Fundraising can be an exciting and rewarding achievement if it is done correctly.  Perhaps your child is selling items for a school function (in which case you will likely need to provide assistance) or you’ve been asked to be part of a fundraising team where you work.  Abiding by the following seven steps will help you stay focused and will keep you on track until the end.

Get familiar with the product and/or organization

The first thing you will want to do is familiarize yourself with the product and/or organization.  Begin by looking over the product catalog and learn more about the organization or cause you are raising funds for so you can articulate this eloquently when asked.  Are you fundraising for an organization or cause that is well-know with in the community or is it a fairly new organization or cause that not many people have heard of?  Does your product catalog have only two to three items or do you have pages of items?  Are you not selling an item but rather asking for an outright cash donation?  Answering these questions thoroughly before you begin will set you out on the right foot.

Determine a timeline

Next you will want to determine what your timeline entails.  Do you have one week to fundraise?  One month?  Determine how long it is between when you initially start and when you need to have your fundraiser completed.

Set an attainable goal

Probably one of the most crucial steps is to set an attainable goal.  You want to set your goal just high enough so you can reach it but not too high so it can’t be attained.  Likewise, you don’t want to set it too low that you end up surpassing it right off the bat.  You can use previous fundraisers as a guide or seek the advice of a person in charge of the fundraising activities.  Or you may have given a goal when you initially started so your goal has been predetermined for you.  Also, is your goal to sell a set number of items or is it to raise a specific amount of money?

Develop a prospect list

Next, sit down and create a prospect list.  Don’t “over think” it too much and write down any names that come to mind.  Think of close relatives, neighbors, co-workers, friends, members of a community service group, and acquaintances.  Use software such as Excel to keep track of any important information such as their address, phone number, email address, and what they agreed to buy or any monetary amount they agreed to donate.

Create a pyramid

Use software such as Publisher to create a pyramid model.  Determine how many prospects you need to have at each level in order to reach your goal.  For example, if your goal is to raise 500 dollars for a non-profit organization your pyramid might consist of one individual at 100 dollars, two individuals at fifty dollars, eight individuals at twenty-five dollars, and ten individuals at ten dollars.  Go back to your prospect list and determine who would most likely be willing to make a donation at one of those levels.  Perhaps you know Grandma and Grandpa have a deep loyalty to the non-profit organization you are raising funds for and you feel comfortable asking them for a donation at the 100 dollar level.  


One of the most important things to do while fundraising is to have fun!  It sounds simple but many people forget that if you don’t believe in the cause you are raising funds for it will show and turn people off.  Make sure you are enthusiastic and positive.  Believe in the cause and will you will have success. 

Update and keep track of your prospect list

As you begin to solicit individuals, keep track of who has said yes, no, or maybe.  If an individual has said “yes” then you know you can adjust your pyramid to reflect that achievement.  If someone has said “no” then you are aware that you can move onto your next prospect.  And if someone has told you “maybe” then make sure to come back to them as you get closer to attaining your goal and ask them to make a commitment.

Reach your goal!  By following these seven steps you are on the right path to reaching your goal.  If you remain positive and stay focused by using these seven steps you will have success in your fundraising endeavors.