In my years as a fundraiser I’ve met many people with great causes that need money to achieve their goals. It wasn’t until I met Jim and Brian – new founders of a small group in Los Angeles – that I saw the possibilities of raising a great deal of money in a short period of time. I was honored when they asked me to join their cause but concerned about yet another non-profits in the area. How would they compete with the long-established groups that had numerous patrons supporting their efforts?
What I saw opened me to the notion that anything is possible. Brian and Jim raised close to $3 million dollars in just over a year. One day they brought in $125,000. What was their secret? Their process was surprisingly straightforward. The good news is that you can do these things and raise $100,000 or more in a day. Here’s what I learned:
- All good fundraising starts with a great story. Jim and Brian together and individually engaged potential donors with a strong idea of the goals of their non-profit. They then painted a picture of what they could do with the money.
- Be passionate about your vision. These two men were impassioned about their dream for Los Angeles and what they could do with the right support. They weren’t loud or overly dramatic – sometimes the opposite. I once saw Brian speaking so softly the other person leaned in to hear every word. The point is, they cared deeply and genuinely and they conveyed that in their message.
- Give details. Speaking in specifics is more powerful than giving general thoughts or concepts. Jim often gave the names of people and organizations we hoped to support.
- Show prospective donors the money trail. There is a lot of talk and publicity around the costs that many non-profits incur that are used in running the foundation. We had two budgets: one showed our operating expenses and the other showed where the money went.
- Follow up. Brian and Jim followed up every call or meeting with an email and sometimes even a letter. They’d include photos of the people they worked with and wanted to help even more.
- Most important: ask and ask often for people to contribute. And then make it easy for them to give by having a great website and service provider.
Since working with Brian and Jim, I’ve taken these tools with me wherever I go. They’ve worked time and again and now that we are in a digital age, I see these as being even more needed than ever. The good news is, adding these components to your online fundraising efforts are easy and can have the same effect. You too can raise over $100,000 in a day!
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