Helping Your Team Set Personal Fundraising Goals

by Joe Garecht

Getting your key supporters to make – and stick to – personal fundraising goals is one of the toughest tasks that small and mid-sized non-profits face.  When it comes to your board, your major donor groups, your key fundraising volunteers and large event hosts, getting them to nail down set fundraising targets can be tricky, and motivating them to stay on target even trickier.

Personal Fundraising Goals Should be Ambitious, but Doable

The goals you set in conjunction with your supporters should be ambitious, but doable.  They should require the person who is fundraising on your behalf to really get out and work their network… but the goals shouldn’t be so ambitious that your supporters will lose heart or be unable to reach the goal no matter how much work they put in.

Take a look at your team member’s abilities, his or her contributions to the organization in the past, what their network looks like, and what type of fundraising opportunity you are working on (is this an event?  A mailing?  Direct asks?).

Discuss, Rather than Dictate

If possible, discuss the fundraising goals you would like to set for your team member openly with him or her.  Rather than sitting down with the person and saying, “We’d like you to raise $25,000 for our capital campaign,” have a discussion… ask your supporter what they think they can raise, what kind of time commitment they will be making to the effort, and how enthusiastic they are about fundraising for you.

Of course, sometimes, you will have to fit donors into defined groups.  For example, if you are holding a $500 event and the host committee is being asked to sell 10 tickets, you can’t have a discussion with a prospective host committee member and set a goal of 3 tickets with them.  If you set a minimum threshold for committee membership, you have to stick with it.

In circumstances like this, be careful who you invite onto the host committee… if you know someone can only sell 5 tickets, and the host committee is asked to sell 10, don’t ask the person onto the committee… they will only get discouraged.  Instead, find some other way to involve them in the event, and ask them to still consider selling those 5 tickets.

Motivate Along the Way

Once you’ve set a personal fundraising goal for your supporter, be sure to offer support and motivation along the way.  When dealing with volunteer fundraisers remember that the person who is fundraising for you is doing so without compensation, because they believe in your mission.  Offer them lots of praise, help when they need it, and occasional reminders about their target and how far they have to go to meet those personal fundraising goals.

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