Thursday, April 10, 2008

Planning a Concert for a fundraiser

Things you need to do in order to have a successful concert as a fundraising event. For simplicity purposes I will discuss this as a Church group but it could be for any type of organization, just adjust your contacts to reflect your audience.

If you are a non-profit you can PSA's on the radio as well as television.

If you have a church youth group that you want to have a fundraising concert for you could also check with a Christian radio station and see if they would like to co-sponsor the event with you. Or perhaps the Interfaith Council would like to join in on the fun & funds!

Don't forget to contact your Interfaith Council and get their mailing lists and have them put it in their bulletins and to have them mention it at church. Also ask to set up ticket sales at the churches after services--get a volunteer for each service.

Got posters? Get them up places where the kids hang out. Make sure you ask the musical group to send you a promo kit. If they don't have one see what you can print off the net.

See if your local radio station would like to do a pair of ticket give away once a day for the last week, or the week before. It will get you plenty of advertising for 14 tickets.

See if one of the musicians (or all of them) will do a phone interview with the radio station. Have the station play some things from their CD.

Are you going to have a program? Sell advertising space in it. See if you can get a printer to donate it. Make sure the band sends you jpeg files so you can upload pictures.

Got the hotel booked for the musicians? Get your confirmation number. Who will be picking them up? Meals? Arrange for a nice gift at the hotel for them.

Know their lighting needs. Do they come with a lighting guy? Sound guy? What special requests do they have for the stage? Do they use pyrotechnics? What permits are needed? Is there a place for them to change? A place to take a break? Plenty of water? Or soda? Snacks or sandwiches? What happens on stage during their break?

You need ushers--and flashlights. And chairs if you don't have a standard auditorium. Arrnge for the musicians to have an opportunity to sell their CDs. Usually there would be a table at the back where after people have heard them they can make a purchase. You'll need a volunteer there too. And, everywhere you sell tickets, and their CD's, you'll need to have plenty of change.

Don't forget to get volunteers for clean up after--and remember to do something special for all those who volunteered. (Maybe all volunteers get a CD?) One of the cheaper things for volunteers is to buy them all t-shirts that match and that they will wear to identify themselves as a volunteer. You could have them printed up quickly to say 'YOU'VE GOT TO LOVE A VOLUNTEER'.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Filing a 501 (c) (3) status for Non-Profits

You need to make sure you've filed all the proper paperwork for your non-profit status. This will allow you to have a 501 (c)(3) status makin you tax exempt. Hopefully, you've found a lawyer to be a member of your Board. I strongly recommend that you have this lawyer review all the paperwork and file on behalf of the organization.

You will need to get the form 1023 and get the application and publication 557, which you wil find through the IRS. You can get these forms through a download at .

Do make certain that you've filed within 15 months of establishing your organization or filing your Articles of Incorporation. If you have not done this within this time you will not be able to claim your tax excempt status.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Add A Blog!

You can add a blog to your website and talk about your cause and keep it in front of your donor audience.

You can set up a blog at or both of these are free services. Or if you're a bit more advanced and want more of a professional blog you may want to try where you will have a monthly fee of up to $15.

Once you've done this you may want to learn more about blogging if you're a novice. There are two easy to follow books 'Blogging for Dummies' and 'Start Your Own Blogging Business'.

Write a Press Release about your blog and submit it to your local newspapers. I'll teach you how to do this later, but establish a number of entries on your blog first.

Make sure you use 'tags' or 'labels' that will make it easy for those to find you when they do a search. These 'tags' will be words that tie into your blog post for that day.

One of the things you want to do in your blog, that may be different than your website, is update how you are doing in reaching your goal. Perhaps you want to highlight a new member who has spent volunteer time helping your cause. (Everyone likes to see their name in print as long as you're writing something nice!) Remember to give them lots of public accolades! List any new events that may be coming up and write up a review of any past events. Adding photos will get prospective donors to continue to look at your site. There are many people who want to keep up with the Joneses!

As an example, one of my favorite types of non-profits are those that support our environment and wildlife. So, if that were your cause you could write about a different bird each week--include its migratory pattern, how it nests, what its nests are made of, how many are thought to exist, how long their eggs need to hatch, who are their natural predators, their habitat, what they need in order to survive, things that endanger their habitat, etc. Each week bird enthusiasts would return to your blog to educate themselves about a new bird. So do try to educate in your blog.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Develop Your Mission Statement

Your Mission Statement is your reason--it's the reason you started this non-profit. It's why you work long hours for little pay. It's your calling. It's what keeps you awake at night and eats away at your soul until you do something about it.

It's best if you can keep it simple enough for you, and others, to remember. It should fit nicely on the top or bottom of your stationery and on your newsletter. You want to keep this in front of the public.

Can you recite your mission statement? Can you list the key factors? If you already have a board, sit down with them and ask them to write one sentence that best describes the main reason your organization exists. You may find variety of answers depending on their own view point. Some people will look at it as providers, others may be from consumers, some from the legal aspects, and others may be from the management end of the business.

Find the common denominators among the statements. Now look at those statements that encompass every aspect of your organization. This may a very broad statement, but it's a place to begin. As you bring on your staff and board of directors (if you are a start up) you want to include them in on your vision for the organization. Don't expect people to share your exact vision. Have a group discussion and remember YOU are not the organization. In order to have everyone 'buy into' the organization they must have a piece of the vision.

Every few years staff and board should sit down and review this mission statement. Make certain that it really is reflecting what the organization is doing, and WANTS to do in the future. If it is, great. If it's not, then make the changes.

Remember every time you change your mission statement that you need to file it with the IRS along with your 501 (c)(3) application.

So You Want to Start A Non-Profit....

As I would speak to various groups about fundraising I'd often be asked the question, "How do I go about getting 501 (c)(3) status?" Perhaps you want to apply for some grants that are specifically set up for no-profits; or maybe you want your donors to be able to have a tax deduction from supporting your organization. Whatever the reason there are guidelines you must follow. Let's take a look at how you begin this process.

Your organization must be recognized by filing articles of incorporation. If you do not know the agency in your state that would be responsible for this contact your Secretary of State. Their number will be listed under your state government listings or your can find them through the Governor's office.

You also have the responsibility to apply to the IRS for application for Federal Income Tax Exemption. This is publication number 557, Tax-Exempt Status for Your Organization. This can also be downloaded from the IRS website. If you're really a novice at this I would recommend you find a mentor--perhaps someone from the SCORE program (check with your local Chamber of Commerce). They will likely be able to provide you with any technical assistance you may need. Also contact your local bar association for a referral to someone who has worked with non-profits in the past. Do not be afraid to ask them if they do 'pro-bono' work or if they will discount their typical fees.

And now you wait. Consider yourself lucky if this is done within six months. :-) So have lots of patience, and definitely be working on acquiring board members who share in your vision AND CAN OFFER YOUR NON-PROFIT ASSISTANCE! More on this later.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Short-Term Fundraising Goals

If you're doing a fundraiser with a short term goal there are an infinite number of products that can help get you profits in a hurry. Some of the most popular are:

Cookie dough---lots of different companies
Flower bulbs
Scratch tickets

Some products you will be asked to pay for upfront and others you can collect all the funds and then pay. Companies vary so do shop around.

These items are best sold in a two week period. Anything longer and the group may lose their sense of 'urgency' and anything less and they may fall short of their $$$$ goal amount.

So what types of groups benefit the most from this type of fundraising?

Church groups
Youth groups
Little league
Scout groups

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Fundraising Opportunities

Fundraising jobs for the week of January 14th, 2008

Direct Marketing Specialist
Forrester Research Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States

Executive Director
Congregation Etz Chaim Marietta, Georgia, United States

Associate Director, Major Gifts, Chicago Reg Ofc
University of Chicago Chicago

Executive Director/Head of School
East Baltimore Development Inc Baltimore, Maryland, United States

Senior Editor
Council for Advancement and Support of Education Washington, Dist. Columbia, United States

Web Writer/Editor
Save the Children Westport, Connecticut

Web Content Manager
Save the Children Westport, Connecticut

Executive Director
Foundation for Physical Therapy Alexandria, Virginia, United States

Development Manager
Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy San Francisco, California, United States

Event Planner
Ontario Non-profit Housing Assoication Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Dean, College of Education
Armstrong Atlantic State University Savannah, Georgia, United States

Assistant Director of Advancement Services
Clark University Worcester, Massachusetts, United States

Alaska Coalition Coordinator
Alaska Wilderness League Washington, Dist. Columbia, United States
Washington, United States

Database Coordinator
Alaska Wilderness League Washington, Dist. Columbia, United States

Part-time Sesquicentennial Celebration Chairperson
North Central College Naperville
Media Relations Manager, Marketing Resource Center (MRC) - South

The Nature Conservancy Altamonte Springs, Florida, United States

Executive Director
Children's Museum of Bozeman Bozeman, Montana, United States

Research Associate
Helen Brown Group New England area, United States

Sr. Major Gifts Officer
Illinois Institute of Technology Chicago

Assistant Director - The Leadership Center
Fort Lewis College Durango, Colorado, United States