We’ve all had that cringe-able moment when you actually put up your hand and volunteer to collect money from friends for something: the farewell gift for a colleague, fundraising for new instruments for the band, the parent's dinner at school, or the Class Reunion. You end up coordinating (endless!) discussions on what, where, and when; asking for money; reminding everyone to chip in; sending reminders about your reminders; paying with your credit card before all the payments are in; and then the awkward begging and grovelling to get your money back! Been there, done that…and you vow never to do it again.
But inevitably, because you’re that kind of person (crazy? insane? too nice to say no?), you find yourself volunteering again. That’s why we thought we would share the collective wisdom of the uber-organisers who use GroupTogether. They too are suckers for punishment (not!) and have developed these sanity-saving tips to stop you from losing weeks of your life when collecting money.
You do need to do your homework: Who is your group – how many people are you collecting from (including yourself)?
If it’s a fixed cost, make sure everyone knows in advance the amount and is able to participate. If a few people drop out, figure out if that changes the cost and adjust. If the cost is up to the group, then find out the amount people are comfortable spending. Settle on the lowest amount and plan your activities around that, otherwise, you will be footing the bill.
Is it a new surfboard or a 6-week pottery course, a massage gun, or maybe a gift card to their favourite clothing store? Make sure you take into account all the costs including incidentals (shipping, “refundable” bonds, etc.)
Find out when you actually need the money but tell your group that you need the money days (if not weeks) before you do. It’s your insurance against the stragglers in the group.
Establish a cutoff date beyond which any changes or refunds incur additional charges. When purchasing gifts, inquire about the return policy, and remember to consider potential shipping costs. As a group, come to a consensus regarding your gift's return or exchange policy. Determine what will happen after the cutoff date, should a situation arise where someone can't participate, forgets to contribute, or withdraws from the gift-giving effort. It’s not the easiest discussion to have, but unless you want to deal with disgruntled friends, parents, and co-workers, it’s worth it in the long run.
Do not accept IOUs from family, friends, or acquaintances – it’s a surefire way to end up short-changed. If someone asks you to chip in for them you can tell them that unfortunately you’re not in a position to do that but are happy to wait a few more days for them to pay.
Only pay the money once you’ve collected it. Do not put it on your card and hope to recoup it later. If a deposit is required, then collect the deposit first and the rest later.
Use GroupTogether.com to do it for you. Set it up for free. Let GroupTogether do the heavy lifting – invite, remind, collect, track, transfer. We even make a free printable card with everyone’s pics and messages. If someone offers to “pay you on the night”, you can politely explain “Oh.. but then you won’t be on the card. Why don’t you just do it right now from your phone. It only takes a sec”. Done!
Our uber-organisers are the fountain of organisational wisdom, and we hope their tips will take the hassle and awkwardness out of the next time you put your hand up for collecting money from friends (because we know you’ll volunteer again)!
PS: If you happen to be the organiser of events like hens' nights, school reunions, and more, GroupTogether could become your new best friend. In Australia, it allows you to easily transfer collected funds to your bank account, making it an ideal choice for gathering contributions for any occasion or event.
Let us do the heavy lifting – we'll invite, remind, collect, track, and transfer.
Life’s busy. That’s why we’re here to make it easy for you to collect money from a group. Less wasted time, less packaging waste, and spending a little less but giving a lot better!