Most non-profits are small – they have no full-time staff, raise five (not six or seven) figures per year, and are volunteer-driven. Because these schools, churches, and smaller charities have no professional staffs, they must rely on their supporters and volunteers to do their fundraising for them.

If you’re helping a small non-profit hold a fundraiser, here are 5 tips to ensure a successful effort:

1. Put Together a Committee Holding a fundraiser takes lots of work. Put together a group of people who are committed to the non-profit and are willing to raise money as part of your fundraising effort. Remember: you’ll want your host committee to reach into their own networks to fundraiser for this event, so be sure the people you choose are willing to make calls, and aren’t just interested in choosing the catering menu.

2. Have a Plan Every fundraiser – no matter how small or large – should have a written plan. What are the logistics? How much with the fundraiser cost? Who is responsible for set up? For clean up? Who will we invite? Who will sponsor the event? How much should we charge? What will our profit be?

3. Keep Your Costs Down The less money you spend on your fundraiser, the more money will go to support the non-profit you are working with. Keep a close eye on fundraising event costs, and be sure to resist the urge to overspend, particularly if this is a small event.

4. Maximize Your Profit Are you taking advantage of all of the possible ways to raise additional money around your fundraiser? Does your event have sponsors who write larger checks in return for marketing and public relations opportunities? Did you see if you could get event materials donated or at reduced cost? Should you add a silent auction, a candy sale, a raffle, or another revenue stream to your fundraiser?

5. Communicate With Your Supporters Once your fundraiser is over, be sure to stay in touch with your donors and attendees. They have shown that they care about your non-profit… keep them informed and updated, and you’ll be able to go back to them for another donation in the near future!


--- Joe Garecht is the founder of The Fundraising Authority (, which offers hundreds of free articles on how to raise money for small and mid-sized non-profits.