When you’re in a public service position, from fire departments and police departments to EMS and other emergency medical service positions, you know that you often have to operate on a budget that’s too tight for your needs. Fundraising can help fill the gap, but you’re often too pressed for time to operate an effective fundraiser.

These fundraising tips will help you make the most of your fundraising opportunities so that when you’re ready to reach out to the public for help, you’ll get their best efforts.

  1. Choose Products That Are Easy To Sell

If you’re going to engage in a fundraiser, your best bet is to choose a product that people genuinely want. While many people will open their wallets for a cause they believe in, others will be more likely to buy what you have to offer if you can provide them with something that interests them.

Fastlane Fundraising offers two very simple but highly popular fundraising options: Done For You Fundraising Cards, which are designed to provide discounts to a long list of popular locations that your buyers will appreciate; and Do It Yourself Fundraising Cards, which allow you to contact local businesses and see what discounts they will be willing to offer supporters of your fundraiser. Whatever you choose to sell, keep in mind that the more people want it, the greater your profit will be.

  1. Let People Know Where The Money Is Going

People are often more interested in helping when they know exactly what their donations are going toward. Is your county in desperate need of new squad cars? Does your firehouse need an upgrade? Are your ambulances in need of a new type of equipment—drop resistant computers that can withstand the demands of emergencies, for example?

By telling people exactly what they’re helping to accomplish, you’ll increase their sense of connection to the fundraiser and increase the odds that they’ll be willing to donate.

  1. Pay Attention To The Kids

While kids might not have money to donate, they have more influence over their parents than you think. Appealing to a young demographic gets kids interested, which leads to increased parental notice of your fundraiser.

Not only that, parents are more likely to spend money on their kids than they are on themselves. If you aren’t using products that target children directly, think about how they benefit from the fundraiser. If you’re using fundraising cards, consider contacting some of the local kids’ favorite places to see if they’d be willing to offer a discount.

  1. Make It Fun

Fundraisers don’t have to be a drag—either for your donors or for you and your fellow public servants. Find ways to make it fun. Hold an in-office competition for who can sell the most fundraising cards in a day, celebrate your acquisition of the best sponsor in town, or simply look for ways to have fun with the fundraising process. It doesn’t have to be boring in order to be successful!

  1. Keep It Simple

Sure, hosting a big event is a lot of fun, not to mention a great way to draw a lot of interest from the community. It’s also a lot of work! Keeping your fundraising efforts simple does two things.

First, it decreases the stress on the individuals who have to organize it, making it more likely that they’ll participate again next year. Second, it decreases the expense you have up front, which means that you won’t inadvertently end up breaking even—or worse, losing money on your fundraiser—simply because it was poorly advertised.

  1. Choose Your Time Wisely

There are times of year when fundraisers abound in your town. Many of them are tied to the school calendar, since local schools are just as in need of extra money as you are. Choose the time for your fundraiser carefully.

In the early fall, when it seems like every sports team in town is engaged in some fundraiser or another, you’ll be competing with torn donors who only have so much money to donate. Waiting a couple of months could free the pathway and make it easier for you to get the funds you so desperately need.

On the other hand, tying your fundraiser to a particular holiday (encouraging people to buy stocking stuffers from you for Christmas, for example) is a great way to convince donors to designate funds they would have been spending anyway for your organization.

  1. Increase Incentives Within Your Department

The more people there are working on your fundraiser, the greater your profits will be. Unfortunately, many members of the department may be tired of fundraisers or simply feel that they don’t have the extra energy to put into it. Getting everyone interested will make it easier for you to reach a larger percentage of the community. Everyone can contribute in several easy ways, including:

  • Changing your email signature to mention the fundraiser
  • Discussing the fundraiser with friends and family members
  • Spreading the word on social media

Even small efforts can make a big difference, especially with the entire department working together!

You need a fundraiser that will help stretch the budget for your public service department further. Every cent matters when you’re operating on a tight (and often shrinking) budget. By reaching out to your community effectively, you can increase the funds you have available and make it possible for your team to operate more efficiently. These tips will help make that reality possible.