“Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.” – 1 Timothy 6:18-19
My involvement in fundraising events started when I was a boy scout with the volunteer activity known as “bob-a-job week” where members of the public were asked to contribute a shilling in exchange for scouts doing jobs to help the operations of their scout troops.
The most recent experience was a successful CHOKHAFEST 2022 fundraiser mounted by the Rotary Club of Central Port of Spain on May 15 to help the less fortunate in East Port of Spain.
My other experiences over the decades have been as a team member with (1) Barbados Cancer Society 1980-2017 – “the prevention and alleviation of pain and suffering from cancer”; (2) Rotary Club of Barbados South 1986-2013 – “Service above self”; (3) Barbados Future Centre Trust 1994-2009 – “Conservation of the environment”; and (4) Errol and Nita Barrow Educational Trust 1995 to date – “Providing financial awards to allow students to finish their studies”.
Then in the new millennium they were (5) Caribbean Business Enterprise Trust 2001-2008 – “Shepherding entrepreneurs along the journey to business success”; (6) Caribbean Media Exchange on Sustainable Tourism 2001 to date – “Training young people and journalists on sustainable tourism development”; and (7) Sir Frank Worrell Memorial Committee (Trinidad) 2013 to 2022 – “Educating and promoting the memory and qualities of the late Sir Frank Worrell”.
I shall now share some generic pointers about the anatomy of a fundraising event which I have gleaned from these experiences.
Nonprofit organizations (trusts, societies, clubs), as members of civil society, are often formed because of the desire of their members to give back to society particularly by donating time and money to deserving causes. In this way they effectively support the roles of government (regulatory, service, creating an enabling environment) and the private sector (doing business) as the economy grows.
Registered nonprofits mount fundraising events, the targeted yields from which are tax exempt. Also, governments often offer creative incentives to encourage contributors to give generously to nonprofits.
Nonprofits may continually invite local and Diasporic sources to contribute to an investment fund, from which they may earn interest in a favorable investment climate, or which they may be judiciously tapped to boost annual fundraising event surpluses.
Such an investment fund is a risk management ploy and enhances the longevity of the nonprofit.
The nonprofit must develop a dynamic marketing strategy in support of its annual fundraising events, which embodies a combination of public relations, social media, marketing and advertising activities to establish its brand, attract customers as well as cash and in-kind sponsorships to achieve its targeted annual surplus.
Cash sponsors contribute to revenue enhancement and in-kind sponsors reduce the amount of event expense items that would otherwise have to be bought with cash. Together, they both contribute to surpluses.
Mounting fundraising events is a business. Any successful business is about (1) producing an excellent product or service and delivering it at a profit to the consumer; (2) motivating the supply chain team in search of happiness; (3) receiving accolades of customer satisfaction; and (4) achieving the planned surplus.
When we can achieve these four elements of success year after year then we know that we are on a path to success. When this can be coupled with full compliance and an unqualified audit report, we are at the pinnacle of sustainable success.
Let us focus on the critical factors of nonprofit leadership, motivation and team support, as we continue on the journey to sustainable nonprofit success.
(Dr. Basil Springer GCM is a Change-Engine Consultant. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. His columns may be found at www.nothingbeatsbusiness.com