Regardless of whether your organization is large or small, pushing new, innovative fundraising ideas through your committee’s approval process can be a daunting task. It’s true some organizations are more streamlined or receptive than others, but without the due diligence necessary to ensure your big idea is the right one to be executed, your battle could be lost before it’s even begun.
No matter how inspired you think your big charity fundraising idea might be, there are always plenty of people who will prefer to do things the old-fashioned way – to stay stagnant, recycling old ideas again and again. But, when it comes to hosting exciting charity events donors look forward to attending each year, the old-fashioned way often results in significantly reduced fundraising profits over time.
Before you pitch your groundbreaking concept to revolutionize your organization’s next fundraising event, follow these three simple steps for successfully pushing your big idea through your committee’s approval process.
TIP #1: Know Your Audience.
Depending on the size of your organization, pitching a new idea might mean a casual conversation among friends and neighbors, or it could mean going in front of a firing squad of complete strangers. Under either set of circumstances, remember, everyone’s motivated by something.
Maybe some members of your organization’s event planning committee are concerned with the investment your big idea might require. Make sure you’re confident in the return on investment your idea will generate for your organization. Not all fundraising ideas can be guaranteed, but alleviating some of these concerns by being prepared with detailed explanations (as I’ll discuss in Tip #2) is an important part of the approval process – both for you and your committee.
It might be the case that some members of your committee are afraid to make potentially risky decisions because they have personal stakes in the charity fundraiser’s success. Be sure to come to the table prepared with clear, thoughtfully reasoned explanations about how the idea you’re recommending will be worth the risk.
Perhaps some folks on your committee just say “no” to everything. We all know these kinds of people, and depending on how powerful a force they are in the overall group dynamic, these individuals can be intimidating. The key here is to convince the rest of the group to get behind your big idea. If the naysayers are an extremely powerful force, this silent auction ideas will be tough, but with the right idea, it’s far from impossible to earn support from the group as a whole.
TIP #2: Become an Expert.
Every day, we’re tempted by new ideas, in both our personal and professional lives. No matter what industry we work in, what town we call home or what our personal interests are, we’re always tempted by exciting, new ideas. The challenging part is having the wherewithal to distinguish the good ideas from the not so good ones.
Consider the idea of adding a charity auction to your event, for example. Maybe your organization has never hosted an auction fundraiser before, sticking mostly to more easily projectable events, like dinners and other revenue sources that rely largely on total attendance numbers, rather than the quality of the guest list. Since you’re the person with the big idea of adding an auction to your fundraising event, there’s only one thing for you to do: become an expert.
Ask questions like, “How much do similar organizations raise at their auctions? How do they do it? What should our goals be? How will we gauge our success?”
Research these questions, talk to other charity event planners who have experience with auction fundraisers. Understand the answers to these questions and other potential questions or objections that might come up. Preparedness is essential to any successful pitch.
TIP #3: Sell the Benefits.
Becoming an expert will help you answer many of the questions you’ll inevitably encounter, but often, the way we say things is just as important as the content of what we say. That’s why selling the benefits – not the idea itself – is the final crucial component to making your fundraising ideas happen.