It’s high noon. You’re sweaty, tired, and you haven’t seen a single soul in what feels like hours. At this point, you’re beginning to wonder if any exist – much less any who will buy the decidedly saccharine lemonade sloshing in the obnoxiously colored pitcher on your table. At some point, another member of your team comes by to anxiously check the cash box. You open in; a lonely quarter clatters onto the table – and right into a sticky well of spilled lemonade.
You don’t have to sit in your organization’s parking lot to raise money for a cause – there are better ways.
Fundraising can’t happen without an accessible pool of potential donors. Fundraising in front of the organization you’re fundraising for may seem appropriate, but odds are that you’ll only catch the odd passerby or volunteer. Moreover, raising money is often only half the battle for fundraisers – for most organizations, charity events are also intended to raise awareness for the cause itself, and inspire those who may not have known about it previously to get involved.
A well-trafficked location is a must. Large, common chain stores are excellent locations because they typically provide a constant, steady stream of potential donors. Try setting up in front of your local Walmart, Home Depot, supermarkets, drugstores, or even in central areas of the mall, and consider timing your fundraising to take advantage of weekend shopping rushes!
That said, organizers should always, always make sure to get permission to fundraise in such locations. There’s nothing more embarrassing than losing a day’s work by being shooed away from your table by building security. To be on the safe side, write up a proposal a week or two in advance, and submit it to your location’s manager ahead of time. If you can, get their permission in writing to prevent any clerical mishaps that might otherwise cause a wrongful eviction.
Set up an eye-catching stand or table.
A prime location is worthless if no one realizes that you’re fundraising. Set up a brightly-colored and easily-visible table, ideally with a large poster listing your organization’s name and a call to action. If you’re selling goods, make sure to arrange a nice spread and have your cashbox ready. Volunteers can even wear matching t-shirts with the organization’s logo to pique passerby’s interest.
Have a marketing spiel prepared.
Grumpy mothers hauling their children on weekend errands don’t want to stand awkwardly while you read a prepared statement in monotone. In all likelihood, they’ll leave you mid-speech and ignore your stammered pleas for attention on the way out.
Have your talking points prepared, but don’t read a your call-to-action – word-for-word repetition divests your ask of its needed personability. Be a person, not a fundraising machine! Passerby are more likely to donate if they like the volunteer they speak to – so be charismatic! Engage with potential donors by explaining your cause and why you, personally, think that they should support it.
Pop-up fundraising can take time, effort, and preparation – but when done right, can yield tremendous results. In the end, a successful pop-up fundraising campaign can not only raise funds for your organization, but also leave you with the satisfaction of knowing that you helped boost awareness for a worthy cause in your community.