What are you fundraising toward? A specific target or anything you can get?
A new year always offers tremendous opportunities to raise money for your Catholic mission and organization. Recently, I read two exciting stories. One was about a £4m donation to the Shrine of Walsingham and another was about Pope Francis asking all European churches to take a second collection for the churches in Ukraine. How incredible are these two stories?
One demonstrates how much can be raised for a Catholic cause, and the other shows how quickly a large number of people can mobilize to make an impact. They hit their targets.
My first goal when I began fundraising was £25,000 for a small parish. I felt both the excitement and anxiety of achieving this goal. By raising the money, I would help the parish refurbish their church for their upcoming jubilee. However, I had no experience, so I was terrified. I asked myself, “How am I going to achieve this?”
Fast forward to today, I have raised nearly £10m for faith-based organizations and mobilized thousands of people for these causes. Just this year I plan to raise £4m for one. Staggering, I know. Even more, I am 100% confident that I can achieve this goal. How, then, did I go from stressing about £25,000 to confidently knowing that I can raise 160x this amount?
The important lesson I learned was to diligently plan my fundraising target before actively seeking funds. Jesus echoes this when he asks in the gospel of Luke, “Which of you wishing to construct a tower does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if there is enough for its completion?” (Luke 14:28)
Too often, we begin to fundraise without outlining the details of our fundraising goal. I am guilty myself. I used to charge forward without taking the time to calculate what I had to raise and what exactly the funds would be used for. I now know that when I define my target, I reach my goal with more confidence and in less time.
Here are the 7 factors for defining a fundraising goal.
The 4 External Factors – These are the tangible items that require funding.
1. Staff – Number of people you have to employ and their salaries.
2. Administrative – Items which support the staff such as office space, IT, car, utilities, etc.
3. Mission – Items you require to directly carry out your mission such as medicine, blankets, food, books, etc.
4. Awareness – These are the costs of spreading your message such as pamphlets, brochures, flyers, advertisements, events and “planting seeds”.
The 3 Internal Factors – These are the intangible items that are often overlooked and rarely considered.
5. Time – Factor the time required from staff to stop what they are doing and help with fundraising.
6. Energy – Ask yourself, “How much do I want to hustle?” At times, fundraising requires a lot of running around, which deviates everyone from their normal activities and responsibilities.
7. Emotional – These are the most important costs and most unconsidered. There is an actual price to your sanity when fundraising… Whatever you think your emotional price tag is, multiply it by 4!
Adding these factors together gives you a clear and defined fundraising target. With this total, you can direct your time, energy, money and emotions to confidently support your Catholic mission. It is much easier to fundraise £10,000 than it is to fundraise ‘as much as you can get’ because, with a finite number, you have focus and direction.The focus is therefore not on the money, but on supporting the mission. This exercise also applies to targets of £10,0000, £100,000 or even £1,000,000. A good Catholic fundraiser always works with laser focus towards a defined target because it keeps the focus on the mission, not the money.
Last, the breakdown of your target is for your own knowledge and motivation. The details don’t always have to be communicated in your fundraising material. Also, the numbers don’t have to be 100% accurate when you start. It is okay to make estimations and edit along the way. What’s important is that you have a target to take action and move towards.