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Allison Gauss
5 min
managing-fundraising-teams

How to Organize and Manage Successful and Resilient Fundraising Teams

“Everything is cool when you’re part of a team!”

– Tegan and Sara, “Everything is Awesome” from The Lego Movie

Part of what makes peer-to-peer fundraising an even more rewarding experience than simply donating to a good cause is the feeling that fundraisers are part of a team, that they are working with like-minded people to do more than they could do alone.

This is especially true when organizations give supporters the option to be part of a designated fundraising team.

In a recent post, we talked about how to recruit supporters to fundraise for you year-round. In this post, we’ll expand on the topic of peer-to-peer fundraising by showing how to organize and manage fundraising teams during a campaign.

We’ll start with some reasons why organizing your fundraisers into teams can be effective, including creating strong community spirit and leadership even within small groups. Finally, we’ll go over how your nonprofit can manage these teams and create an experience that keeps fundraisers coming back.

Teaming Up

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of how to organize and manage fundraising teams, we should consider how forming teams can boost a campaign’s success. You may be wondering why you should split up your pool of fundraisers into smaller groups.
Some of the most important reasons are:

1. Commitment

By committing to fundraise along with the rest of their team, fundraisers have a group of people they are responsible to. In other words, if someone creates a general fundraising page, they could just forget about it or lose interest. If they are part of a team, they will know that others will notice and be affected by their inaction. This knowledge will be even more powerful if they know their team members personally.

2. Knowledge Share

Team members can share knowledge and tips to help the group succeed as a whole. People who are more experienced with fundraising can help the newbies and team members can offer encouragement to each other.

3. Personal Leadership and Support

Fundraising teams with a designated leader will have a closer point of contact to help them if they need it. Basically, instead of all your fundraisers sending you emails with all their questions, they can contact their team leader. The team leader not only raises money but also volunteers to guide and rally their team.

Having a smaller unit of fundraisers working together can help everyone get the support and encouragement they need without inundating you with every concern.

Organizing Your Fundraising Teams

Now, how do you field your fundraising teams?

It’s best if your fundraising teams are organized based on something they have in common, although it’s definitely not necessary. This gives team members an easy way to identify or differentiate the people they are working with.

A common and simple way to organize teams is by location. You can group fundraisers by their county, school, or company. This can be a great way to create some healthy competition between teams. Feeding America San Diego’s Food From the Bar campaign pitted local law firms and schools against each other to compete and see who could raise the most money, gather the most food, and volunteer the most hours.

Your nonprofit could ask local high schools to field a team of fundraisers and they could compete to make the biggest impact. Even if you don’t want to bring competition into the fold, organizing teams based on region can make it easier to manage them. A nationwide organization could have a fundraising team leader for each state or county. This allows fundraisers to call on leaders and teammates in their own backyard for help and advice.

Managing From the Top

As you can see, creating fundraising teams is a great way to promote community and collaboration among your fundraisers while also delegating some of the more basic leadership tasks. That doesn’t mean, however, that you shouldn’t stay involved in the day-to-day milieu of your campaign.

There are several important tasks that your organization should stay on top of as the campaign rolls out:

Design the Default Fundraising Page

Make sure you have formatted the default fundraising page so that every fundraiser has a page branded to the campaign. You can add pictures or a video to the pages to help engage visitors. Include some default language for the appeal, but leave room for them to make it their own and tell their story.

Educate Your Fundraisers

A fundraising tip sheet or guide can go a long way toward setting your fundraisers up for success. You can easily attach or link to this in the email fundraisers receive after making a page. Team members can still consult with each other, but this move ensures that every fundraiser has some basic knowledge.

Talk to Donors

Every donation your fundraisers bring in is an opportunity to forge a new relationship or strengthen an existing one. You can and should reach out when someone makes a donation to a fundraiser’s page. Even if you simply comment on the fundraiser’s activity wall, it shows that the organization itself noticed the gift.

Check In with Team Leaders

If you’re going to delegate, you need to make sure that the people you delegate to are getting the support they need. Make sure that your team leaders know what is expected of them and email or call them once a week or so. Make sure they can reach you with any pressing problems and be ready to step in if they need help. Ultimately, your team leaders are volunteers, so always treat them with respect and gratitude.

Last But Not Least

Our final piece of advice for organizing and managing fundraising teams is to take steps to keep fundraisers coming back. Part of this will come from staying in contact with your team leaders so you can identify and help solve any problems.

Consider creating a survey for fundraisers so that you can refine their fundraising experience. Gathering this valuable feedback will help you grow and strengthen your community of fundraisers and supporters.

And of course, never forget to thank your fundraisers. You should write and design a thank you message specifically for these devoted allies. If possible, send your team leaders a special gift and card to recognize their work.

Organizing and managing teams of fundraisers won’t mean your work as a development professional is over, but it can help you build a bigger, well-connected pool of fundraisers.


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Image Credit:Jon Candy

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