Youth mentoring programs like Big Brothers and Big Sisters need help and support if they are to continue providing services. First Lady Laura Bush openly supports this organization through a commercial on the cable channel Nickelodeon. Businesses, individuals and schools also show support.
Ideas for support include fundraising and donation requests. Yet, which ideas will net the greatest amount of dollars? This is where marketing skills can help. Every organization needs potential donors to know its mission, focus and goals. The plans for how services take place and member feedback also need to reach the donors.
A good marketing team creates a plan to raise awareness and money. They locate companies and individuals known for high dollar donations. These people also have deep pockets, established contacts and a positive reputation. The team works with them to encourage support and involvement. How the people get, and remain, involved is another aspect the team handles.
Communication is a requirement for the plan to work. Problem solving skills may reduce the threat of rejection. For example, if a fortune 500 company agrees to support an organization like the Girl Scouts, they may back out if verification of facts about the group does not take place in a timely manner. The team should anticipate potential problems and develop resolutions in advance of trouble.
Negotiation and persuasion tactics become vital in different stages of the support process. Persuading a company or individual to offer financial support takes facts, images and style. Having a portfolio of the benefits to the community may increase the chances for receiving support. Part of this may entail photos of members working to resolve issues and being good team players. Numbers and graphs can show strength, particularly if they prove growth.
Focusing on youth mentoring programs, the team may want to remember whom they are trying to help. By talking with the youth involved, the team can experience the wealth of the organization. Families, leaders and community members should be involved in this process. Numbers and photos tell part of the story, the youth themselves can tell the whole story because they represent the organization. If they do this in a lackluster manner, the entire image will seem amiss
Later in the process, negotiation is important because the team knows the donation goal needed. By working to increase the amount of support, the team can reach more of their goals by balancing the requests of the donors. If a donor would like to receive a full-page ad in the organization’s magazine, the team can ask for more money than if the donor only wants a simple thank you letter.
Youth mentoring programs will often have a myriad of locations throughout an area. This area may cover an entire region, country or the world. The team will need to seek volunteers for translating and interpreting; thus, keeping communication alive. They may also seek knowledge of the cultures they may interact with; thereby, reducing the problem of committing unintentional offenses.
After the team locates donors, creates awareness of an organization and implements initial financial requests, they must develop the next level in the plan. This is where high energy and fun thinking take place. Contests, events and prizes usually gain plenty of attention in this stage.
These may include:
Bringing in a colorful, large van with balloons and freebies for people who show curiosity and donate. These can be found at supermarkets, games and fairs.
Hosting a large-scale dinner with a fun theme like a luau or a jungle hunt.
Using a decorative, “cool” vehicle for a contest to determine who can hold a hand on it the longest.
Some of the more creative ways a team may raise support involve:
Renting a food shaped vehicle and placing a sign on it that reads, “Follow me to ________ and help support _________!”
Hiring servers in tuxedoes to use silver dome covers and platters to deliver donation requests to the offices of fortune 500 companies.
Handing out roses to donors as they help fill a 500-gallon tank with loose change and dollars.
Hanging a sign on a cow that reads, “Skip the meat, show me the money!”
Asking people to crack open realistic, fake “eggs” and donate more than the amount inside them.
Offering to wear an outrageous costume if a 300 gallon cannot be filled within six hours.
The team will need to consider costs, its own revenue and goals, the contract it has with the organization it is helping and the potential reach of ideas. It will need to determine the geographies and demographics of the area it plans to use. If an area is prone to rain, outdoor events will not be likely. By considering the age, status and income of an area, the team will know whether the meeting of goals is possible.
Successful fundraising ideas involve time, money, patience, and skills. The right team with the best plans will bottom out if the willingness and social habits do not remain a priority as well. Failure to heed this will ensure rejection by donors.