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There are so many worthwhile causes to donate to, it can be tough to solicit money from people who may feel tapped out from all of the fundraising they encounter. Don’t let this discourage you from working for a cause you believe in. Simply think outside of the box.
When simple donation requests through letters, emails and websites won’t generate the money you want to raise, consider more creative methods. Car washes and bake sales are perennial favorites for school and youth organizations. Bring those ideas to your fundraising. Sell cookies and brownies at work. Enlist family and friends to help with a neighborhood car wash on the weekend.
Like playing cards? Host a poker night at your home where all of the “ante” money is donated. The winner of the night gets a prize. If your birthday or anniversary is coming up, throw yourself a party and ask the guests to donate to your charity in lieu of giving gifts.
Use a special talent, such as knitting or sewing, to create items for friends and family to buy as gifts for others or themselves. Host or attend a craft fair and sell items you made yourself. By promoting your wares in conjunction with your charity, people may be more inclined to purchase from you than another vendor.
Host a yard or garage sale. Not only will you get rid of unwanted clutter, you’ll make money for your cause. Post signs that the proceeds are going to charity and you may get less haggling on prices. Or, if you have time, sell your items on eBay. Take your recycling – and your neighbors if they let you – to a center that pays for it, rather than setting it out for collection.
Contact local restaurants. Many chains and some privately-owned eateries will donate a percentage of dinner or lunch profits on a given day if you help promote the event.
If you are fundraising around the Christmas holiday, set up a gift wrapping station at your home and advertise it like a yard sale. Paper and supplies can be purchased at discount and dollar stores.
Don’t let the idea of asking people for money deter you from raising funds for a good cause. By offering people a tangible reward for their donation – even if it’s just an evening of fun – you may find that you can bring in even more money than by simply holding out your hand.
When raising money for a charity or event, even those without strong selling skills can be successful. When you believe in the cause for which you are campaigning, putting that passion to use will reflect in the money you are able to raise.
Begin by putting aside the idea that you are asking people for money. Think of it as giving them a chance to be a part of something big. Whether you are raising funds for a benefit marathon, walk or dance, or simply to donate to people in need, show your potential donors what the end result is.
If your event provides a personal web page for donations, customize it so that it reflects you and why you are participating in the fundraising effort. Use photos and personal stories. If you are raising money on your own or the event doesn’t have a site, look into a free blog site service and create your own web page. Then link the page to all of your social media sites.
Send an email or letter out to friends, family and business associates. Explain your reasons for getting involved. This is what will compel people to donate – when they know you and understand your motivation, they will be more inclined to support you and help you succeed. For even more encouragement, include a self-addressed stamped envelope in your letters. Some people prefer to send checks rather than enter their credit card information online.
Visit local businesses and ask to put a flyer in their windows promoting your cause, showing a local tie-in if one exists. Be prepared that some will have blanket policies against outside flyers, but many are more than happy to help local causes and events. You aren’t asking them for money directly, but in addition to the donations you may get from their customers, the business owner or employees may also be inclined to help.
Enlisting these personal but passive techniques can result in a successful fundraising campaign without ever having to give a sales pitch, call and beg or even sit down face-to-face with someone and ask them for money.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|