by Avi Fleischer

Fundraising is a fantastic opportunity it can bring people together for a common cause. It can help a community rally around a need. Fundraising is something that everyone can be proud to be a part of from the donors to those putting together the fundraiser.

While raising money through a fundraiser can be fun, a major challenge many organizers face is figuring out how to set their fundraiser’s goal. If set too high, the goal may be unattainable, which can be demoralizing. But set the goal too low, and you run the risk of not having funds should unexpected expenses arise – as they often do. So, when setting your goal be careful to avoid these four pitfalls:

1. Set a high but realistic goal – Many people like to set a high goal for fundraising. This is for a few reasons. For example, sometimes the thinking is that the higher goal that we set, the harder we will work – and ultimately reap more benefits. Also, if we set our goals high even if we come short, we would still have hit our minimum goal. But also be realistic about your goals. You should estimate how much you are likely to raise. The best way is to look at similar fundraisers you’ve done in the past, and increase the goal by a small amount. If you don’t have that past history, try reaching out to someone else who has run a similar fundraiser.

2. Goals should always be specific – When setting a goal, it needs to be clear and obtainable. Establishing an exact dollar amount will enhance peoples motivation. Research has demonstrated that when people are given a specific goal to strive for do better.

3. Include room for fees – Fees are something that can creep up on you and make an otherwise excellent fundraising campaign go sour. There are all types of little expenses that one needs to take into account when setting a fundraising goal. The most common costs are going to be fees associated with collecting credit card payments and from fundraising platforms. Make sure when setting the goal that it is at least the corresponding percentage of fee amount higher then what you need. For example, if you are expecting 5% in fees and need to raise $2,000 you should set your goal at $1,100. Also, if you’re doing a product based fundraiser be sure to know your margins – that is how much of every dollar spent on products your fundraiser gets to keep. (If you’re interested in comparing donation campaigns and product campaigns, check out this handy infographic.)

4. Unforeseen circumstances – Unforeseen circumstances can derail an otherwise successful fundraising campaign. Potential unpredictable conditions include the need for getting a contractor or a carpenter. It is ideal when setting your goal to add at least a 10% emergency fund in case things go wrong.

Following these tips for setting fundraising goals will help you be successful and obtaining your fundraising.

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