Fundraising – down the back of the sofa?

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We recently helped a fundraiser stagger over the finishing line (as they put it themselves!) He’d exhausted the cash reserves of friends and family and was still exactly £43 short of their target.
We suggested he figuratively put his hand down the back of the sofa to see what he could find. An old gamer (he is getting on a bit but we mean he used to spend too much time – his admission – on his PS2)! he had about 25 PS2 games. He was astonished when we raised nearly £100 to blow through his target.
Don’t underestimate the value of your stuff – hit your target or get off to a flying start without putting your hand in your pocket.
In this case you needn’t even worry about setting up a page, just email us at info@bigfundraising.co.uk and we’ll pick up your stuff and turn it into cash for your cause.

Increase your income by 10%

When a community fundraises, it is pretty normal to identify those who are most likely to contribute. This could be because they are heavily invested emotionally, are wealthy, or have previously shown themselves to respond to a request.

But what about those who are heavy consumers of digital and other media? Or indeed just consumers (so that would be everyone then)? All of us have stuff at home that has value. You, as the fundraiser, just have to ask for it. And keep on asking. You could be on average 10% toward your target with no money changing hands…

Most valuable stuff

why not donate to charity?

why not donate to charity?

Donate the good stuff…

We touched previously on the importance of getting as many people as possible to support you. In community-based organisations this is not as much of a problem since you see each other regularly and know where to find each other (whether this is at work or church or at a school or sports club).
Another tip we’d like to impart (because we are discovering this ourselves) is that your supporters don’t always think about the value of their donated stuff and are sometimes then disappointed with the value realised.
Here then is your definitive (hardly, Ed) – well, anecdotal – list of most valuable stuff, or MVS:

  1. Old video games – PS2 games in particular are in demand;
  2. Video games – PS3/Xbox etc
  3. Cult DVDs – one man’s cult is another’s waste of space but don’t think something has no value because of your opinion;
  4. DVDs
  5. Text books and other specialist ‘Professional Development’ books;
  6. CDs;
  7. Books in general.

Most people are surprised that books are in dead last place because they have given so much pleasure to them. But the harsh truth is that most paper simply gets recycled (and we are happy to facilitate this) and as such only raises a nominal sum.
So, when you ask your supporters to donate, specify what you’d like because generous though J is being when donating a boxfull of books, it’d be far better for your fundraising effort if they dug around in the rather more dusty corners of their house for numbers 1 to 5 as outlined above.
Good luck!
The Bigfundraising team

How to maximise your fundraising efforts (all in)

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Here at Bigfundraising we often see fundraisers start strong and finish wondering why people haven’t contributed. These are common emotions and no doubt there is a curve describing the transition from elation and hope right the way through to desolation and, if not despair, a close cousin.

When you are asking people to contribute stuff – DVDs, video games etc.- instead of cash, the challenges are of the same ilk but mainfest in a slightly different way. For example, someone might intend to bring in their unused video games but never quite get around to it because it’s a hassle, in the same way that someone might want to contribute cash but never do so (or they could just be tight in which case they probably borrowed the DVD they didn’t donate and are a lost cause…).

But your community is strong, correct? And closely linked? Then you just need to press the right buttons and be unafraid of being pushy – successful fundraisers in such communities will sometimes only quit asking when the response becomes an exasperated ‘go away!’ because at least they know the message has been heard…

So:

  1. Get everyone on board – every single person with seniority (positional or time involved) needs to buy in;
  2. Use social media to promote and to keep promoting what you are fundraising for and how much – build a page with us and use that as a core tool;
  3. Keep a database of everyone who has contributed – make it an express aim to get everyone to donate;
  4. Use peer pressure to do so – create a table with all members on it and tick off those who have brought stuff in, even if it is only a couple of DVDs;
  5. Make sure that people realise this is a collective effort – that in the same way a cricket team can’t win if only five people turn up, so it is with a fundraising effort;
  6. Because you are asking people to physically bring in things which may be difficult to transport (or embarrassing to be seen in public with), ensure that those with transport help those without;
  7. Provide plastic bags or boxes to help supporters and to remind them to use them;
  8. Have a focal point in your clubhouse, company, school, church etc. that has posters explaining what you are asking for and what for and that is clearly set aside as a repository for donations (don’t worry, we’ll pick your stuff up when you are ready);
  9. Celebrate when you hit milestones (25%, 50% to target) and use it as an excuse to push out your message again;
  10. To avoid despair, keep pushing and simply don’t accept that people have nothing to bring in – at the very least, someone will have an expensive career development textbook that they will not only be glad to get rid of but will be worth a lot more than they think.

Good luck!

The Bigfundraising team

Clubs, subs & pubs

Need a new pavilion?

Need a new pavilion?

It’s bad enough when you are club captain doing the rounds asking for subs, eating into the beer fund. It’s a thankless task at the best of times.

And then, usually when least needed (for example, in the middle of a recession…well maybe the end but you get our drift), the pavilion needs a new roof, or the goal posts are rotten, perhaps the lights need a new junction box, possibly the entire six teams need a new strip.

Where is the cash coming from? Cue fundraising committee, enormous amount of time spent both creating and enacting fundraising activity.

How about you let us take the strain? Build a page with us (let’s face it you’ve already got one with Justgiving or Virgin haven’t you?) and using the same principal, ask supporters to…well, support you.

But instead of asking them to lighten their wallets, ask them to do a bit of a clear-out, a late spring clean, a reclamation of space previously devoted to unwanted DVDs, music albums and video games.

Get them to bring this stuff down to the clubhouse and we at Bigfundraising will pick it up and turn it into cash. At no charge.

What other fundraising effort will yield 10% of your target*?

The Bigfundraising team
* our numbers are not statistically valid but this percentage seems to be eminently doable

It helps if we all pull together – how to fundraise efficiently

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We just read a great post by Seth Godin about how to get everyone to contribute (at work, to a cause etc). For those of you asking supporters/members etc to bring in their unwanted stuff to turn into cash, he has good insight.

His main point is that you must empower people to contribute otherwise it is too easy for the majority to always expect someone else to do the heavy lifting.

At Bigfundraising we often see that a very small proportion of supporters (as low as 10%) contribute all of the stuff donated – a sort of Pareto’s Law on steroids. If you as a fundraiser can simply get everyone to contribute something, the buzz and feed that is generated results in a second wave of donations.

Make the ask personal – many people don’t bring in their stuff because they think it is worthless – it might not be worth much to that person, but if five hundred people, or a thousand all bring in one DVD and one Video Game, you have the base of a great fundraising effort.

You can see the full post from Seth here.

 

A golf club fundraising vignette

bill murray and chevy chase

At bigfundraising we know that despite your desire to raise money, sometimes it feels like nobody feels your pain. Well, we do. The supporter who says he will bring in some old clubs to be auctioned off; the member who keeps ‘forgetting’ to visit your ‘donations’ page.

Bigfundraising was founded out of just this frustration and this tale is a true story.Well, it could have been…

Most club Captains will choose a charity to support during their period in ‘power’ even as their game goes downhill and the vagaries of office conspire to make them realise they have even less authority than they’d thought. One of the frustrating things about choosing a charity of the year for you to support is getting your members on board.

We at Bigfundraising have given this much thought and concluded that if you can get yourself off to a flying start, members will be much more likely to get behind your cause.

So, in no particular order:

1. choose your cause wisely – we’ve lost count of how many fundraising campaigns bite the dust because they just don’t resonate with donors (actually, that one does need to be first);

2. be bold but reasonable, the two aren’t mutually exclusive but there needs to be a raised eyebrow rather than a sharp intake of breath when the goal is unveiled;

3. don’t just go for cash – use Bigfundraising to get your members to bring in their unwanted DVDs, video games (get them to nick their childrens’) and those expensive hardback books clogging up their bookshelves;

4. this allows you to start fast – up to 10% of your target should come from this stuff people have lying around at home.

It takes 2 minutes to set up a bigfundraising page, and you can start getting those dusty items lying around the house turned into cash for your charity of the year.. Start here now.

Whatever happens, you still get the parking slot though, right? The Bigfundraising team

Why bigfundraising and what’s it all about?

As with many things frustration with the status quo created bigfundraising – or at least it was the motivating factor. Got stuff at home you want to get rid of? Well, your choice is pretty much to either take it down to the tip or drop it off at a local charity shop. Which might solve your desire to have a clear-out but doesn’t give you much choice.

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A lot of people do this though. Charity shops in the UK have a turnover of £750 million per year. Yep, three quarters of a billion pounds, £750,000,000.

I know, we were astonished too when we saw these figures. If you want to support the top ten or so charities that can afford to run charity shops, happy days. And if you don’t care, likewise.

But if you want to donate your stuff to an organisation not set up to receive it, not so fast. Your local church or school? Nope. The rugby club your son plays at? Nope. This is what bigfundraising is for – to help the up to 900,000 community organisations in the UK to turn their supporters’ stuff into cash.

It doesn’t matter how small or big you are, bigfundraising lets you ask supporters to donate the stuff they have at home that is not being used. It is, quite literally, useless…to them. But not to you. Build your page and promote to your supporters and we will do the rest.

The bigfundraising team.

Charity of the Year fundraising – early lessons from a large bank

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We’re yet to see the numbers but bigfundraising picked up the first Charity of the Year donations from its first corporate client yesterday. Eight crates of books, DVDs, Video Games and CDs. Surprisingly (well, to us anyway) five of those crates contained books rather than digital media.

It’s difficult to tell how people react to this sort of ask by a fundraising committee but it is possible to discern some early trends:
1. if you ask them people will bring some quite awkward items into the office;
2. make sure you have somewhere for them to leave their stuff (like a packing crate) and which are easy to move;
3. you need to keep on asking and reminding – once is not enough;
4. …nagging is the way forward.

We’re going to run this again but this time using Facebook and twitter to back-up.

We are also thinking about getting some branded and re-inforced plastic bags printed that employees can take home and which will act as a visual spur to action.

Once we have the numbers we’ll post them here.

The BFR team