VIEWS: 4 PAGES: 4 POSTED ON: 4/16/2012
FUNDRAISING TOOLBOX Everyone can have fun fundraising! Invite your family, friends, coworkers and neighbors to join you in supporting this important cause. It can be as simple as taking five minutes to email a note and fundraising page link to all of your online contacts, or as involved as hosting a wine and cheese hour at a local bar—whatever works best for you. Whether you are shy or the life of the party, there are strategies here for everyone to meet their fundraising goals, and have fun doing it. Thank you for your enthusiasm and support of GRID Alternatives and the families we serve – don’t forget that the money you raise has a tangible impacts on individuals, families and our communities. The basics: Fundraising today is not all that much different than it was 100 years ago, before Facebook and Twitter gave us easy access to a broad range of contacts. The best way to get people’s support is still to ask your contacts personally, through a face-to-face interaction, a phone call, or a personal letter, even if you send that letter via email. Social media can support your effort, but is not a substitute for good old fashioned pavement pounding. So here’s how you get started: Set up a fundraising webpage with Firstgiving.com Write a personal solicitation email/letter. We’ve written a sample letter to help guide you, but your own words are always best. Your friends and colleagues will be inspired by your passion! If you’ve volunteered for GRID Alternatives before, include a photo for greater impact. Be sure to include the Solarthon video (link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bam_IUHjpXU) in your email to friends to get them excited! If you send it postal mail, don’t forget to include a self-addressed stamped envelope. Send your email/letter broadly, not just to people you think will be interested in your cause. You will be surprised at who will support your campaign. Your participation may be a way for them to give back when they just don’t have the time to participate in charitable work themselves. Success Story: Lee Call people you know well. Prepare a phone pitch Lee wasn’t very confident about or just some talking points from your letter to help fundraising at the beginning, but he guide your conversations. People will have questions so make sure you are prepared. really wanted to be part of Solarthon so he went for it. Since he hadn’t Follow up. Send out a follow-up email or letter sent out a lot of email solicitations about a month before the event, and a week before over the years, he decided to send a and let people know how much you need to achieve fundraising email with a link to his your fundraising goals. Help your contacts see how Firstgiving page to every contact in they are a part of your success, e.g. “If 10 people his address book. He posted a photo donate just $10, I can reach my goal! Will you be of himself with his family on his one of my 10?” You can also use humor or casual profile page. It worked. He received language like, “I know you really meant to donate donations and supportive comments with my last request, so don’t worry! You still have from his current contacts as well as one last chance to help me reach my goal and support solar for a low-income family!” people he had not been in touch with for years. Lee raised $1900 from his Post your fundraising effort and goal on your Firstgiving page alone! personal blog, Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, etc. Post updates so that people can follow your progress and help you reach your goal. Put your fundraising link in your email signature. Include a one-line pitch, such as: “Help me bring affordable, clean energy and jobs to California families in need.” S Broadening your reach: Once you’ve spread the message to your immediate network, you can start branching out to increase your fundraising. Make lists of friends-of-friends; acquaintances from different areas of your life; local businesses you frequent; other places you go and meet people. Look for links among these people as well. The more points of contact you have with them the better. Once you have your list, start reaching out. Service providers: Ask your dentist, doctor, massage therapist, mechanic, veterinarian, insurance agent, exercise instructors, etc. for a donation or matching donation, or invite them to donate a set amount to your effort for every client they see over the course of a day or two. Local businesses: Ask your local bartender, gym, yoga studio, hair/nail Success Story: Ric salon, or corner store to let you put a donation jar out Ask local venues to donate a portion of their proceeds For Ric, a construction for a day or other time period, like happy hour. Publicize worker who wanted to gain a it to your networks and in the community. foothold in solar, Solarthon Ask a local movie theatre, music venue, or restaurant to was a chance to learn skills donate gift certificates to you and then sell or auction them off. and network with industry professionals. He was Employers: Find out if your company can sponsor you with a worried, though, about matching grant. Urge your donors to investigate matching grant asking for money from programs at their companies as well. You can also ask your friends and co-workers manager or human resources department if you can trade a during the economic vacation day or sick day for a day of pay. downturn. In the end he didn’t have to; he asked his Alumni associations: Contact your college fraternity or dentist to sponsor him, and sorority’s local or national association or your schools’ alumni got a check for his entire associations as ask them to donate or place an ad in an alumni goal! newsletter asking for donations. Fundraising at your workplace: Get creative at work, and make donating fun for your coworkers. Success Story: Dana Ask your company to host a fundraising event to When Dana signed up to for benefit your efforts, such as a dress-down day in Solarthon, she wrote on her which staff pay $5 to come to work in jeans on a specific application, “I am not employed full- day. time, so I may not be able to raise all Set up a spare change jar in the lunchroom that your the money.” She was wrong. After an coworkers can empty their pockets into. Include some encouraging call from GRID information about Solarthon. Alternatives staff, she posted a pledge sheet at her workplace and Host a brown bag lunch about GRID Alternatives, found that co-workers she barely Solarthon and your fundraising efforts to inspire people knew donated to her campaign to donate or to spread the word. Share the Solarthon because they were proud of her 2012 video. efforts and inspired by the cause. The largest single donation she Hold a fundraising competition. Offer a prize like donated movie or museum passes or a home-cooked meal to the coworker who brings in the most donations. Fundraising events: Dinner parties, creative contests and other social events not only raise money for Solarthon, but also help you share your passion for GRID Alternatives with your friends, and turn them into supporters too. Host a fundraising wine and cheese party or happy hour at a local bar or restaurant, and ask the venue to donate the food or drinks. Create a fun competition, like an art or talent contest (ie, sand castle building, recycled materials sculpture, apple pie baking, or balancing kitchen utensils on your nose) and charge an entry fee. Give half to the winner and half to the cause. Organize a sports competition, like neighborhood Success Story: Carl basketball, horseshoe, cards, bowling or other, and charge people to play. Again, give half the proceeds to Carl raised $500 during his the winner and keep the rest for your cause. campaign with one simple strategy: ask a lot of people for a Host a holiday-themed party at your house and ask little. He requested $8—no more for a $10-$20 donation. Get the food and drinks and no less—from as many people donated and keep it simple. Ask a local musician to as he could find, and met his goal, provide entertainment. This is a fun way to bring no problem! friends together to support you! Host a movie night. Charge an entry fee and sell homemade baked goods. Ask for donations instead of birthday, holiday or anniversary gifts. Sell Yourself! Turn your special talents or extra stuff into cash for the cause. Hold a bake sale: Sell your homemade goods in your work lunchroom or community space, or even in front of your house. Do a little advertising and see your fundraising dollars go up! Organize a neighborhood garage sale: Do some spring cleaning, and get your neighbors to do the same, offering them a portion of the sale proceeds. Sell more valuable items on Craigslist or eBay. Used book sale: Collect used books from your neighbors and coworkers and sell them to your local used book store. Car wash. Ask your local gas station to donate use of their space, and invite friends to help you. Neighborhood services. Offer yourself up for lawn-mowing, babysitting, designated driving, house or pet sitting, dog-walking, or whatever else you can do. Be sure to tell them it’s for a cause to increase your tip!
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