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Fundraising 101: Part I

Everywhere we turn we’re solicited for charitable funds – on the street, on the phone, online, by mail… With so very many wonderful causes, how to choose?

I’ve been on both sides of the fence, soliciting funds and of course being asked for them.  The decision we make (if at all) to support a charity is a personal one, so I wanted to take a moment to outline a few tips for those on both sides. The hope is that this will inspire greater understanding, patience (and perhaps charity) for everyone involved.

This is part one of a two-part series.

Tips for Fundraisers
Choose a personally meaningful cause. This will fuel you at those times when the target seems impossible. If you feel discouraged, remember why you’re doing it and the impact it will have on the cause you believe in.

Be creative. Unfortunately fundraising isn’t as easy as simply asking for money. Like everything else, you have to work for it. Donors like to see your commitment and effort, so the more creative you are the better. Why not try a bake sale, garage sale, book sale, silent auction, neighbourhood BBQ, neighbourhood clean up, donation container, or ticket raffle? The options are as endless as the effort you’re willing to make.

Tell a story. Sharing a personal story or connection to the cause will make all the difference in getting people to pay attention. They want to know why it’s important to YOU, which in turn could make it important to them too.

Say thank you! Remember that donors have parted with money they could have spent in any multitude of ways…on themselves, their children, another cause. Recognize their contribution to you with a personal note of thanks as quickly as possible. It will make them feel warm and fuzzy. Everyone wants to be appreciated and know they’ve made a difference.

Follow up. If your fundraising culminates in an event (like the Ride to Conquer Cancer, the MS Walk, or the Ride for Heart and Stroke etc.), follow up with your donors and let them know how it went, including the total amount raised by the organization, the number of participants and some highlights of your experience. This will allow them to participate vicariously and know how their contribution fit into the big picture.

Since I am on the topic and it’s my blog, I’ll take this opportunity to let you know that I am currently fundraising for the Foundation Fighting Blindness and will participate in the Ride for Sight. Eye disease runs in my family – my mother has macular degeneration and my dad has glaucoma – so it's a cause close to my heart. If you know someone who has eye disease and would like to show your support, this is your chance. Visit my personal page to make a donation. Any amount is greatly appreciated. After all, you could give to so many others...

Stay tuned for part II of fundraising 101 – tips for donors.


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