Starting From Scratch – How to Set Your Fundraising Goal

Starting From Scratch – How to Set Your Fundraising Goal

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In this edition of Starting from Scratch, we’ll show you how to set your fundraising goal, and why this is such a critical step in the fundraising process.

Setting your financial goal is an important step in the fundraising process.  You want to do it right so that:

1. You don’t come up short at the end of your campaign.
2. Your participants and supporters are comfortable.
3. You have a clear end in sight.

Why Is a Goal So Important?

Aside from being an important part of financial planning, your goal is all about confidence.

A clear goal gives donors and supporters the confidence that you are organized.  When people have this confidence, they feel reassured that their donation will be well-handled, and are more likely to donate.

Your participants will also feel confident in working towards something.  Setting a goal shows them that you are ‘on the ball’ and gives them a clear direction.

Finally, you’ll feel confident in your efforts knowing that you’ve planned out your needs, and given them a solid value.

Setting Your Goal in 3 Steps

Step 1:  Establish your time frame & break it down

Have you been tasked with a full year of fundraising, or just one fundraising event?

If it’s just one event, lucky you!  If you have a full year to plan, it’s best to break it down.  Depending on how your organization functions, you may break it down into annual quarters, or by event.  For example, if your organization is relegated to 3 events per year, you can easily divide your year into those 3 parts.

Step 2:  Question yourself

Note:  If you are planning several events or periods of time, repeat Step 2 for each one.

Ask yourself these three questions:

1. What are you raising funds for?

a. Are you purchasing supplies, funding renovations, paying off debt, financing general maintenance, donating to a charity, paying travel expenses, etc.

2. What are all possible costs involved?

a. List everything that applies.  Some commonly overlooked costs include: shipping fees, interest payments, permit fees, airport tax, cab fare, sales tax, installation fees, etc.

b. If you don’t know the exact cost of something, ask around, make an estimate and then round up.

3. Do you have a balance of funds to start with, or will you have to raise the entire amount?

Step 3:  Calculate your goal

Using your answers to the three questions above:

1. Add up all possible costs
2. Subtract any funds you currently have.
3. Round up your final figure.

Why round up?  There are two reasons:

1. It’s always better to end with extra money than too little.
2. Round numbers are easier to manage and promote.  If your actual goal is $976.83, round up to $1000.  If it’s $842, round up to $850.

Goal Setting Example:

Let’s say you’re raising funds for a youth group mission trip.  You have to fly there, but your accommodations, plus breakfasts and dinners are covered by the sister church you will be visiting.  You will be staying for five days.

Step 1 – Time Frame
For this example, we’ll say it’s the beginning of February, and the trip is planned for the beginning of June.  You have four months to reach your goal.

Step 2 – Questions

Question 1 – What are you raising funds for?

You’re raising funds to send 6 youths and 2 adult leaders on a mission trip within the US.

Question 2 – What are all possible costs involved?

– Roundtrip airfare: $375 x 8 people = $3000
– Airport tax: $40 x 8 people = $320
– Gas to drive to the airport = $50
– Airport parking for 1 week = $60
– Cab ride from airport to final destination x2 (4 people per cab) = $80
– Lunches out: $10 x 5 days x 8 people = $400

Question 3 – Do you have a balance of funds to start with?

You have $1500 from a previous fundraiser already saved.

Step 3 – Calculate

3000 (airfare)
320 (airport tax)
50 (gas)
60 (airport parking)
80 (cab)
  +400 (lunches)
$3910

3910 (total costs)
 -1500 (total you currently have)
$2410

The total amount you need to raise is $2410.  Let’s round that up to $2500.  $2500 is an easier number to work with, and gives you a little extra money in case any additional costs come up.

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