Hey, it's Jim Reiner here. I decided to take the fundraising workshop to the next level and answer questions that have come in during the past week. So, I’m going to answer your questions here.
Here you go...
Do you have a tough time putting in the work after some fundraising success?
No, I am excited about what I do. And I am excited by the success of others who have used this. It is exciting to make that kind of impact.
How long does a fundraiser take to prepare?
Big ones like a grant application can take a total of 12-15 days. If it’s a smaller fundraiser with maybe just a letter then that can be done a few days. If you plan to sell a product to get donations, then there is preparation ahead of time. Maybe for weeks. My goal for you is to make as many donations for your sports program in one week as you do in one year. But you’ve got to put in the time to do that.
What is one thing you’ve learned between previous fundraisers and the last one?
The learning happens after the fundraiser and you reflect. We have done better planning such as who we will approach for donations, better planning for field work so we know exactly what equipment and supplies we’ll need donated or discounted. I’d say better planning which leads to better fundraising since we can be very specific with sponsors about what we will do with donations.
Which computer programs do you use?
Don’t obsess about what I do, it’s not the right thing for everyone. I’ve used WORD, MS Publisher, and Excel. Just the basics.
I need a lot of improvements in fencing on my baseball fields. We serve several hundred youth baseball players with a game and practice venue. But it’s such a large amount to ask for.
The various fundraising approaches might be a good fit for you. You can either use the grant writing examples and case studies for all of it or use the fundraising approaches to get the donations and discounts for the material and labor. From my experience building and renovating sports fields, the backstop is the single most expensive item.
I have been doing this almost 30 years at a very small independent school. We have been very successful in what we do, BUT....I am open to new ideas so let's cut to the chase and what is the fundraiser, costs, etc. PLEASE
Thanks for your candor. The fundraiser package guides you through the fundraising events and ideas that fits your needs and culture. I call it Fundraising Fast because my idea – based on past experience with it – is that you should be able to rapidly apply the training and get cash flow going and start making a positive impact for your school. You get out of it what you put into. I think when the program is announced next week you will see great value for less than the cost of 2 bags of fertilizer. That’s how I compare things.
I love to hear about all of the "field stuff". But I do not wish to received emails concerning fundraising. Please unsubscribe me.
Oh, that hurts. Not me, but the ones you serve. I don’t know if I’ll get you back as a subscriber, but hopefully the rest of you who continue through the 4 lessons of the fundraising workshop will get value from the free information as well as consider joining me in the Fundraising Fast Package. All I know is this - all the great planning in the world for your youth and their sports program is for naught without funds. In the end every sports program is a business. It better sustain itself. This fundraising is supposed to help you do the field stuff. And the player stuff.
Can you show us a fundraiser that turned out really bad?
Well, I’m not proud of this, but here is an example of an idea used by a baseball team for 13-14 year olds. There’s a place in the foothills that makes exotic meat mixtures for hamburgers. It’s expensive, but popular. So, the idea was to sell meat coupons. They were $20 each for a pound of this special meat mixture. We were to get about half of that for the fundraiser.
So, we had to front the money and buy 120 of these meat coupons. Almost no one on the team had success selling more than a few of the tickets – expensive for a pound of meat and the place is far away. So, the parents got stuck having to ‘buy’ the ones that didn’t sell. We’re talking each family kicking in $160 or more to buy these at full price – so the meat maker gets his cut and the baseball team gets their cut. This was painful for the parents. Will not get involved in something like this again where you can’t just turn back in unsold coupons.
Do you recommend fundraisers that take long period of time?
No. The longer anything is, the harder it is to keep people’s attention. That doesn’t mean you can’t go long, but if you do go long it has to be really good and intentional. In general go short. It is better for the volunteers. It is easy for ‘long’ to be boring – the reality is that going longer you run the risk of boring people.
If my fundraiser bombs what do I do then?
I guess just like my first false start, you need to learn from experiences. And keep learning. If your fundraiser did bad, reach out to those who did not support you and figure out what went wrong. Often did not put together a great message or you did not communicate the value. View the fundraiser as a learning opportunity if you fail or not do as good as you expect.
Speaking of value, here’s a thought:
Regarding communicating the value… I want you to know that getting a fundraising professional to do your fundraising campaign would cost you on average for a non-profit $3,000 to $5,000. I can tell you from my experience with youth leagues and high schools, that there is no way that is going to happen. That’s why I put together this package for you. I am convinced based on actual results that you will do as well spending a penny instead of each of those dollars.
How do I validate my fundraising ideas?
The only way to validate is to get donations. Giving away free stuff does not validate. Selling does. Bring in the donations and discounts. That validates ideas.
What will make me different from others doing fundraisers in my community?
What makes you different from the others in your area is your personality… your story. Tell your story and come across as a real, relatable human being. Not a stuffy sales letter from Wikipedia. Be real – even a little rough around the edges if that is real.
How do you deal with fear of starting a fundraiser?
I’ve learned that if I do something, then I you gain confidence and experience and capability. And then I have confidence. Courage comes before confidence. It feels scary starting, but you have to step up.
Right now there are a lot of people in fear. We just came out of the election. A lot of people disagree with each other. A lot of fear in the world. And last thing I want to talk about is politics. You don’t want to hear that here. One thing that is clear is that about half voted for one and have voted for another. And people on both sides have this incredible emotion of fear or rejection and even hatred for the folks on the other side. There’s reasons for it. A lot is changing and people feel left out.
Instead go abundance, gratitude, or improve your life or your sports program. Help more people. Be a hero to your community. It’s your decision. Get results. Take just one step today. Then one more tomorrow.
Why are you doing this?
I really want to make a positive impact on other people. Help more people. We need more of you taking the next step for the impact you can have on others. You can have huge success. That’s why I give out so much for free in the fundraising workshop. I only teach from experience, I don’t make things up.
I have ups and downs just like everyone else. Most of this is really your mental game. What is going on in your head – the inner game. It is important and ties back to running your sports program and stepping up the impact you can make in the lives of youth. For me, exercise is one of the secret weapons for being creative and being motivated.