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.
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
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.”
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
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.
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
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
newsletter asking for donations.
Fundraising at your workplace:
Get creative at work, and make donating fun for your
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.
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.
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
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!