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Fundraising Ideas - When you hate to ask!
When faced with fundraising, many of us shy away from asking people for donations. Believe me, I'm one of those people. But I also love to participate in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer - a cause that is near and dear to my heart (I'm a two-time breast cancer survivor!), and one of the stipulations of participation is that each walker raises a minimum of $1,800!
When faced with the challenge of fundraising, you can't let it stop you. This year was my 9th year participating in the Avon Walk, and each year I have surpassed my fundraising goal. This year, I have a team going with me. 19 of us to be exact! And we each have to raise the money. So here it is, my tips on how to get people to donate to your charity!
I think the most important thing to do from the beginning is to GET PERSONAL. What I mean, is tell your story of why this cause is important to you. For example, in my case, I was diagnosed with breast cancer 18 years ago, and then this year, after getting diagnosed with colon cancer in February and undergoing surgery, and came back to work to find that my mammogram came back positive for a recurrence of breast cancer. Okay. As a young mom 18 years ago, I was in a different place than I am today (an old mom!). Not really, but you get the idea. So I tell my story to people. Why it's important to me to support this cause ("I'm alive today because others walked before me for breast cancer research").
You'll be surprised how many lives are touched by your cause. By sharing your story with others, you will get people to think about their lives and those who are affected, could be affected, etc.
Don't tell people what amount they should donate
This is an important one. If you ask for $5, you may get $5...or you may get nothing. But if you ask for a donation, you may get $5, but you may get $100. When asking for the donation, try not to feel weird about it. Remember, the donation is not going to YOU, it's going toward your charity. So get over feeling weird about asking. Ask your donor to give "whatever you can...from the heart." Know your cause and what the money will be used for. Whether it's funding for mammograms, help for survivors, pet adoption, abused children - know how the money will be used so you can tell your donor that "for the price of a Starbucks nonfat Venti latte.......... could be achieved." You get the idea. Aim big. Let them know why you're raising the money, how much you need to raise...and then let them tell you what they can afford.
Offer to walk/run, or whatever in honor/memory/celebration of...
This get coupled with getting personal...but if you know your donor's life has been touched by your cause, offer to walk, run or participate in honor, memory or celebration of their loved one. My daughter and I will take names from our donors and write them on 3x5 cards. We hang the stack of names from our packs on our 39 mile, two day journey. We carry these loved ones with us. It's very powerful and something I'm happy (and proud to do). It's a way for your donor to know that their loved one's memory or achievement is remembered. I love this. My daughter writes my name on a card and walks in my honor. : )
If you don't like the card idea, you can also write names on your tshirt. Same idea.
Ask a local business to sponsor you...
or if they'll do a fundraiser for you. There are many local restaurants that have a fundraising program. You provide the customers and they'll give you 20% of sales for your fundraising day. This is an easy way to get people together to also talk to them about your cause. Check with the restaurant of your choice. If they'll do a fundraiser for you, make sure to ask if sales of drinks will also be included in the 20%. (Some restaurants will only give you 20% of their food sales). Just be clear on what is being offered. Also ask if "take out orders" count toward your fundraiser. Then print up some flyers and distribute them to EVERYONE. Ask that they bring the flyer on that specific night. You have to be there to greet your donors. Whatever the management decides is their protocol is what you have to comply with. Some require your donors to put their receipts in a box...others to turn in a flyer and staple the receipt to it. Just ask and comply. Make sure you are there to thank all your donors personally. If you don't have their contact information, set up an email or contact list.
Write a Letter
Personally, a letter writing campaign is my best fundraiser of all. I type up a letter and drop in a photo of myself (a training photo? or a photo of last year's walk). I discuss what I'm doing and why it's important to me, and then I state my goal. I also like to include a breakdown, like this:
"In order to participate, I will need to raise $1,800! This may seem like a lot of money, but if I can just get 18 people to donate $100 each, I'll be there! Will you help me achieve my goal?"
The truth is, you can get 1800 people to donate $1 each. 18 people to donate $100, or any combination thereof, but people do like to see a breakdown. And most are truly touched and generous. Oh, and I forgot the most important part. The stamped, self addressed envelope. I always include a SASE in each letter that I mail out (not email, snail mail). When the recipient gets your mail, and finds this envelope tucked inside, they'll feel compelled to write you a check. And since they don't have to write out the envelope and find a stamp, it's all ready for them to just send you the check.
If you don't have funds to pay for the return postage, it's okay. Just send the self-addressed envelope. Stamping it saves them a step, but I've had good results both ways.
The 50/50 Raffle
Another great idea is the 50/50 raffle. Purchase raffle tickets from smart and final (or even the dollar store sometimes). Sell tickets for a set price telling your donors that 50% of the winnings will go toward your cause and the other 50% of the pot will go to the winner as cash. Everyone needs money, and the odds of them winning your raffle are greater than them winning the lottery.
Sell tickets in groups: $1 each ticket or 7 tickets for $5! Offer a deal. 15 tickets for $10.
Set a raffle date. Use your raffle date as an opportunity to again thank your donors, educate them about why you are participating in your cause. Pick your winner and give them half of your earnings. Make sure you announce how much was won...and see if they liked this raffle idea. You can do them on a monthly basis if they're popular with your donors.
These are just a handful of ideas to consider. Whatever you do, when you are devoted to your cause and it speaks to your heart, it will be successful. Believe in your ability to achieve your goal.
This past year, as my daughter and I crossed the 39 mile finish line of the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Santa Barbara just 3 months after undergoing mastectomy, I had a wonderful surprise. I knew my family would be at the finish line to cheer me on, but I didn't know that 15 of my friends had rented a van and drove the 100 miles to cheer me on. It was beautiful, humbling and touching, and something I will never forget. Of the 15 that came out, 7 were so moved that they signed up to walk with me right then and there!
I am blessed to be a survivor and to have such an amazing support team - my family and friends. Together, we will fight this, one step at a time!!!
If you are interested in donating to my 2012 Avon Walk Fundraiser, please contact me!! I'm on FB as Anush Avejic, and also as "Team In Her Shoes". We can do this together!!!