Working in nonprofits and fundraising can sometimes feel isolating - especially because you feel like you are constantly fundraising and asking others for money. It can lead to a lot of doors shut in your face and otherwise good people hanging up on you mid-sentence.
Without fundraising, though, your organization wouldn’t be able to put on events that benefit the whole community, or introduce projects that provide community-wide benefits. Things that everyone, whether they know it or not, appreciates.
Love it or hate it, fundraising is vital to the work you are doing, as well as the larger communities we all live and work in. In fact, fundraising is actually one of the best ways to evangelize a community around a common cause, and get them more involved in your organization.
When people get involved in your organization’s fundraising process, it can galvanize them and your surrounding community to support and be excited to do so, which in turn can help reinvigorate your own excitement about what your organization is doing, creating a feedback loop of positive reinforcement!
Here are a few of the specific ways efforts like portrait fundraising gets people involved!
1. Hosting Events Fosters Community
One of the best things about hosting an event of any kind is that it can energize your community around a date, time, and communal experience. Nothing is better for fostering community than creating space for people to come together, united by an idea or concept. An ice cream social, for example, unites people around something everyone can agree on: ice cream! Portrait fundraising, as another example, unites your community around family fun and happy memories, and can be incorporated as one smaller part of a larger event, or the main event itself.
2. Participation Breeds Intent
Once you have invited members of your staff, community, congregation, or neighborhood to an event, and they decide to attend, they actually become more invested in your organization - whether they know or it not. Simply by attending and participating in your fundraising, they will now be more dialed into what your organization is trying to accomplish, whether that just means following how the funding they helped raise is used or actually getting involved to see a project come to fruition. Simply by participating in a raise, they now have a mental link to follow up on the results!
3. Ambassadorship Encourages Advocacy
Another way that fundraising fosters community participation is when you ask your attendees and staff to reach out to their own communities to pitch in. Using a referral program to encourage participation is a great way to engage your community to become advocates in your cause through their own activity. If people participating are encouraged to sell twenty tickets to an event in order to reach their own personal goal, those people will be that much more eager to reach out to their own friends and family to get them to pitch in.
Real World Example:
Let’s say you are hosting a portrait fundraising to help raise money for a new building at your church. You want your congregation to pitch in, so you invite them to each try and sign up five portrait participants from their own personal networks. Each member who contributes will be that much more invested in the church getting its new building, because it will be part of their own personal story. “I got not just five, but seven of my friends to sign up for portraits so we can get the church it’s new building!”
If you don’t believe us, look at the success of girl scout cookies - not only are those cookies delicious, but you even feel guilty if you don’t help little Susie sell those last five hundred boxes, and we don’t even know why.
Hosting events of any kind is one of the best ways to get your community engaged with your organization. Hosting fundraising events, particularly ones with an ambassador referral incentive, increases participation and emotional investment in the success of your fundraising effort, which contributes to more engagement overall with your organization.
It’s like getting more likes and followers on a social media account: the more people who are “following” your organization, the more who will be invested in your success, and the more active of a following you have, the more “engagement” you will get with your activities and efforts.