the status quo are all contributing factors in why organizations repeat the same fundraiser.

However, the ultimate goal of any event is to increase the amount donated each year. Standard inflation rates generally cause the items and services purchased with gifted revenues to increase as the years pass. It's important that the amount of aid received can match the costs of the station's benefaction and changing the structure of fundraisers can help achieve this.

Overthinking publicity

Before a fundraiser can occur, it must be publicized. The task of making people aware of a charity event is almost as important as getting them to donate. Many organizations, however, make the mistake of putting too much or too little faith in advertising, which can negatively affect donations and morale.

Making the public aware of an event can motivate citizens to participate and increase the amount of new donors a station gets. Releasing flyers, posters and radio ads can all be effective strategies to reach this end. It's when broadcasters don't to let people know about their fundraisers that they have an increased chance of failing.

On the other hand, when organizations place too much weight in publicity, it can lead to disappointment. Spending excessive amounts of time, money and volunteer hours on advertising can detract from the effectiveness of the charity event itself. If an event doesn't earn as much as was expected, some organizations blame the public awareness strategies, when in reality the direction of the fundraiser itself may need to be examined. Advertising is not what earns donations, it merely gets people through the door. The fundraiser's campaign is what actually gets them to contribute.

Sending thank you notes

Sending donors a letter of gratitude can go a long way is a habit that broadcasters should adopt. People do not have to spend their hard-earned dollars contributing to a station's cause, but if they do they should be shown that they are appreciated. Sending a prompt email or letter is not only a nice thing to do, but can also motivate a donor to send another monetary gift later on.

Thank-you correspondences should be as detailed and individually specific as possible, no matter how large or small the donation. However, substantial donations could warrant a direct invitation to the next fundraiser or another sign of gratitude such as merchandise or a similar gift.