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What workplace tips do you have for fundraising?


Veteran (100+ posts)
After seeing else where on the internet a discussion about how best to use workplace experience to enhance volunteering I wondered what advice/tips do we have to pass on, particularly with fundraising? What social media works, how best to phrase a letter asking for raffle prizes etc?

In the past I worked as a cashier in a supermarket, and as a result I used to come into contact with charity bag packers. Things that I picked up on:

*Brief those packing with a set concise spiel, and have a small flyer on hand. We know some girls aren't natural speakers and so might not give the best "pitch", a flyer might give them a bit of a boost and work as promotion for the unit.
*Likewise be direct about why you are collecting.The best collections I have seen are where they stated what they are specifically fundraising for that day, before talking about their group. If the money is for a specific trip for BP girls to go to Disneyland don't lead with waffle about how the unit takes in girls from all walks of life to do general unit activities that the money collected won't be spent on. Youth groups talking about "disabled members" in their introduction resulted in customers asking if those members were going on the trip, following a "no" accusations of being misleading followed. Sadly some customers are not afraid to be quite "blunt" with young people collecting- especially if its for something that could be seen as a "jolly" (collecting to repair the Scout Hut roof vs that Disney trip).

*Continuing from this, be aware many stores do weekly community slots so some people may have a slight "charity fatigue" by being asked for money each time they do their weekly shop. You may be following a slightly emotive charity, or come after several weeks of youth groups going on dance competitions and school trips abroad. Management tried to balance them out but it did sometime impact how generous people felt if for the third week running they were presented with a fundraiser rather than a collection for a "cause" IYKWIM.

*If you can have two girls on the end of a till do, it's quicker and means one girl can chat whilst the other helps the next customer. Pop an older girl with a younger one to support them. Also in many stores cashiers are timed on the system for how efficient they are, so appreciate not being held up!

*I noticed that after bag charges came in less people were using bags or preferred to pack themselves. Even if people didn't want help, if the packers didn't start a conversation between themselves they often still got a "tip". I'm not sure if the changes have had an impact on how much units have brought in, but remember most supermarkets also have some other form of "community support" such as free sessions, tours, fruit or veg for free, or being on a token point.

*Please be mindful of that the cashier has to do their job. Let them talk to the customer first and allow for questions they might need to ask at the end of the transaction (normally if they have a store card and cash back). Also please don't ask if you can collect the points from their shopping/use your reward card if they haven't got one, or make comments about their shopping!

Some of this may seem a bit negative but it's all based on events that have happened. A good "working relationship" increases your chances of being allowed back. If the store has had to refund broken items from being mispacked or had customer complaining about why the store had selected your cause, it's not worth the hassle with so many groups requesting to come in. I know of one group (not Guiding) that ended up being blacklisted due to this, and it got round to other companies in the area, but other groups get an annual invitation. I'd also say that the amounts groups raised really varied, if you really struggle to get girls to come to fundraisers and need a certain large amount of money, it might be too unreliable for some units.

Edited for format and phrasing!
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I work in an organisation which regularly gets letters in asking for funding/donations. We have limited resources to offer for this, those who stand the greatest chance of getting support are:

Those which explain why they have chosen to ask us. Is it a local charity and enabling us to support our local community? Are some of our staff involved in it? Is there a link between the cause and what we do (approaching a health-related company for a medical cause)? Or were we just plucked out of the phone book at random?

Those which explain clearly what they want. You may be thinking 'as much money as possible'! But realistically, is it goods, is it money, how much would be useful? Why should we guess?

Those who justify. Is this something to benefit others, an educational experience for yourself - or just 'a jolly'. Why should we pay for your exotic holiday?

Those who offer something in return. Are you offering to be photographed for our publicity, or to write an item for our staff newsletter, or to talk to some of our staff? Or is it all take and no give . . .


Veteran (100+ posts)
Staff member
Tailor your letter to businesses for raffle prizes - do some basic research on who you are asking, and for what, and why.

The company I work for provides a service which loads of folk (who don't use the service for work) would probably love to experience. But, it costs us thousands of pounds an hour to provide that service. So, its unlikely we can offer our "service" as an actual prize. Be realistic about what companies can offer - many will genuinely be inundated with requests which they can't always support; many companies will support their own charity - in which case you might do better approaching them to be considered as next year's support charity. Further, we don't tend to have a stock of corporate "goodies" to hand out, so no thermal mugs / power banks etc. So, if you're lucky you might get a bottle of wine or box of chocolates - something unrelated to our business.
Other businesses may well be able to offer you a prize related to the goods or services they supply (e.g. bouquet of flowers from the florist, gift voucher, bottle of wine from the off-licence etc) - but it's potentially quite low value.

Low value is fine if it's a cloakroom raffle at the end of coffee morning. But if you're looking to do a "big" fundraiser, you may need more in the way of "star" prizes and may want to consider whether it's appropriate to buy some good prizes, the cost of which is borne from the money raised (speculate to accumulate logic).

Explain WHY you are fundraising. There's so much competition for attention, and ultimately money.


Veteran (100+ posts)
Talking to a friend who works as a social media type person:

She said that the key things for having social media accounts for something like a unit is: keep them running regularly and with a clear target (for general advertising what the unit has been up to, for a specific event/fundraise, or just for parents).

Top tips:
*Post all the time not just when you are fundraising (when people go and search the unit what will they find? A dynamic and interesting unit that do a variety of things, or a stream of requests for funds?)
*Post the results of the fundraising, even if it's a pile of donated items for a jumble sale as well as the sports equipment from collecting vouchers
*Have several leaders with access to accounts even if it's one leader who is in charge of posting and interactions
*Certain forms of social media are very "interactive". Make sure to check the comments, someone might be offering to help and be left unanswered
*Take advantage of any free social media/PR training Guiding might offer. There is a whole world of hashtags and tagging that make the unit look sleek and professional
*If they fall out of use or there are several accounts lurking about consider deleting them or restricting the view until some one can use them again. It doesn't look good for the only posts to be a couple of years out of date when someone searches for the unit.


Veteran (100+ posts)
Talked to a relative who works in a lesuire centre:

  • We most likely will not give you free use of the whole pool for a swimathon, but if you pick a non busy time slot we might be able to allow you exclusive use of the lane on the far side for a couple of girls.
  • Please do not just turn up and dominate several lanes if not prearranged. It’s not fair on other pool users and management might not agree with it looking like we are supporting your cause.
  • If you do hire the pool or part of it please remind parents and girls to follow usual pool rules, please no outside shoes, photos/phones or food at the side, and try to avoid crowding out other pool users. Please respect the amount of adults we allow on the side.
  • Our higher ups often want to know what else you are doing for fundraising (basically are you going to make your target) and your plan for what you want to do at the centre especially if you are trying to wrangle a free or reduced use of a space. Even if we are partly local authority run we are still a business.
  • Being turned down isn’t personal, we often have our own charity/agenda, your idea might not match our health and safety policy (children on one of our fixed bikes in the foyer has been turned down few times before)
  • Even if we can’t help host fundraisers there might be a community board we can advertise on.