Give Staff and Volunteers the Tools to Succeed

This is the third post in a series about holding your first fundraising event on a short timeline. While Greater Giving usually recommends our nonprofits start planning at least nine months ahead of time, that’s not always possible—so we created the The Definitive Guide to Successfully Running Your First Fundraising Auction to help you prioritize your time and resources on a short timeline. Watch for more tips, tricks, and time-saving ideas to get to the finish line.

Nobody is born knowing how to solicit items, ask for donations, or use a new kind of software.

What a seasoned fundraiser finds simple could be frightening for someone doing nonprofit work for the first time.

Especially for a first event, the best way to ensure the success of the group is to give each of your individual members the tools and training they need to reach their goals.

Curing Procrastination

 When you’ve never done something before, it can be daunting to even begin. How will you know how much time it takes? Where to start?

One of the major symptoms of a first-time fundraiser is procrastination—waiting too long to start tasks, such as sending out solicitation letters, until it’s too late to get answers.

There are two primary reasons for procrastination:

  1. Anxiety around the scale of the task (e.g. “Where do I even begin? How do I accomplish all this?”).
  2. The fear of not doing the task well.

Show Them How to Succeed

Training is key to cultivating a team that’s knowledgeable, confident, and capable.

  1. Hold at least one training early on teaching board and committee members how to go out and solicit auction items, in-kind donations, and paddle raise commitments. Sit down and act out calling potential donors, setting a meeting time, and pitching the organization in person. Practice making the ask for a donation with them so they feel confident talking about money!
  2. As you progress closer to event night, show your team how to use your technology. Run them regularly through what’s expected on the night of the event so everybody knows what to do and when!

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