How to achieve gold medal fundraising
I am, once again, experiencing the sadness of the end of the Olympics. I am always amazed at the talent, grit and determination of the athletes that compete each year. Watching my favorite sports, learning about new ones and watching ones I truly don’t understand (I’m looking at you, team handball) makes the Olympics so enjoyable to me. I’m already counting down the days to Feb. 4, 2022 for the Winter Olympics in Beijing. I wrote a blog post in 2018 about the PyeongChang Winter Olympics and how a few of the sports could be compared to your fundraising. We thought it might be fun to make a few more comparisons to the Summer Olympics, so here we go!
Yearly planning: Swimming
Swimming has a little bit of everything – short swims, long swims, relays and medleys. When you think about your year-long plan for fundraising it should include all of those as well. In order to reach all ages and levels of donors, make sure you are including a 50m freestyle, like Giving Tuesday (fast and determined), a 4X100m medley relay, like board-hosted cultivation events (different people using their skills in the best way) and a 1500m freestyle, like a planned giving campaign (slow and steady). A solid mix of short- and long-term events and style will win your plan a gold medal every time.
Strategy: Adding new sports
There is nothing wrong with trying new things. In Tokyo, we saw skateboarding, surfing, karate and sport climbing added to the mix. It is easy as fundraisers to stick with what you know, especially when your budget is on the line. So instead of completely stopping one activity and creating a new one, be like the Olympics and add in a few new ideas to see how it works. You don’t have to scrap your old plans to try new things. I really enjoyed skateboarding and climbing but couldn’t get into karate and surfing. In surfing’s defense, it was extremely cloudy and windy the day I watched it, so the surfers were hard to see. Maybe I’ll give it another try in 2024. This makes another good point - don’t paint something as a bad idea if you only tried it once and it didn’t work out. Maybe it was just a cloudy day.
In this new Olympic sport, climbers race up a 45-foot rock wall in about seven seconds. How does this fit with events? Planning an event takes tons of time and resources for a relatively short time period, like training for years to compete for seven seconds. Nonprofits do their best to tell their stories to raise the most money they can in one night. What they can learn from the climbing is this: Make a plan for how to scale the wall and execute it as best you can. I’m sure there is some metaphor for when the climbers get to the top and then just let go and fall slowly back to the ground, but I’ve been working an event all night and am exhausted.
Social media: Fencing
Like what you read? Subscribe to our weekly blog and it will be delivered directly to your inbox!