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What is a Proposal for a Fundraiser and Why Create One?
A proposal for a fundraiser is a written document that outlines the purpose and objectives of any fundraiser that an organization wishes to plan. While proposals are generally drawn up for larger events - galas, 5Ks, etc. - it is useful to create a proposal no matter what the fundraising event. After all, proposals help organizations to clarify fundraising objectives, be realistic about their budget, and schedule when milestones need to be completed by.
A sample proposal for a fundraiser has been provided in the media gallery. You may wish to download the template before you continue to read so you can follow along and enter relevant information. I have created a sample proposal for a fundraiser in docx format and a sample fundraising template in the Word 97-2003 format for your convenience. Feel free to download the appropriate template for your company's use.
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Cover Page & Table of Contents
The cover page of your proposal should contain the most basic information about your fundraiser. What is the name of the organization? What is the date the proposal was created? What is the name of the project - yes, project. By treating your fundraiser as a project management effort, you will increase the chances your fundraising project will succeed. Finally, you will want to list the names of each person involved with the creation of the project proposal.
While not every proposal will go into enough detail to warrant a table of contents, you might consider adding one to your proposal if it's longer than a few pages. This makes it easy for everyone to find what they need to when looking to it as a reference.
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Summary and Introduction
The first two sections of your fundraising proposal will likely be the last you write. In the summary, you will state the purpose of your fundraiser, your goals (as bullet points) and a brief description of what the fundraiser will entail - including the rough budget and expected income from the fundraiser. The introduction will explain the background of the organization, what the organization does with its funds, and will introduce readers to the need for the fundraiser. The introduction is especially important if you are creating the fundraiser to raise money for disaster relief. The introduction will leave off explaining who the funds will go towards helping.
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Demonstrating the Need for the Fundraiser and Strategic Objectives
Whenever you're organizing a fundraiser, it's important to demonstrate to others who may ask, "Just why is a fundraiser needed?" the necessity of the event. For this section, explain where the money raised will be distributed, how it will be distributed, and why the money is needed for those services. This section should briefly answer anyone's questions concerning whether the event is really necessary.
Also, it is important that you outline the strategic objectives for the fundraiser. How much money do you hope to raise? How will you determine whether the fundraiser was a success? How many people do you need to have get involved? Your answers to each of these questions will demonstrate the desired outcomes of the fundraiser.
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Outline of the Fundraiser and Fundraiser Schedule
Here is the place in the fundraising proposal where you include the specifics associated with the fundraiser - what sorts of supplies will you need? What's the space needed like? How will it be promoted? How many people and what resources will be necessary for the fundraiser? Don't be afraid to be as specific as you need to be in order to make sure those evaluating your work understand exactly what will be involved in the event.
You will also need to complete a schedule. When, ideally, will the fundraiser take place? What will happen the day of the fundraiser? What will happen the day before the fundraiser? Break it all down by time frame - the week before, month before, two months before, etc., as to give a complete picture of the time involved with making the event a success.
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Proposed Budget for the Fundraiser
The next section of the fundraiser proposal template is the proposed budget. What is required in terms of cost for fundrasing supplies, marketing, space, etc? How much do you expect to raise with the fundraiser? Is there any money, time, or supplies being donated from outside sources? Make sure you account for every penny associated with the event. Some fundraising trends are more costly in terms of supply or time. Be sure you account for human resources hours in this budget as well - even if individuals will be volunteering for the event.
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Potential Fundraiser Risks or Setbacks
As with any project proposal, a fundraising proposal should account for a risks analysis. What are the risks involved with running the fundraiser? What happens if the expenses exceed the money raised? What if it's an outdoor event and it rains that day? Make sure you consider the various risk scenarios for your fundraiser and account for thim in this section. Additionally, you should have a plan for what you will do when setbacks crop up. What if it's difficult to get volunteers or donations? By putting thought into this, you are demonstrating to those who need to approve the fundraiser that you've done a lot of thinking about various scenarios that might crop up.
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Sponsors and Promotion Plan
Who will be sponsoring your fundraiser? Sometimes you can get local businesses to sponsor an event and this will offset some of the costs associated with the fundraiser. Also, if you use a local business that is quite popular with those in the area, often this can be a form of marketing in itself - which brings us to the next point - make sure that your fundraiser has a promotion plan. How are you going to make sure that people know about the fundraiser? What methods are you going to use for promoting the event?
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Evaluation of Success and Post-Fundraising Steps
Finally, you need to have a plan for how you will evaluate the success of the fundraiser. Will it solely be on the money raised, or will turnout also be an important factor? Have a plan for evaluation. Second, be sure to demonstrate the actions that will be taken once the fundraiser has been completed. How will the money go where it needs to? If it's a disaster relief fundraiser, how will you ensure that the money goes to those who need it? By demonstrating you have a plan for following up on the fundraiser, you can also show commitment to the cause.
Remember, no matter how much a pain it might seem to fill out the fundraiser proposal template, to keep in mind that the monies raised will go to a good cause. By keeping those strategic objectives in mind, the work will go quickly, and you will be helping many.
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"Writing a Fundraising Proposal" http://www.aidworkers.net/?q=advice/fundraising/proposal-writing
Image of fundraising proposal template courtesy of Ronda Roberts Levine.