I had absolutely zero experience with fundraising when the Castle Pines Library Campaign Committee started in 2011. I was as a library representative, but I was as far from an expert as you can get! I learned a great deal from those who had been through it before as well as from those in the Library who did have a fundraising background. I learned a great deal about donor relations, asking for donations, and how to collaborate with the community on a common goal. Here are some of the most important lesson I learned from those around me:
- Harness your resources! Look for community volunteers to be your advocates- retired professionals, Chamber of Commerce, City Council members, etc. Form a committee of Library and Community folks to facilitate communication, create a strong relationship and provide feedback from both groups.
- Dream big! Talking about the goal from a big picture ($100,000) was more successful than talking about $30,000 a year for 3 years. We were able to frame conversations in terms of 10% of our goal which is $10,000 vs. $3,000 by changing way we talked about our goal.
- Control the message! Craft carefully the message you send with each fundraiser. Incorporate key players in the planning meetings to avoid miscommunication. Make sure that any messages about what will happen if the money isn't raised are consistent.
- Report accurately! People will get easily frustrated if the numbers don't add up. Make sure you tell them what the net result of each fundraiser is and that it is easy to find out exactly where the fundraising is at any time.
- Follow up! create a donor package that includes photos, clippings, and news stories resulting from their donation. For the City we will create a folder with copies of every news story, check signing, big screen slide and more!
- Celebrate Success! Check signings, promotional opportunities, articles in the local paper, and more! Make it an event with food and drinks. Shower the donors, the volunteers, the fundraisers, the staff and the community with appreciation.