Fundraising is a fantastic opportunity to ENGAGE the community in the overall project. No matter the dollar amount, an engaged group of citizens has the power to make it happen if they strongly believe in and support the project. Engaged is the key word-they must clearly understand the goals, the potential outcomes, the community capital that will be created, and the benefits to the community at large, as well as to each community member who takes part in the fundraising campaign. Together, an engaged community is powerful. This is your opportunity to harness that power!
By utilizing the Blueprint for Play guidebook, Plan It, you've established your vision and goals, set a budget, and recruited the team needed to execute the plan. Getting others to share this vision, and the community capital that will need to be established, is a crucial component in recruiting funders. Whether you need funding to start your project, to finish your project and/or to grow your project, fundraising is an important component of making the goal a reality and engaging a variety of stakeholders.
Planning your Strategy
So where does funding come from? People! They may be individuals. They may be representatives of larger entities and organizations. They MUST believe that what you are doing is meaningful in order to buy in to your vision. Create your target list by listing potential funders in the community, in the state, and nationally, and then establish which make the most sense as a resource for your project. Start with your own network and request referrals and introductions. Meet through the Chamber of Commerce, or other community development organizations, as they will have knowledge of the businesses in your community, and may be able to make suggestions for additional support. Initiate a cold call, or publicize/provide visibility to your project to generate a warm call. Remember to prioritize your fundraising efforts after doing your initial research, by starting with the largest potential and working your way through the list. Consider the following questions when fundraising:
- Have we clearly defined the fundraising strategy and tactics?
- How will we recruit fundraising volunteers and train them effectively?
- In addition to federal, state, and local funding sources, what other sources should we consider? How do we categorize and prioritize our funding efforts to get the best results?
- How do we make contact with potential funders?
- What are the related requirements and funding cycles of those funding targets?
- What types of fundraisers will we establish - pledges and donations, product fundraisers, and/or special events?
- Who is responsible for requesting the funding?
- Do we need to establish levels of giving or targeted amounts for each ask?
- Who is responsible for managing the funding process?
- Do we know relevant fundraising restrictions or requirements and have we established processes for tax deductible contributions?
- When should we seek funding?
- How will we publicize the campaign and communicate fundraising progress?
- How will we manage the money and administer reporting requirements?
- Should we consider seeking a professional grant writer?