Dear Diary: Should I be offended that I got a call from my cousin telling me I was pushy, mean and intimidating?
Dear Readers: Here's my side of the story:
I received a fundraising email from my cousin and when I read the subject line, I felt proud: "Support me in the 2010 Walk to Cure Diabetes." It was nice that another family member was fundraising, since I've played the lead role since 2002. I was happy to make a donation and show her my support.
But then I read her "plea" and realized I had my work cut out for me as she made a few mistakes that I coach participants to avoid when fundraising.
My cousin had gone home to visit with kids she used to babysit. One of them, who also has juvenile diabetes, told my cousin she was doing the Walk to Cure Diabetes. By the time my cousin left, she had joined the little girl's team, was inspired to take action and even set a fundraising goal for herself.
The email I received asking for a donation said, "I want to be the best team member ever. I only set my goal at $100.00, which I will donate myself, but even if any of you do $5.00 or $10.00, I might just end up being the best team member after all."
I wrote back within an instant of receiving her email and told her that if she was inspired by this child, her job now was to inspire others to contribute to the cause. I encouraged her to embrace her personal goal of being the best team member and to change her fundraising goal to $1000. I also told her that only then would I donate. When I received confirmation that she did change her goal, I made my donation, told her she was well on her way, and that I could give her some great tips to raise $1000 within a week.
I'm happy to report that she's already raised $1,076 and has well over a month to keep fundraising until the event.
Here are the tips I shared with her:
So, this worked for my cousin. But, not everyone has a passionate professional fundraiser in the family. So how do we teach a typical, well-meaning constituent that they can absolutely raise money for their cause and set higher personal fundraising goals?
Here are a few important fundraising tips to share with volunteers, board members, event participants, or anyone else thinking of raising money for your organization:
I know that in my family, I am jokingly called the fundraising zealot. But the call I got at 11:30pm (2:30am for my cousin!) saying she had met her goal made the name-calling all worthwhile.
21 minutes later I received the following email:
Subject: Can't stop
Message Content: Won't stop.
And then this morning I woke up to one final email:
Subject: Fundraising is exhausting
Message Content: !
I couldn't agree more. But it's so worth it. Give it a shot!