Establish the procedures for fundraising activities. Even if you are not part of a larger umbrella group, you will need to draw up guidelines before you set up your fundraising campaign, activities, or events. This is especially critical for future leaders who may run a fundraising campaign at a time when there is frequent turnover.
The level of formality of such guidelines and the protocol you will follow will depend on the size and structure of the organization and the fundraising activities you have in mind. Obviously, five kids running a lemonade stand to raise money for new basketball uniforms will require far less structure than twenty students on a college campus orchestrating a twenty-mile bikeathon for several thousand riders.
Be Succinct and Clear
Guidelines should serve as a roadmap for carrying out the fundraising plan in succinct and clear language. All primary activities should be included, such as promotion, programming, administrative duties, and so on. The responsibilities of the individuals or committee should be outlined with details included to avoid confusion. While you don't want to pigeonhole people, you do want to provide them with a basic job description to follow when they are doing their tasks.
The guidelines should set the tone for transactions and interactions with other people, including donors, as they shape the overall parameters of the fundraiser. For example, areas to be addressed might include:
How to explain information about your goal to a prospective donor
How specific concerns or complaints are addressed
The procedure for moving to a contingency plan, and who makes such a decision
What to do if someone is injured or gets sick during your fundraising activities
Who is in charge of ordering from vendors, and what procedures to follow
What does and does not need to be presented to the board for approval
If there is no board, who makes the decision on each aspect of the project
Who can call a meeting, and the procedure (and how many people are required) for taking a vote
Having written guidelines from the beginning can come in handy if anyone questions how you are handling certain procedures or if you are accused of treating a certain volunteer or group of volunteers unfairly. It assures everyone knows the rules and how things should be handled. Having general procedures and guidelines written down can also serve as a guide to future fundraising efforts. Such guidelines will help next year when you start planning your fundraising efforts.
Have a separate set of guidelines for specific fundraising activities that differs from your organizational code of conduct or bylaws. While you might not have separate guidelines for selling candy versus selling wrapping paper, your rules for making sales calls should be outlined on a separate page and e-mailed or handed to everyone involved in the fundraising project.