Does your Homeowners Association need to renovate the poolhouse? Or maybe the community lawn needs sprucing up? Whatever the project, it is common that additional funds may be needed. The homeowners in the community will sometimes be willing to step in with extra cash but there are ways around passing the burden onto the members. One of those ways is to hold a fundraiser.
Fundraisers can be beneficial by bringing in much-needed revenue and, when well planned, they can also be fun and work to make your community stronger! From resident bake sales to giveaway weekend trips to Paris, the options are limitless. Often it is all about how well you know your community members.
Before deciding to hold a fundraiser, it is good to make several considerations to ensure the event is a success.
Consider Your Community
Does your area have a certain “vibe”?
Are the members young families or retired couples? Do residents have quite a bit of spare time to help volunteer or is the group generally busy? Considering your potential volunteers and participants is the most important place to start when choosing your fundraising activity.
How many volunteers are needed?
Considering your community as instructed above logically leads to determining the number of volunteers you will be needing. If you have lots of interest and residents with time, you can plan an elaborate event like a casino night or an auction. If you do not have support in great numbers, it might be best to do a well thought out giveaway.
Will the event be open to the general public?
If you are considering opening the event up to the outside community, you will need to be sure to contact your attorney and insurance company to see if extra coverage or protection is necessary. The fundraiser will be ineffective if you end up spending all that was earned and more on legal fees or insurance deductibles.
Outline the event – then double expected resources.
When considering the investments needed for your HOA Fundraiser, remember you can never overestimate your needs. Whether considering finances or manpower, always take what you are expecting and double it. It is always best to overestimate than underestimate.
Outside resources needed?
Are you considering offering a workshop or a catered meal? If you are needing to hire outside resources, there are several things to consider. Here is a great hint: See if you can find someone that is from the area – maybe even someone who has roots within or a connection to the community. They may be willing to offer a discount if they have a personal tie to your area. Also, before you hire someone from outside (ex. A plumber for a plumbing workshop) inquire within the community to see if there is one who already resides in the community. A resident is much more apt to put on a workshop for free or nearly free. Besides, it would double as free advertisement for the member and they have the opportunity to get to know their neighbors while teaching.
Be sure to find out if permits will be needed. As stated above, it may add to your costs a bit but it’s a whole lot less than fixing the issue afterward. Your HOA management company can help you determine the proper permitting for your event.
It’s always best to offer a one-time activity that has a specific time-frame. An event that drags on for several weeks can wear out even the most devoted volunteers.
Here are just a few ideas that may work for your community fundraiser.
Concert from a local band
Or even from neighbors! If folks in your community play instruments, this is a great way to showcase their talents.
A workshop (plumbing, master gardener class, etc)
Here is another area where you can either bring in folks from the outside or tap into the community. Perhaps your neighbors have hidden talents. Ask around to discover what folks are passionate about and if they are willing to share.
A plant sale
This is the perfect spring starter especially if someone has a greenhouse.
Another excellent seasonal activity and perfect for those neighbors who thoroughly enjoy going all out on holiday decor!
Fun Night (Casino, Spa, Movie)
Convert the clubhouse into an evening adventure. Don’t forget to include childcare if it’s not a child-friendly event.
Auctions are great fun! A combination of silent and live can create a lively atmosphere. Approach local businesses for donations but don’t forget about the residents, too. They may surprise you by donating time, money, or talents.
Kids “beginning of summer” fun day
Bring out the water fun! Be sure to include lemonade, watermelon, even sparklers for after dark.
Dinner hosted by a local chef
If the weather is nice, you could even make it an outdoor affair.
Donations from local businesses
Local business owners love being a part of the community and are typically more than willing to pitch in with goods, services or even a cash donation.
Fundraiser days with local businesses for a percentage of sales
Arrange with a local business to donate a percentage of their sales to your HOA fundraiser. This works great for restaurants, ice cream shops, and small retailers. Be sure to promote it far and wide to the residents.
Do you send out a regular newsletter, either via snail mail or email? Sell advertising spots for a little extra cash. The rule of thumb is $25-$50 per thousand subscribers.
Once you’ve picked the perfect project (or two), it’s time to start planning.
First, determine who you can recruit and for which role. Consider every team member’s specific skill-set, availability and enthusiasm. Everyone on the HOA committee should have a task or role.
Next, you’ll need to think about the finances. How much money will you need to get the event/activity off the ground and how much money are you hoping to raise.
After that, build your timeline by starting with the event date or end of project targets, then work backwards. You’ll want to establish clear deadlines at regular intervals. Set measurable goals so that everyone can have that sense of accomplishment to keep motivation.
Have fun! You are doing a fundraiser for the betterment of the community. The residents will want to be vested in this endeavor as well. You will want to focus first on serving the community then on raising funds.
One final note. Remember to send thank you notes to everyone – volunteers and businesses alike – who participated in your association’s fundraising endeavors. They’ll enjoy learning how much money was raised and what it will be used for, which will improves chances they’ll donate in the future.
Contact RS Fincher today
Running an HOA community is no simple task and you shouldn’t have to do it alone. RS Fincher is proud to support local Raleigh HOAs run their communities with a comprehensive list of services. These include everything from bookkeeping, accounting, and financial reporting to managing service requests and overseeing board meetings. We will work closely with the board president and board members to understand what goals the community has, then do everything we can to help you reach them quickly and affordably. If you have any questions or you’re ready to get started, contact us today.