Video and Article: 5 Fundraising tips from Iris House Founder, Sue van der Linde

Iris House Children’s Hospice is doing great things. Founded by superhero Sue van der Linde, they’re a charity committed to enriching the lives of special needs children with life threatening illness or life limiting conditions. They do this both through community-based care teams in areas such as Mfuleni and Crossroads, as well as respite care and at their hospice based in Cape Town’s Northern Suburbs.

Learn about the story behind Iris House, and how Yoco has helped them increase their fundraising by over R100 000, in the video below.

Fundraising is Iris House’s biggest form of income. It plays a huge role in keeping the organisation going as all their services are provided for free. The Provincial Department of Social Development contributes 40% of funding and it’s up to Sue and the team to source the remaining 60%. This is one of Sue’s main focuses and she’s become quite an expert at it over the years.

Here are some of Sue’s tips for fundraising if you’re an NPO, charity or starting your own cause.

1: Run your charity like a business

Iris House has been around for 6 years. Sue says that much of their success is because she’s learnt that it’s important to remember you’re running a business.

“What many people don’t realise about running a charity is that it’s a business, and you need to run it like one.”

This is more of an overall tip for running an NPO, but applies to fundraising as well. Make sure you keep a close eye on your books, and your expenses and income for your fundraising event. Also remember that people need to know about your cause and your events, so don’t forget to pay attention to your marketing and public relations.

2: Keep expanding your sponsorship base

“Our biggest challenge is to keep growing our fundraising pool.”

Sue finds that a mistake NPO’s often make is that they tap into the same pool of supporters all the time. It’s wonderful to have ongoing supporters, however do keep in mind that businesses and individuals have to work within their own budgets.

By continuously extending your pool of sponsors, it takes longer to reach a “cap” on your funding. Iris House gets sponsorship from corporates, private sponsors, government organisations and more. They’ve now also grown to include overseas volunteers from Germany and the U.K. These volunteers will take the Iris House message back to their home countries and hopefully bring back more volunteers.

3: Create value for your guests

There is a different fundraising event happening every month at Iris House. They range in variety from Market Days to Christmas in July, to the Barn Dance and the Grand Ball.

“It’s important to make sure your guests are getting the right value for money at your events.”

The Iris House Grand Ball happens every year in August at the Table Bay Hotel and has become incredibly well attended. Guests are treated to a 5 star meal and auction items such as a dinner with the Premier of the Western Cape. The whole experience makes people want to come back the following year, and the Grand Ball now sells out months before the time.

“Your guests should feel it’s worth their while to attend the events, and should feel connected to your cause.”

A great way to create value while keeping your costs down is to build solid relationships…

4: Focus on building relationships and partnerships

It’s very important that your sponsors identify with your cause. Donations are always welcome, of course, but building relationships with corporates and sponsors so that they understand why you do what you do has greater benefits than once-off raises.

“It takes a lot of manpower and a time to build that connection but it’s well worth it.”

The Grand Parade Investment Group are one of Iris House’s long time partners. They own the Table Bay Hotel where the Grand Ball is held every year. Because of the relationship that they have built up over the last 6 years, Sue and the team are offered very reduced rates on facilities for the Ball. This way they are able to give their guests a memorable experience while not breaking the bank.

The last two Grand Ball events have had their own corporate sponsor, deVere Acuma. They pick up the cost for the Ball and ensure all funds raised go directly to improving the quality of life for the special needs children cared for by Iris House. They will be sponsoring the Ball again on August the 26th and are a great example of a solid relationship that has been built.

“It’s all about working relationships and being able to offer quality, but not paying the full price for it.”

5: Make sure you can accept payments

“The convenience of having Yoco raises the bar of the entire event.”

Sue finds that sponsors are more willing to to donate larger sums of money when it’s quick and simple to do so. “We saw it at our Grand Ball last year – people were far more willing to bid on items because they knew they could pay then and there”, she says. Using Yoco at last year’s Grand Ball helped Iris House raise over R 100 000 more than previous years.

Accepting donations at fundraising events also takes up a lot of time – from invoicing to following up on payments. Sue and the team are now able to accept donations on the spot using their mobile Yoco card reader, and easily keep track of all payments in their Yoco Business Portal. Sponsors also feel the system is safe and secure, which is a great benefit.

“It’s a lot of work and having our Yoco has made it a lot easier. I spend a lot less time on chasing payments and admin.”

 

Visit the Iris House website to see how you can help support their cause.

About the author: Robyn

RobynRobyn - Social media and community manager

When you’re engaging with Yoco on social media, Robyn is the girl you’re talking to. She loves learning from our community and seeing small businesses thrive. In her spare time you’ll find her off hiking in some forest, curled up with a book or singing karaoke (badly).

After graduating with a B.Bus Sci degree from UCT, she found Yoco and jumped in head first. She now manages Yoco’s social media profiles and online community, and writes an article or two for the blog.

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