The DOTS Guild is a place where people come together with a common goal: improving #AccessibilityInTabletop for disabled gamers wishing to play tabletop roleplaying games. There is much work that goes into this project, some of which we follow traditional standards on and others we break tradition and create something new and improved. Join us on this journey as we take a deep dive into the volunteer positions of the DOTS Guild, and learn what makes them so special.
As the DOTS Guild expands and begins new projects and research, the need for connecting with those who want to join those adventures and offer their support becomes more important. Developing connections with individuals and companies or organizations, a Financier works to secure funding in various forms through personal donations, grants, sponsorships, collaborations, retailer sale percentages, fundraising campaigns, and many other paths. With a focus on current and upcoming needs, a Financier ensures all funding the organization receives is used in the most effective way possible.
Something that all nonprofit organizations have in common is the need for funding. While a bulk of the work done for the organization is by volunteers, certain products and services have an associated cost. These expenses could be anything from equipment maintenance and software subscriptions to 3D printing dice or embossing braille books for donations to DOTS Family members worldwide. Thanks to funding received from generous donors and patrons over the course of a year, we are able to maintain our daily operating costs and develop plans for potential future projects.
A Financier handles a bit of accounting, a bit of public relations, a bit of project planning, and a bit of data analysis. Using their extensive skills they determine what the organization needs to grow and develop a plan for how to make it happen. They reach out to previous and potential donors through direct communications, event planning, grant writing, and more to share news of what we’ve accomplished and what our goals are for the future. The representation of the organization from a Financier helps set the tone for how DOTS is perceived by those familiar and unfamiliar with our work to establish a path forward for reliable partnerships.
One of our largest sources of donations comes through Patreon, a platform where donors can set up a monthly subscription for a certain amount. There are different preset amounts which grant access to rewards as a thank you; some being physical items mailed to the donor each month, others being access to exclusive updates and information not shared outside of the Patreon platform.
Reviewing the analytics for each month, a Financier will seek to determine what changes occur across individual donors and amounts. If donations are remaining the same or trending higher they make note of what worked well and can be repeated to maintain the donation amounts. If things are trending down they evaluate potential internal or external factors and help identify what changes could be made to increase donations again.
Utilizing fundraising platforms and donor management systems is a great way to stay connected to the community surrounding DOTS, establishing new ways to remain in contact with previous and potential donors. Platforms like Tiltify allow supporters to create their own fundraising campaign and raise money on our behalf. Content creators can pair this with livestream events of their choice, often selecting things like a tabletop roleplaying game as it aligns well with our program focus. Creators set a goal and urge their viewers to donate, offering unique rewards that could be physical goods or things that have an impact on the game being played.
Connecting with these content creators, a Financier provides any support needed for the event. This can be in the form of event development, recruiting additional individuals to participate, promotions and advertisements, providing giveaway items, and more. While many content creators may be comfortable hosting events on their own, we believe it’s important to be involved and do whatever we can to support those who take their time to support us.
As DOTS moves to develop additional projects which have a quantifiable cost per product or service, potential donors may expect us to use crowdfunding platforms to raise money. Though this is an option, nonprofit organizations have other avenues to secure funding that are not available to those who may be using crowdfunding platforms as a company or individual. A Financier takes the time to explore funding opportunities aimed towards promoting charitable projects and selects those that are the right fit for the work we are doing.
When available, different types of events can be created to focus all fundraising efforts towards certain projects or campaigns. This helps provide a tangible goal potential donors can connect with as opposed to raising funds towards our operating costs or ongoing research and development. A Financier understands the appropriate time and place for such focused efforts, prioritizing donor experience to ensure they will want to remain involved over time.
Another avenue is building relationships with larger companies and organizations that offer grants, sponsorships, collaborations, and other types of partnerships which help secure a more substantial amount of funding. Depending on the agreements, we could have a partnership that lasts a certain amount of time with a definitive amount of funding provided. This allows us to plan further ahead into the future and dream bigger.