Sample Seniors Not for Profit Fundraising Letter

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					F U N D R A I S I N G

  Rural and Remote
     Food Banks

     Developed by
     California Association of Food Banks
     Fall 2007
                     TABLE OF CONTENTS
      Introduction………………………………………………………………… 4

Developing a Fundraising Strategy in a Rural and Remote
   Fundraising Plan…. . ........................................................................ 6
   Develop A Case Statement...……………………………………………. 7
   Set Goals...…………………………………………………………………. 8
   Fund Development……….…………………………………………………9
   Write Your Plan.....………………………………………………………. 10
   Fundraising Board of Directors....…..........…………………………… 11
   Food for People Board of Directors Job Description..………………. 12
   Ways for Your Board to Fundraise..…………………………………... 13
   Marketing the Mission of Your Food Bank..…………………………. 14
   Marketing Worksheet...…………………………………………………..15
   Food Bank Fact Sheet..………………………………………………….. 16

     Asking for Money and Support for Your Food Bank
      Direct Mail……………………………………………………………….. 18
      Outside Envelope…………………………………………………………19
      Letter..……………………………………………………………………. 20
      Reply Device..……………………………………………………………. 23
      Return Envelope/Other Enclosures..………………………………… 24
      Special Events..……………………………………………………….. 26
      Case Study One..……………………………………………………… 27
      Case Study Two..……………………………………………………… 28
      Case Study Three..…………………………………………………… 29
      Major Donor/Personal Solicitation.……........................................ 31
      Fundraising for A Small Food Bank……….………………………. 33
      Donor Recognition.......................................................................... 36
      Other Fundraising Resources…...……………………………………..39
      Acknowledgements …………….………………………………………..40



The California Association of Food Banks (CAFB) Rural and Remote Food
Bank Capacity Building Project was a three year project funded by The
California Endowment to help food banks begin to engage in systems change
to address hunger in rural and remote communities. To develop capacity, the
food banks participated in trainings and received technical assistance to
elevate the issue of hunger in their communities and to leverage existing
resources, such as America’s Second Harvest: The Nation’s Food Bank
Network, the federal Food Stamp and Nutrition Education Program, Summer
Food Service Program, the State Emergency Food Assistance Program and
CAFB’s Farm to Family Program.

This fundraising manual is a compilation of the information gleaned from
trainings, peer-to-peer networking, and individual consultations with a
fundraising consultant to assist the participating food banks in developing
sustainable strategies for raising money and the visibility of their
organization in their communities. In particular, this manual is the result of
rural and remote food banks generously sharing their experiences and
expertise in order to assist their peers, strengthen their food banks, and build
a well-nourished California for all.

This manual is specifically designed to provide information that was found to
be helpful to the remote and rural food banks who participated in the project.
Some of the challenges outlined here are ones taken directly from the food
banks themselves. This is not intended to be a comprehensive guide to
fundraising; but rather an addendum to more generalized fundraising
sources. Other available resources are listed at the end of the manual.



To build a financially sound rural and remote food bank you need a
diversified plan of action. A viable plan is the key to creating a sustainable
future for your food bank. Take the time to make a plan and you will be
around for a long time to help those in need in your community.

Key Components of a Fundraising Plan and Samples:

      Develop a Case Statement about your mission, your goals, your
      history, your services, your budget, and your organizational capacity.
      Rural and remote food banks exist in small communities that value the
      historical and interpersonal relationships between its community
      members. Therefore it is important to review all of the past
      fundraising efforts of your food bank and evaluate their effectiveness.

      Set Fundraising Goals based on your annual budget and any project
      growth and resources you have available. For a small organization the
      goals need to be clear, manageable and supported by the Board, Staff
      and Volunteers so each of these groups has a stake in ensuring the
      goals are met.

      Write Your Plan determining each strategy such as direct mail, special
      events, or grant proposals. Include the action steps; people involved;
      and timeline. Remember even the best plan may need to be changed to
      reflect changes in your organization. What is most important is that
      you creating a tool your food bank can utilize to manage your
      fundraising strategy and sustain your food bank operations.

      Know Your Donors by identifying potential donor groups, which
      services you provide that appeal to your donors, what motivates them
      to give and what opportunities to you give your donors to support you.
      For example, if you are only sending out a direct appeal letter at the
      holidays, maybe consider adding a summer appeal letter when many
      children do not have access to a school lunch and families may be in
      need of more food resources.


Mission                           Why you exist, identifying the
                                  community need

                                  Desired result that solves the

                                  Specific accomplishments

                                  Services provided, including
Programs and Services             stories how people benefit

                                  The expense of providing the
Finances                          programs and services

                                  Board and key staff roles,
                                  skills, and representation:
Organizational Capacity           history and success

Plans                             Program and fundraising plans





        Strategy           Action Steps               Who      When/How Much
1. New Donor Acquisition 1. Two direct mail           ED       November , May
Goals: 300 New Donors    campaigns to 5,000                    Cost $1,000
$5,0000                  prospects (100)
                         2. Each board member         Board    Sponsor River
                         recruits 2 donors (20)                Cruise no cost
                         3. River Cruise Special      Staff
                         Event (100)
                         4. Rotary Cook Off (80)      Rotary   Rotary Cook Off
                                                      Club     donate
2. Renewal Donors          1. Thank a Thon with        Staff   January cost
Goals 100 out of 200 (50%) volunteers                          $100 for lunch
$2,000                     2. Send out special holiday Staff   December
                           newsletter                          newsletter cost
                           3. Have ED make 30          ED      $300
                           personal calls to top
3. Businesses              1. Talk with local business Board   February no cost
 Goal: $1500               to sponsor families in need ED
                           for a year with gift of
4. Special Events Goal     1. Host a river cruise fish Board   June cost for
$5,000                     fry                         Staff   catering fish fry
5. Grants                     1. Submit 2 grant       Intern   August and
Goal $10,000                     proposals - Back     ED       September no
                                 Pack and Target               cost
                              $5,000 each
TOTAL INCOME                                          TOTAL EXPENSES
$23,500                                               $2,600


Your board of directors plays a crucial role in the fundraising strategies your
food bank decides on. Because most rural and remote food banks do not have
a development staff, the board must take a leadership role in fundraising to
build a diversified fundraising plan. If your food bank remains overly
dependent on one source of funding – for example state emergency food
funding – then the organization remains stagnant and struggles to keep its
doors open. The board of directors plays a crucial role in the selection, imple-
mentation, and evaluation of fundraising strategies. The board also plays a
key role in ensuring that the food bank is informing, educating and
motivating donors to keep giving.

There may be reluctance on the part of some of your board members to take
responsibility for fundraising. Often board members don’t understand it is
part of their role; or they are uncomfortable asking people for money. If your
board believes it is “not their job” to fundraise, then you may want to revisit
the job description for board members and include some language about
fundraising. (See the sample board job description). If your board does not
like asking for money then you can ask them to do a specific task that does
not include a “money ask” such as writing personal thank you notes to major

The board executives or the board fundraising committee should think of
many specific ways board members could actually participate in fundraising.
Included here are some suggestions on how board members can be part of the
fundraising plan. By no means it is a complete list and, most likely no board
member will do all of them, but most board members may be able to easily
manage a few of them.



 Adapted from “55 Ways for Your Board to
  Fundraise” by Kim Klein. Reprinted with

  List all your friends who are interested in your
                                                          Give the organization something they need that is
  organization or similar organizations. Decide
                                                          worth $500, such as a fax machine, filing cabinets,
  how much each one should give. Write to
                                                          couch, adding machine, computer program. Etc.
  them on your own stationary include a
  brochure from the organization and a return
                                                          With 4 or 5 friends, have a spaghetti dinner at a
  envelope. Phone those people who don’t
                                                          church or union hail or other big room with a large
  respond in two weeks. Some people will need
                                                          kitchen. Charge $10 per person and feed more
  10 friends to give $50, and some people need
                                                          than 50 people. You can charge extra for wine or
  50 friends to give $10. Most people will need a
                                                          garlic bread, or for dessert.
  combination such as: 2-3 @ $50; 4-5 @ $25; 15
  @ $10.
                                                          Host a wine and cheese party. Do not charge
                                                          admission and invite as many people as you can.
  Give part of the $500. Then ask your friends to
                                                          During the party, give a short talk about your
  join you in giving $25, $50, or whatever your
                                                          organization, and ask everyone to consider a gift
  gift is. This is most effective because you are
                                                          of $25, $50, $100 or more (depending on the
  not asking them to do anything you haven’t
                                                          crowd). Either passes out envelopes and asks
                                                          people to give then, or after the party contact
                                                          everyone individually who came and ask for a
                                                          major gift. Indicate that you have given, and if
                                                          appropriate, how much you have given.
  Ask 5-10 people to save all their change for 3-
  5 months. You save yours. Count it at the end
  of the prescribed time and use one of the               Your Ideas:
  other methods to raise the rest. (You may not
  need to.)

  Ask 2-5 friends to help with a bake sale, book
  sale, or garage sale. You and your friends
  bake the goodies, or get the books or the
  other stuff required for the sale, staff it, and
  help clean up afterwards. This is an excellent
  way to get people involved in fundraising
  without ever actually asking them for money.

  Invite people to your birthday party and ask
  that in lieu of gifts they give money to your


In rural and remote communities, people often know each other for many
years and have family connections that span generations. Many people may
be involved in more than one non-profit organization. Relationships are often
layered and based on a shared history. For all of these reasons, a rural and
remote food bank needs to look at how it markets its mission as part of an
overall fundraising strategy. It is also important that the food bank
proactively define its image in the community instead of waiting until it has
to respond to negative or challenging questions by community members.

One way to accomplish this is to insure that your message is mission-driven
and values-based. Another is to ensure that both your board of directors and
staff are clearly part of delivering this message to the community.

You define your food bank by talking about the needs you address and the
benefits you provide to your community. A winning message talks about the
issue of hunger and nutrition in your community and the broad impact that
carries throughout all segments of the community. It defines the solutions
and values needed to deal with the issue of hunger and clarifies the actions or
tasks food banks and communities are taking to address the issue.

A simple marketing plan (see worksheet) can communicate the mission,
values and benefits of your food bank to different audiences. Whether you
are marketing your food bank to obtain new volunteers or donors you can
utilize a marketing plan to help you reach your target audience and achieve
your goal.

Another tool commonly used by food banks is to develop a fact sheet (see
sample) about the mission, history and programs of the organization. The
fact sheet gives a succinct, clear overview of your food bank that is
distributed to potential donors, volunteers, the media and general public.



The demographics are changing in many rural and remote communities as
retirees and families searching for affordable housing move out of urban
areas. More rural and remote food banks are reaching out to these new
populations through direct mail strategies. A well-designed and well-written
direct mail piece has a far greater chance of informing large numbers of
people who do not know about your food bank than any other fundraising

Direct mail letters also are a proven way to communicate with current donors
and ask for additional gifts. You can either choose to manage in house or
contract with one of several companies that specialize in direct mail for food
banks. Done well, a direct mail strategy can enhance donor relationships and
provide your food bank with a steady source of unrestricted funding.

Nonetheless, many rural and remote food banks are hesitant to utilize this
strategy because of the massive amount of direct mail or “junk mail” sent by
national brand companies or organizations. Food bank boards and staff who
have deep ties to their small community do not want to be seen as
“nuisances” or always asking for money. Here it is important to realize the
difference between a local organization, providing direct and tangible services
to the community, asking for a donation as opposed to a group outside of the
donor’s community. Direct mail can be a powerful tool to educate donors
about local hunger issues, tell a personal story, and motivate them to help
their neighbors.

A direct mail strategy is an ongoing process, not a one-time event. Direct
mail needs to be conceived of as a package or an open-ended dialogue with
your donors. It is more than simply a letter in an envelope.

The standard direct mail package has four parts: the outside envelope, the
letter itself, the reply device and the return envelope. The parts of the
package work together to effectively communicate with your donors.

Make it grab someone’s attention and want them to open it and see what’s

Make sure the letter engages the reader through personal stories and lots of
interesting subheads. Most people don’t read a letter. They scan it for the
most interesting ideas or stories.

Dear Neighbor:

Imagine coming home, bone tired from work, and having to explain to your
hungry kids that there’s not enough food for dinner – again.

        This will happen in homes all over Name County tonight.

         Hundreds of children – one or both of whose parents are working – will go
to bed malnourished or with an empty stomach. Parents will miss meals in
order to feed their kids. Seniors and the disabled, many isolated and alone, will skip dinner in
order to pay their rent or mortgage.

        Hunger in our beautiful Name County? Sadly, yes.

I know you’re concerned about the quality of life in our community. So I hope you’ll
take a moment to read my letter. In it, I’ll dispel some myths about hunger. I’ll also
share the good news with you and
tell you what we’re doing to solve the problem. And I’ll let you know what you can do to help.

        Myth #1 – Hunger is only a problem in large cities.

         Untrue. 20% of children in rural areas live in food insecure households. This is a higher
 rate than for children living in metropolitan areas. (Food insecurity is a statistical measure of
hunger or near hunger.)

        It’s just harder to see the hunger here.

Why is hunger often worse in rural areas? Several reasons. 1) Housing costs are a big
factor. Rural housing prices rose faster in the 1990’s than they did in metro areas. 2) More
seniors live in the country than the city. 3) Poverty and unemployment tend to be higher in rural
areas. 4) Distances are greater, and there’s less public transportation. It takes longer –
 and, with rising gas prices, costs a lot more – to get to grocery stories and food pantries.
The bottom line? Hundreds of people in Name County need our help.

 The good news: Thanks to people like you, XX,XXX hungry children, seniors and low
income individuals and families will get a a bag of groceries, fresh produce or a nutritious after
school snack all over Name County this month.
        The Name Food Bank is the largest distributor of food to low
income people in Name County. Together with XX other local charities, we work to get
        food where it’s needed most –
 quickly and efficiently. With your support, we can help even more people –
 especially in outlying areas.

         Myth #2 – Children are hardy. They bounce back from hunger.

        Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Hunger and malnutrition can cause lifelong damage to children. Anemia, a deadly and common
problem, can permanently stunt a child’s mental and physical development. Almost 20% of
children under 5 in low income families in some rural counties have anemia.

The effects of childhood hunger last into adulthood putting
these kids at greater risk of Alzheimer’s disease, osteoporosis, obesity and diabetes.

Hungry children suffer daily from problems such as weight loss, fatigue, headaches, irritability
and frequent colds. They’re more likely to be ill or absent from school. And less
likely to be able to concentrate when they are in school.
Hunger makes it hard to live up to your potential.

       The good news: We are making progress in the fight against child hunger –
in school and at home – saving many children from the suffering it causes.

Fresh fruits and vegetables full of vitamins and minerals play a key role in preventing childhood
Through generous donations from growers, local retailers and others, we’re able make
fresh produce and other nutritious food available to children and their families.

        We want to give hungry kids more fresh produce. With your help, we can.

        Myth #3 – People who are hungry brought it on themselves.

        In the vast majority of cases, this is simply not true.

Most of the people we help are in families with at least one wage earner. Many
come to us because of major setbacks like a recent job loss, a serious illness or a divorce. It’s a
hard decision to make. Going to a food bank can be a serious blow to
one’s pride.

Living in this county on a low income is getting harder and harder to do. Many working families
have to decide whether to pay for housing, utilities, childcare, medical bills, gas or food. And,
when you can barely pay your bills, it’s impossible to save for a rainy day.

In this scenario, food becomes a “luxury.” In a recent survey, 90% of people asked said they’d be
 forced to spend their last $20 on gas instead of food.

The good news: The food we provide helps many Name County families stay afloat during a
crisis and get back on their feet. Others need our help on a longer
term basis. The food they receive from us helps them keep their housing, their jobs and
their health.

Without the food aid we provide, many people would become homeless. Not only would this be
a human tragedy, it would greatly increase the strain on our limited local
 government resources.

        With your support, we can help more working families stay together.

Myth #4 – My small gift won’t make a difference.

On the contrary. Your gift makes a huge difference. We feed over X,XXX of your neighbors
every month. Your $25 gift buys fresh produce that keeps young children
healthy, and a $50 gift can provide a bag of groceries that helps a family keep food on the

Your gift allows us to acquire greater quantities of nutritious food from farmers, wholesalers and
others, much of it donated. In this way, we stretch your donation further to make a bigger
difference in the fight against hunger.

        Your generosity will help make Name County a better place for all of us to live.

I urge you to join hands with others to help us end the suffering caused by hunger in our
community. Working together, we can help make sure no mother or father is ever forced to put
their child to bed without dinner again.

        Thank you for your generous support.

                                                         Executive Director

P.S. Hundreds of kids will go to bed with an empty stomach in Name County tonight. Childhood
      hunger causes life long problems. You can help us prevent it. Your gift of $50 or more
      is especially appreciated. Thank you!

The reply device is how you are asking the donor to respond. It is usually
printed on card stock smaller than the return envelope so it can be mailed
with a check.

Help us help working families keep food on the table.  
__YES, I want to help the Name Food Bank provide nutritious food to hungry  
Children, families and seniors in Name County.  No one in our community 
 Deserves to go hungry – especially our children.  
Here is my tax‐deductible gift of:  
__$35     __$50     __$100     __Other   $_____  
Your contribution helps!  
   • Your $35 gift buys a fresh produce to keep a child healthy  
   • Your $50 gift buys a bag of groceries for a needy family  
   • Your $100 gift copy needed here  
Please bill my credit card:  
__MasterCard      __Visa   
Card #: ______________________________________________  
Exp. Date: ______________________________________________  
Signature: ______________________________________________  
Telephone: ______________________________________________  
E‐mail: ______________________________________________  
Please return this form in the enclosed envelope with your gift.    
Thank you!  


A plain, self addressed envelope is enclosed with the direct mail letter. The
donor affixes the stamp. Your percentage of response will decline
significantly if you do not include a self addressed envelope for the donor.


Some direct mail packages include a lift-out note. Not a basic part of the
direct mail package the lift-out note is designed to give the reader another
compelling reason to give to the food bank.



Money can be raised locally through special events. The reluctance some
rural and remote food banks have for asking for money directly can be
reduced by providing something in return for a donation. Events such as
raffles, silent auctions, wine tasting, and crab feeds can be good money-
makers for small organizations that mobilize volunteers and local businesses
to donate time and items to support the event.

Be sure and track all costs associated with events, including hard expenses
and staff time. Involving volunteers and seeking donations can increase the
“return”. Seeking an overall event sponsor, such as a local bank or grocery
store or other business, can also increase the amount of money raised by the

The following are three case studies of special events prepared by Kim Klein,
Publisher, Grassroots Fundraising Journal, for rural and remote non-profit
organizations in a manual titled “Rural Fundraising Success Stories”
underwritten by the National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association
(CASA) and reprinted with permission from Grassroots Fundraising Journal.

CASE STUDY ONE – Tours and Outings
The American River Conservancy (ARC) is a 16-year-old land trust nestled against the
Sierra Nevada Mountains in California. ARC is located in the town of Coloma (a state
historic park), population 170, and serves a county of 168,000. Placerville is the nearest “big
city,” with 10,000 people, but many people commute to Auburn (one hour away) or even
Sacramento (an hour and a half away). Coloma and the surrounding area is a community in
transition from logging and ranching to tourism and encroaching housing development
sprawl. The American River draws thousands of people who raft, hike, fish, pan for gold and
spend tourist dollars during the spring and summer. The old-guard politicians and press are
conservative and generally anti-anything vaguely environmental, but newcomer retirees and
urban refugees share the values of the local alternative community to protect the natural
beauty of the area.
1. Sell donated recreation tours and outings.
Tourism and recreation are businesses that have a vested interest in our mission to preserve
and protect the river and watershed, so every spring ARC solicits spring rafting trip
donations from about a dozen local rafting trip outfitters. We negotiate the number of spaces,
available dates and whether they are full or partial donations of each registration fee. We
usually sell them a bit below the going rate and give priority access to members through
print and e-newsletters, then to everyone via our website and flyers. We take the
registrations and payment, and then make the reservations with the rafting companies.
Expenses and Income
The program, managed by paid staff, costs less than $1,000 a year. It brings in about
$5,000, for a net income of about $4,000.
Lessons Learned
ARC reserves at least one or two of the trips for our major donors and prospects. Each
raft has a land trust staff or board member aboard who acts as naturalist and
ambassador. The invitations are personal, the event is free, and we have lunch on a
beautiful beach that has been protected in perpetuity by the organization. The most fun
has been presenting a framed picture to one of ARC’s large donors of his spectacular
spill into the river.
Advice for Other Rural Organizations
Tourism and recreation are often thriving businesses in rural areas. Who in your
community is providing hot air balloon rides, guided fishing trips, ski resort packages,
Antique shop tours, llama treks or “plein air” painting workshops?

CASE STUDY TWO –Christmas Wish List
Culbertson Memorial Hospital (CMH) is a 25-bed critical access hospital located in Rushville,
Population 3,300, in west-central Illinois. The nearest big city is the state capital,
Springfield, 60 miles away on a two-lane highway. Rushville and the surrounding
communities are mainly agricultural, with corn and soybeans the most commonly grown
crops. The family-owned farm concept is still alive and well in the area, although large
corporate farms are becoming more common.
The Rushville area has high unemployment and poverty rates. For the most part, the
population is older and poorer than the state average. Neighboring communities are
experiencing a large influx of Latino families, who are drawn to the area for employment at a
local pork processing plant.
CMH is the only hospital in a three-county area. With nearly 200 people on its payroll, CMH
is one of the largest employers in the county. Seven area physicians serve on COM’s medical
staff and specialists from larger communities hold outpatient clinics at the hospital on a
regular basis. CMH owns and operates three medical clinics in neighboring towns and a 20-
unit independent living facility for seniors.
The Strategy
Traditionally, CMH simply sent out annual appeal letters to donors who have shown a
history of supporting the hospital. We usually chose one piece of medical equipment as the
project for the year. However, last year we changed our tactics a bit. Instead of selecting one
high-profile item, CMH put together a Christmas Wish List catalogue. The catalogue
featured items needed in a variety of departments; not all were medical in nature. For
instance, our Housekeeping Department had wanted to convert to a new micro fiber mopping
system instead of the old string mop method, but the new system just would not fit into that
department’s modest budget. We offered it in our catalogue and received full funding for the
new system. Needless to say, COM’s housekeepers were delighted. The catalogue also
featured a pick-up truck for the Maintenance Department. Although we haven’t raised
enough to buy a truck yet, we did receive enough to make a generous down payment on one.
We were also able to buy a new crash cart defibrillator for the ER, a blood warmer for the
anesthesia department, an arm ergo meter for cardiac rehab, a sedimentation rate
system for the clinical lab, a fancy weight system for the therapy services department,
wheelchairs, geri-chairs and much more. All in all, the Wish List raised more than $50,000!
We intend to use the catalogue again this year.
Advice for Other Rural Organizations
Tracking the gifts for each item is a bit of hassle but certainly worth it in the end.
It’s important to keep the rural audience in mind when appealing to them for donations.
Most of the time, rural people have a very traditionalist view of life. They work hard for their
money and will give generously if they feel you’re being honest and open with them and
intend to use the money for something they truly believe in.

Campbell County is a mountainous county found in the heart of the Cumberland Mountains.
Half of the towns are located in the coal-field mountains, while the other half are in the
agricultural valley, including the county seat. The population is about 40,000 and doesn’t
change much throughout the year. The county is ranked in the bottom quarter of US county
economies, with high unemployment and primarily minimum-wage factory and service jobs.
Coal mining related jobs have diminished, with only a few existing at this time. There are
many low-income retired people living in Campbell County. Norris Lake borders part of
Campbell County, and because of the county’s natural beauty, there are people retiring to the
area that come from a mix of working- to upper-class backgrounds. The nearest large city is
Knoxville, Tennessee and is over 30 miles away.
The Strategy
What is a wash-a-thon?
It is a free car wash! It works the same way that a walk-a-thon does with one exception—
instead of the sponsors making pledges for one person walking, pledges for the wash-a-thon
are for each car that the chapter (group) washes. There are two things that make this
concept unique, one is that if you cannot help wash, you can still get sponsors (or pledges) for
the group. The other is that it is a free car wash open to the public.
We believe that a good local fundraising event contains five main elements:
1. It brings attention to the issues that the chapter is working on.
2. It involves lots of chapter members.
3. It raises money.
4. It is an event you can repeat and improve every year.
5. It is fun!
Lessons Learned
Allow about 4-6 weeks to plan for this event. Here are the details:
1. Set a date and an alternate “rain date” for the car wash.
2. Find a location to have the car wash. Make sure you have at least one water source. Two
are better. However, if only one is available, you can purchase a “Y” to attach two hoses. The
location should be a place that will allow easy access and flow of cars. You don’t want to be
bogged down with people having to pull in and back out to get their cars washed.
3. Other decisions include a goal for how many cars you will wash (200? 100? 50?) and
whether or not you will provide advertisement at the event for businesses that sponsor for a
specific amount (we ask for sponsorships of $50, $100, $150). Listing the sponsors on posters
or fliers at the event is easily done. Some businesses may want you to pass out coupons.
4. Design a flyer/pledge form.
5. Send a letter to group members along with flyer/pledge forms and reply cards for people to
commit to getting sponsors, to help the day of wash or to make their own financial
commitment. You will have to follow the letter with a phone call. Not everyone will respond
with the reply card.
6. Encourage the group to get sponsors and pledges. Sources include businesses, friends,
coworkers, church members, doctors and other acquaintances. Allow a minimum of three
weeks for this. We usually allow four to five weeks for getting sponsors and pledges.
7. Put fliers up in local grocery stores, convenience stores, gas stations and bulletin boards
where allowed.
8. Start gathering supplies for the wash-a-thon. Items needed: good hoses, nozzles, “Y”, extra
washers, sponges, rags, car wash soap, tire cleaner (optional), window cleaner (optional),
brushes for tires, lots of buckets, sun screen and first aid kit. Don’t forget your volunteers—
provide plenty of water, snacks and lunch. (You want extra buckets so that clean water is
ready at all times. It is important when really dirty cars come through that the water is
changed and the sponges and rags are thoroughly rinsed to keep little rocks and sticks from
scratching the paint on other vehicles.) Other supplies include information about the group,
membership brochures and any other materials you want to give to the people getting their

cars washed. And don’t forget a donation bucket. Even though the car wash is free, many
people will want to donate anyway. In fact, we’ve gotten more from donations in a free car
wash than when we’ve charged per car.
9. Gather early the day of the event to organize volunteers. Four teams of four is optimum to
keep from getting overworked. This allows two teams per hose, with teams alternating. (If
you don’t have that many volunteers; we have done the wash-a-thon with much less help.)
One person rinses, one does tires, and two wash the car. The two washing the car should
work a system that allows for washing and quickly rinsing so soap doesn’t dry on the vehicle.
Get a couple of other volunteers to stand alongside the road with posters to get people
attention that you are having a Free Car Wash. A couple of people need to be available to
talk with customers about the issue the group is working on. One person needs to keep track
of the number of cars washed. You only have to wash up to your goal, not one more.
10. Have a blast! Don’t forget to thank the owners for the use of their property and water. Be
sure to clean the area, so you’ll be welcomed back next year.
11. Collect outstanding pledges.
Changes Made or Planned
When Wal-Mart moved into the area, the chapter learned that the Wal-Mart Foundation was
matching fundraisers from nonprofit groups. We got an application form, filled it out and
later learned it had been accepted. The grants were up to $1,000. We raised $1,300 that year.
With the Wal-Mart grant, the grand total was $2,300. Not bad for a car wash.
Advice for Other Rural Organizations
This is an excellent fundraiser for a rural group. We have repeated it several times. The
event is fun. The most frustrating thing is not having enough volunteers. It requires a lot of
physical work and can be taxing if only a few show up.


Asking someone for money in person is one of the most effective ways to raise
money for your food bank. By inviting them to donor or invest in your food
bank you are giving a major donor an opportunity to help end hunger and
benefit the entire community.

Personal solicitation works best in rural and remote communities when a
peer-level volunteer or board member ( who is also a donor) and food bank
staff team up to make the personal solicitation. The volunteer initiates the
conversation and introduces the subject of the visit. The staff person sets the
tone by describing the food bank and its fundraising activities. Then the
volunteer or peer board member describes a special project or need of the food
bank and asks for the gift. The visit is informal but focused and does not
put the staff in the position of approaching a donor from a perspective of

The four steps in approaching major donor and personal solicitation are

   1. The Letter describing the food bank or the specific need, including a
      sentence or two indicating that you wish to ask for a gift and request a
   2. The Phone Call is made to set up the meeting.
   3. The Ask is made at the meeting.
   4. The Follow Up is made immediately following the meeting to thank the
      person for their time and ask if they have any additional questions
      with a hand- written note.

Six questions you should be able to answer during the meeting. The answers
come from your case statement.

   1. Who are you? Who are you to the food bank?
   2. Where has your food bank been?
   3. Where is your food bank today?
   4. Where does your food bank want to go? What are its future goals?
   5. What financial investment is needed to reach your destination? What
      is the funding goal?
   6. What does the donor get for the gift?


As you start a major donor solicitation effort, your organization needs to
decide how much money you want to raise from major donors. The rule of
thumb in major donor/personal solicitation is that for every four prospects
you approach – two will say no, one will say yes, and one will give a lesser
amount than asked for. With this in mind you then need to prepare the
following before making your Ask.

      What benefits, if any, do people receive for giving a major gift? The
      benefit could be food bank t-shirt, a special recognition at one of the
      food banks events, or a special thank you gift.

      Gather materials describing your organization for a leave behind
      packet for your prospect to look at following your visit.

      Have clear and concise information on how to make a donation
      whether with credit card, check or electronic fund transfer monthly
      gift. Be sure to include return envelopes and pledge cards with this

      Organize a core group of people willing to do the soliciting. The group
      should have some Board members but can also include volunteers and
      paid staff. Be sure the group understands how to ask (see your case
      statement) and the mission of your food bank.





   •   Thanks to The California Endowment for their generous support of the
       Rural and Remote Capacity Building Project. Thanks also to MAZON:
       A Jewish Response to Hunger

   •   Thanks to Diane Brown, The Non-Profit Assistance Group, for her
       expertise and generous sharing of resource materials.

   •   And special thanks, to all of the rural and remote food banks who work
       diligently to address the issue of hunger in their communities. Listed
       are the California food banks who were particularly active partners in
       this project.

             Amador-Tuolumne Community Action Agency Food Bank
             Amador Interfaith Food Bank
             Community Action Agency of Butte County
             Community Assistance Network, Del Norte
             El Dorado County Food Bank
             Food for People, Humboldt
             Food Bank of Nevada County
             Human Resources Council, Calaveras
             Imperial Valley Food Bank
             Inyo-Mono Advocate for Community Action
             Lake County Community Action Agency
             Mendocino Food and Nutrition Program
             Ukiah Community Center Food Bank

CAFB Remote Committee:
Anne Holcomb, Food for People, Inc., Humboldt County
Betty Cloud, Imperial Valley Food Bank
Billie Westernoff, Human Resources Council, Calaveras County
Lee Kimball, Amador/Tuolumne Community Action Agency Food Bank

CAFB Staff:
Terry Garner
Kim McCoy Wade
Sharon Eghigian

California Association of Food Banks
1611 Telegraph Avenue, Suite 830
Oakland, California 94612


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Description: Sample Seniors Not for Profit Fundraising Letter document sample