Fundraising projects typically have an easily recognizable display, including pie charts or thermometer-type scales to track donations during the funding campaign. The type of goal chart, the way you display the chart, and the method your group uses to record the donations all impact your final total. Goal charts for fundraising have both advantages and disadvantages for the group collecting funds, and also for the people and businesses donating to the drive.
Fundraising Goal Setting
An aggressive fundraising goal treats the chart as a public document. That occasionally discourages some small donors with only a minimal donation, but others with large budgets for donating and funding projects see the overall need and use the goal chart as an incentive to give. Fundraising charts typically include a final cash goal, and step divisions in the cash amount from zero through the goal. Charts also have a calendar feature to show the time left to reach the goal. Common charts include thermometers, rulers, and maps using markers, such as cars or trucks, to reach a final goal at the end of a travel route. Effective groups use a visual related to the fund as eye candy for donors. Some Red Cross community drives uses blood drops, for instance, to fill in a heart to record donations.
The Network for Good Learning Center, a group offering assistance to nonprofit organizations, recommends setting clear and concrete goals to define your fundraiser. The center also suggest setting "specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound" goals. A long-term goal for a large amount of money sometimes makes your project appear counter to all these recommendations for some donors. A number of short-term goal charts for the large project offer one way to counter this feeling of immediate sticker shock for a major project, but the "Stanford Social Innovation Review" encourages groups to aim high and approach "big fish" for large amounts of cash to complete projects.
One way to collect funds for a large project, according to the Network for Good Learning Center, involves segmenting your funders into groups and developing a separate goal chart for each group. That way, your organization collects money to complete the project without shocking donors with the overall cost, and you target givers most likely to support your cause. The downside in using separate goal charts happens when groups view your goal divisions as unequal, and see inequities for one group receiving credit over another. Setting short-term goals for similar projects throughout the year and rotating the fundraising between these groups offers one way to handle the problem. Another disadvantage to this approach deals with the lack of accountability for groups failing to collect the funds to complete the project. Contributors look for concrete results that transcend a simple goal chart, according to "Forbes."
Fundraising charts with text showing donations and the amount still unfunded allow people to quickly determine the amount your group needs to meet the overall goal, according to the Georgia Center for Nonprofits. This encourages your target audience to stay on the fundraising track, and may even mean a second donation by a funder encouraged to help you meet the final goal. Sending out numerous updates or over-publicizing your charts risks appearing as a fundraising nag to your target audience.
- MSG Varsity: Newfield Blood Drive Surpasses Goal
- CFRE: Fundraising Competencies
- Stanford Social Innovation Review: Fundraising in Tough Times
- Forbes: Donor's Buck
- Urban Institute and Indiana University: Donating to a Charity -- A Guide
- Georgia Center for Nonprofits: Fundraising Tip -- June 2013
- Nonprofit Alliance: How to Create a Yearlong Fundraising Plan
Lee Grayson has worked as a freelance writer since 2000. Her articles have appeared in publications for Oxford and Harvard University presses and research publishers, including Facts On File and ABC-CLIO. Grayson holds certificates from the University of California campuses at Irvine and San Diego.