Fundraising for Small Organizations
Make the most out of your fundraiser
Running a fundraiser for a small organization can be intimidating, but it isn't impossible! Whether your org is new, has a small audience, has limited fundraising experience, or all of the above, Detezi's goal is to set you up for success to raise as much money as you can.
Before your fundraiser begins
A little planning can go a long way! Take some time to think about the following prompts before your fundraiser begins.
What is your goal?
People like to know where their money is going. While some people will support your fundraiser simply because they support your general cause, many people are more likely to donate if they can picture the impact that their contribution will have. Create a goal for your fundraiser, and mention your goal frequently in your marketing. Some examples:
• Purchasing specific supplies, such as 10 bags of dog food or 5 kennels
• Providing vet care, such as spay/neuter for 5 cats or covering a specific animal's surgery
• Implementing a new program, such as a day-trip foster or seniors for seniors program
Who is your audience?
Identifying the demographics of your supporters (and, more specifically, who your social media posts reach) can help you understand what appeals to your audience and which products they are more likely to be interested in. For example, you may have more luck marketing a treat pouch to dog lovers than to cat lovers, or a hoodie to people in colder climates than in warmer climates. Millennials and Gen Z may be more interested in a short tiktok video or Instagram reel while Gen X and Boomers may be more interested in a Facebook post.
Be sure that you have business accounts on all platforms.
This will allow you to view more in-depth insights, expand your reach, create ads, and, in the case of Facebook and Instagram, schedule posts in advance. Learn how to switch to a business account on Facebook, Instagram, and Tiktok.
Marketing your fundraiser
The most important part of a successful fundraiser is making sure that people know about it! Create a marketing plan that suits your organization and reaches as many people as possible.
Create a social media calendar.
The most successful organizations post their fundraisers at least once every 2-3 days. Most people need to see at least 4 posts before they make a purchase; only posting once or twice throughout a two-week campaign likely won't bring in a ton of sales. Take a few minutes to decide when and where you will post (and, if multiple people contribute to your social media, who is responsible for each post). Plan to post through a variety of platforms at different times (check your insights to see when your audience is the most active). You may choose to post through the following platforms:
• Facebook post
• Facebook story
• Instagram post
• Instagram story
• Tiktok post
• Tiktok story
• Email newsletter (*possibly the most frequently missed opportunity!)
• Organization website
• Volunteer group or newsletter
Here's an example of a social media calendar. Make adjustments to best suit your organization's active platforms and your audience.
Schedule your posts in advance!
Save yourself the headache of trying to remember to make a post by scheduling some of your posts ahead of time. This can be done on Facebook and Instagram through Meta Business Suite by clicking on 'Planner.'
Never post the same thing twice.
One of the most common mistakes when marketing a fundraiser is to post the same exact images and text blubs multiple times. If someone has already seen a post, they will most likely scroll right past it the second time that they see it... and definitely the third, fouth, and fifth time it pops up on their feed! You'll find a variety of images in your marketing package that can be used in your posts; we recommend only using one or two images at a time so that you do not need to repost images.
PRO-TIP: use supporters' photos and videos!
Your supporters will typically receive their merch within a week of purchase. Ask your early supporters to share photos and videos of their merch (especially of them wearing it and/or with their pets!) on their own social media and for you to include in your public posts. Real-life photos and video increase confidence in the products, create an "in-group" of supporters who have merch that others want to join, and increase the likelihood of additional supporters making a purchase.
Take advantage of our copy/paste social media blurbs.
You'll find this packet in your marketing package. These are great starting points for your posts and create a framework for telling your story and encouraging supporters to make a purchase. Feel free to get creative with these; you do not need to use our verbiage word-for-word and can simply use them as inspiration.
Reference holidays and current events.
Find a way to link your goal to an upcoming holiday or current event. Maybe you want to neuter five dogs for Father's Day; mention that you're raising money for straw for outreach dogs on an especially cold day. National Rescue Dog Day is a great time to buy rescue merch! You can find a list of (often silly) daily holidays here.
Reach a wider audience
While your existing supporters are the best place to start, reaching a wider audience can both increase your fundraising sales and attract new long-term supporters.
Encourage your supporters to post to their personal social media pages.
People love to hear a personal story! Ask your supporters to not only share your posts, but create their own unique posts about your fundraiser. Try offering them prompts such as 'what does our org mean to you?' or 'how have you personally seen our org support the community?' An adopter may share the story of how you helped them find their best friend; a community member may share a story about how you helped them find placement for a found stray. Encourage them to mention your fundraising goal in their post and include a direct link to the fundraising page.
Find relevant online communities.
Search for online communities that are relevant to your overall mission, fundraising goal, or community. Facebook groups and Reddit communities are a great place to start. Be sure to get permission from the group admins before you post as many groups have restrictions in place for solicitation.
Consider hanging flyers at pet stores, coffee shops, and other local businesses. If you have a brick-and-mortar facility or are hosting an in-person adoption event, hang a few flyers and ask staff/volunteers to mention the fundraiser to the public. We're more than happy to create a printable flyer with a QR code for you, just ask!
Consider a paid ad.
While creating a paid ad isn't a realistic option for everyone, spending even $20 on an ad on Facebook or Instagram can make a difference. The simplest option is to boost an existing post - we recommend a post with a single image that includes a short blurb about your organization's mission and your fundraising goal. Facebook's default placement and audience settings are typically fine, but you can also adjust these to match the demographics in you insights. A 5 day ad with a $5/day budget will typically result in several thousand views.
If you're interested in learning more about targeted ads, you can find countless written and video guides online. This guide is quite detailed and is a good starting point for those who have never created an Ad before.
After the fundraiser
No matter how successful your fundraiser is, use what you've learned to influence future fundraising campaigns.
Make a thank you post.
Let everyone know how much money you raised and sincerely thank them for their support. If possible, share a photo of who or what the money is going to. Seeing that the money did in fact go where you said it was builds trust in your organization and can encourage both existing and new supporters to participate in future fundraisers.
Take some time to evaluate which posts were most and least successful. Make note of the platform, time of day, and content of both the text and image/video. What works well for one organization may be mediocre for the next, so it's important to get a better idea of what works best for you.
Plan your next fundraiser!
There are always more animals and people in need, and most organizations need a steady flow of donations. While we do recommend spacing fundraisers out so that you don't overwhelm your audience (we typically recommend waiting about 4-6 months between merch fundraisers in particular), planning out a calendar of fundraising events can help keep your fundraising team motivated for the future. Check out this list of 48 fundraising ideas to get your creative juices flowing!
Don't make these common mistakes!
These are some of the most common mistakes that we see with merch fundraisers.
Posting the same thing over and over.
Be sure to switch up those images and write-ups!
Only posting once or twice.
Most people need to see at least 4 posts before they make a purchase.
Forgetting to post in the second half of the fundraiser.
We know you're busy - but don't miss out on the opportunity to share supporter photos/videos and appeal to additional supporters! Scheduling your posts in advance can help quite a bit.
Missing out on easy, free marketing opportunities.
If you have an email list, be sure to send that newsletter! Don't forget about Facebook and Instagram stories, even if you're just sharing an existing post or a story that someone else has tagged you in!
Not reaching out for help.
Fundraising can be a challenge, but we're here to help! If you're stumped on how to create an effective post, reach a wider audience, or anything else related to your fundraiser, please do not hesitate to reach out to us via Instagram message or by email at email@example.com. We are so happy to talk you through creating a post or analyzing your insights, help brainstorm ideas, and create additional graphics or stock photos for you to share.
Let's raise some money!
Be sure to check out the rest of your marketing package for additional resources on running a successful fundraiser. Haven't signed up for a Detezi fundraiser yet? Contact us!