Saturday, April 09, 2005

Fundraising - suggestions

“The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
- Ghandi

Dear All,

When I first started this kind of work, I was terrified of asking for money. However, I had a specific project (an orphanage caught behind rebel lines in Cote d'Ivoire) and a deadline (immediately). I procrastinated for WAY too long about sending out an appeal for money. When I finally did it, I was OVERWHELMED with the response. It was actually hard to take in that so many people could be so supportive. Fundraising got so much easier for me on the day it finally dawned on wasn't about me.

You are an advocate for 350 children in a refugee camp. You are an opportunity for your friends, family, and colleagues to have an immediate impact on those kids. In fact, the money that they give you will most likely be spent by you - in Ghana at the market buying school supplies. They can't get much more direct than that - unless they come, too.

The great thing about a trip like this is that you'll be able to keep in touch with your team back home - all of your donors - via email. You can send them updates from the road, telling them about everything you're seeing, doing, experiencing. It's an opportunity for them to connect with something larger. Not to get all goofy on you guys, but in many ways it's a sacred opportunity to help them see themselves as part of the larger web of life on this planet.

Here are some tips to get you started.

1) First - who to approach: ANYONE and EVERYONE. When I did my first mission, I almost didn't send my fundraising letter to one former co-worker because we really were never close and I didn't want it to seem like I was "begging". I decided to get over myself and to send it to her anyway. She responded with more kindness, encouragement, and money than almost anyone!! She still donates to everything I do!

2) Remember - you are giving your donors an awesome opportunity to contribute to something that they can KNOW is worthwhile. I can't tell you how many people have written ME thank-you letters after they donated and then followed my trip via email. Not everyone can go on the trip - but anyone that donates benefits because they "get to give." The old adage that it’s "better to give than receive" is true. You are allowing your friends and family the opportunity to feel good about themselves and their contribution to the world.

3) Here's a link to an AIDS RIDE fundraising tip website. Some of the things aren't applicable, but others are:

4) Know that what you are doing will inspire other people - in ways you can't even imagine! Even if you don't think they'll donate, it's good to let as many people as possible know what you're up to. Who knows how you'll inspire them to move toward a dream they've had.

5) Keep track of everyone who says they'll donate - and then follow up. Sometimes people just get busy and forget - or keep meaning to and then don't. (I'm so guilty of this sometimes, so I know.)
It's good to do updates in a group email along the lines of "Just to note to update you all on my progress. I've gotten my shots and am anxiously awaiting my visa. I know some of you wanted a reminder to donate, so consider this it! :) Thanks to everyone for all your support...yadda yadda yadda." (Believe me, if they offer to donate and then forget, they'll be happier if you remind them than if they have to feel guilty everytime they see you when you get back.)

6) I've personally been very inspired in my life by quotes, so I use them a lot in my writing and my life. Here are a few samples - any which could be an apropos way to begin (or end) a Ten Days fundraising email:

"I expect to pass through this world but once; any good thing therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now; let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again." Stephen Grellet

“A man is not old until regrets start taking place of dreams.”
- unknown

"I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something I can do." - Edward Everett Hale

“My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.”
- The Dalai Lama

“It is in the shelter of each other that the people live.”
- Irish proverb




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