Fundraising Basics: A Step-by-Step Guide
Take a stand: all fundraising takes a deep level of commitment. It can be exhilarating, fulfilling challenging, and discouraging. Take a stand to fundraise, prepare and train yourself so you can succeed not only at raising money, but doing it in a way that reflects your values and relationships. To do that you must prepare yourself.
1. Make your own financial commitment. It is difficult to recruit others to do what you have not done yourself. Commitment to raise money start with your own perfect gift. I want to encourage you to become a monthly donor at ANY level, one that is not a sacrifice, but is enough to express your commitment to a world at peace. If you are already giving, re-think this amount, is the “perfect” level of giving for you?
2. Write your own talk: one or two minutes in length to open the conversation about fundraising with the people who:
- You will be asking to help you; join your team or support your effort
- The people you will be inviting to come to your event
- The people you will be asking to donate.
3. Create a clear plan for how you will raise money. Will you do an event? Will you make a list and ask five or ten friends? Will you research and cultivate 2-3 potentially larger donors of $1,000 or more?
We have learned through experience that emails are not a very effective way to recruit donors to give. Research shows that people rarely read solicitations from emails, and that personal connection is the most important factor in impacting philanthropic giving. Emails can help you follow up, by sending background documents or directions to the event site etc. The ask must be done by you, not in an email.
4. Create a goal for your fundraising efforts
- Goals: the purpose of setting goals is motivation and focus. A goal should be both bold, and doable. Low goals are not inspiring, too high makes people feel overwhelmed and easily discouraged. Over the course of your efforts you may need to adjust your goal according to your progress and the sense of your team. Keep asking yourselves, does this goal motivate me/us?
5. Get support either from a member of the national fundraising team or building local team or both. Fundraising is confronting even for veterans and support will keep you focused on the critical tasks at hand AND allow for enthusiasm to build. Set up weekly meetings with your support person to set weekly action plans, practice your ask/ invite talk, and get empathy for your fear or discouragement.
6. Get a buddy to help you. Whether you are doing a big event and need to create a team to accomplish it, or you are simply asking a few friends personally, having someone to do it with makes all the difference. You and your buddy can practice your talks and “asks” together, plan together and encourage each other.
7. Your plan and goal need to reconcile. Be sure that you allow room in your plan for “no” and still succeed at your goal. This depends on asking 3 or 4 times as many people as your goal requires. If you are planning to raise three new donors ask 9-10 people so you (and there fore they) will not feel any pressure to say “yes”. It will allow them to choose freely.
8. To prepare for fundraising; first educate yourself. Read online materials so you are prepared to answer any questions. If you are unable to answer any of their questions, tell them you will get back to them and contact a staff member for help.
9. Set aside the times you will work on fundraising as appointments in your personal calendar. This will help keep you focused on making the necessary invitations/ and arrangements.
10. Practice. Practice. what you will say with a friend or support coach. Practicing will make this much easier. In your talk share why you are involved with The Peace Alliance. Share what motivates and inspires you about this campaign. Plan to ask questions to engage them in the conversation.
11. Don’t give up. Fundraising can be slow and discouraging. The key is not giving up and getting support for your efforts.
12. Celebrate all that you are accomplishing. Acknowledge others who are helping you.
13. Thank everyone you ask regardless of their answer. Acknowledge your efforts and the quality of your connections with people.
14. Complete all paperwork and send to the office in timely way. Integrity in paperwork is essential to care for our donors well.
Thank you for your willingness to fundraise for our work. Funding is critical for the fulfillment of our dreams. It is not possible to accomplish our mission without a steady stream of income to finance our staff, phone and Internet connections, travel, materials, conferences, etc. Social change costs money and your willingness to raise it critical for our success. Thank you.