Bird-a-thon Resources—Best Practices for Fundraising & Promotion

BAT 2021 illustrated banner with bird icons

Create incentives & prizes for your team

  • Promote the t-shirt incentive! Team Members who raise $125 or more are eligible for a t-shirt.
  • Establish prizes for Team Members who reach certain pledge amounts.
  • Set a fundraising goal and, if it is met, reward Team with a special dinner, ice cream party, or other recognition.
  • Develop a model where if Team Members reach certain goals (e.g. 10 pledges or specific $ amounts) they are eligible to win a prize or be entered into a drawing. Be careful that you do not establish a drawing where anyone who donates gets to enter a drawing.
  • Set a specific fundraising goal and help your team members understand how it will be achieved.
    • Example: "We have a goal of $20,000 and 40 Team Members; this means we hope each member will help us raise $500 each. If each Team Member asks 10 people for $50 we will achieve our goal!"
    • Example: "We have a goal of $5,000 and typically see about 125 species; that means we have to get about $40 worth of pledges per species seen."
    • Adapt the following formula to meet the needs/expectations of your site—"If our 25 Team Members ask 25 people for $25, our site will raise $15,625."

Publicity to promote fundraising

  • Include Bird-a-thon information in your email newsletters and your Mass Audubon sanctuary websites.
  • Communicate how the Bird-a-thon funds will be used. For example, at some sites this might be for a particular piece of equipment. For the vast majority of team, the Bird-a-thon funds are used for operating support, so try and tease out a specific part of your operating needs to focus Bird-a-thon—local school outreach, bird conservation at your site, a new piece of equipment, etc.

Solicitation Techniques

  • The most successful Bird-a-thon Teams are those that rely on personal solicitations and a motivated Bird-a-thon Team—try personal solicitations rather than mailings, as this strategy is more successful and less paper-intensive.
  • Set a specific fundraising goal and make it public.
  • Specifically ask previous donors to give more money this year than they did last year.
  • Suggest a specific amount a person should raise/give to be a part of the Bird-a-thon Team.
  • Solicit your vendors and the people you deal with on a regular basis—don’t forget your mailman, UPS driver, etcSolicit non-traditional givers such as natural history travelers, day camp parents, etc.
  • Tie your requested gift level to something specific – the site’s anniversary for example, a $ per bird figure, or a random number that ties in some way to your site.
  • Take time to “train” all Bird-a-thon Team members in solicitation—tell them why it is important, establish a key goal and give them tools to help them fundraise.
  • Ask for and expect 100% participation from your sanctuary committee members and other volunteer groups.

Team/Constituency Building

While team/constituency building might not influence the current year's fundraising, it is very useful in developing the spirit for the following year.

  • Host a post-event call or virtual meeting where results are tallied, pats on the back are given, and the stage gets set for next year's Bird-a-thon.
  • List and thank Bird-a-thon Team Members publicly in local newsletters or bulletin boards.
  • Provide all Team Members with a small gift or certificate thanking them for being on the Team.