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Fundraising Tricks and Tips

You’ve done it! You’ve signed up to fundraise. You have this really cool idea too – something you’re going to feel good doing, and others will enjoy hearing about. And you’ve set an ambitious fundraising goal! You’re going to make a real impact by achieving it. 

Except… you’ve never fundraised a day in your life and you don’t know where to start. Not to fear, you’ve come to the professionals! Check out our top fundraising tips below.

Tip #1: It’s not an ask, it’s an offer.

This might be a huge mindset shift for you. We’ve grown up with so many beliefs about money:

  • It doesn’t grow on trees. 
  • You don’t talk about it. 
  • Money is bad. 
  • You don’t deserve it unless you work hard. 
  • There will never be enough money.
  • Money will make your dreams come true.
  • Money will solve all your problems.

When you ask others to give you some of their “hard-earned” cash, all of your beliefs and anxieties about money can hold you back. However, I want you to reframe how you think about the “ask”. Because it’s not an ask, it’s an offer. 

You’re offering people who love you the opportunity to come on this fundraising adventure with you. You’re offering them a chance to be a part of something bigger. It’s an offer to share in your passions. And it’s an offer to change lives through quality education – children will be able to break out of the cycle of poverty in their communities because your friends and family donate.

From a Wellspring perspective, it’s an opportunity to participate in God’s Kingdom-building work here on Earth. We get to be His hands and feet, and show others what His love looks like. 

It’s not about the money. It’s so much bigger than that. And that leads us to Tip #2:

Tip #2: Share Your Why

Take a minute and really think about it. Why did you sign up to be a part of this life-changing mission? What’s your motivator? Why are you passionate about transforming education systems in Africa? 

Reflect. Write it down. Read it over. Make edits.

Wellspring has templates for you to use as you fundraise. Generic emails, social media posts, filler language for your fundraising profile. But those are our words and not yours. They don’t sound like you, they sound like us. And the people you are going to invite to be a part of your fundraiser are your people. They know you, they care about you, and they will care about the things you care about – if you tell them why.

When you send emails or texts, post on your social media, or have conversations, be ready to share why you are passionate about what you’re doing. Because that passion and excitement will shine through, and that’s what will motivate your network to give, and give more.

Tip #3: Make personal connections

Okay, you did it – you posted your fundraiser on your social media! So far you’ve received a couple of likes, a supportive comment from your mother, and… no donations. You try it again three days later. Another post, another few likes and this time your Uncle Bob donated $15! But you were hoping he’d give $100, and your fundraising goal is $1,000. This isn’t getting you anywhere. What’s going wrong?

This is a pitfall many new fundraisers fall into. They know about influencers who raise hundreds of thousands by simply posting online and they figure it will be that simple. However, it is generally not that simple. People have busy lives, and as they scroll through their feed they might see your post and think about giving, but they will probably make the choice to “donate later”. Which becomes a choice to donate never, because they forget.

This is why you need to reach out to people directly. Message them, get in their inbox, and ensure they know that you have asked them specifically to give. It’s a lot harder to ignore a personal request when they know you will be expecting a response. And that leads us to Tip #4:

Tip #4: Tailor the Offer

In the example above, Uncle Bob only gave $15, but is maybe a wealthy guy and you expected him to give a larger gift – because he could. But Uncle Bob had no idea that you were hoping he would give more. Perhaps he thought that this fundraiser was mostly targeted at your friends, or didn’t realize the size of your goal. If you have a relationship with him where you would feel comfortable (or only mildly uncomfortable) giving him a direct ask with a number, you can do that. Share with him what the impact of a gift of that size could be by pulling numbers from our gift catalogue

In many cases, a specific requested amount won’t be appropriate, but there are other ways to tailor your messaging as well. If you know someone who won’t take the time to read a long email, keep it brief. If you know someone who loves stories, share a story of impact from our blog. Your fundraising activity itself may provide opportunities for message tailoring as you pair what you’re doing with what they love. 

Taking the time to create messaging that fits to your relationship with the invitee will reinforce your efforts from Tip #3. They will appreciate that you’ve taken the time to consider who they are, and how you’ve made this offer just for them.

Tip #5: Offer, and Offer Again

In Tip #3, you weren’t receiving responses because of how indirect the request was, but I have some unfortunate news: directed offers may be ignored as well. 

Now to be clear, you’re definitely going to see a better response from those direct requests than from the indirect ones, but you’ll still have people who don’t respond. That’s okay. Like I mentioned above, people are busy. With everything going on in their lives, they might not even see your request. Or they might see it, and intend to act on it, but get distracted by something else and forget.

That’s why it’s important to not take non-responsiveness as a ‘no’ and instead follow up. If you sent them an email the first time, you can email them again with a reminder or use a different method of contact like texting. Don’t overwhelm them with touchpoints, but ensure they have enough of a reminder to act on your request – or get back to you with a ‘no’ if they can’t give this time.

Tip #6: Use multiple platforms

Tip #5 leads nicely into Tip #6, which is a recommendation that you share your fundraiser in multiple ways. Social media by itself might not have a strong return, but if someone sees your post and then receives an email to give, that’s two ways in which they’ve been connected to your efforts. The social media post may have made them think about giving, while the email was the nudge they needed to actually do it. And the reverse is true as well, with a social media post indirectly reinforcing that email you sent out two days ago. Your contact might receive an email, see your post online, receive another email, and then finally give after you send a text. Try different methods of connection until you find what works for each individual.

Tip #6: Say Thank You & Follow Up

This is our final tip, but it’s SO IMPORTANT. Remember, you didn’t just ask for money, end of story. Instead, you offered your contact the opportunity to come on your journey to transform lives together. They want to know how that journey goes and the part that they played!

Thank them for partnering with you. Tell them how much you raised, and how your fundraising activity went. And share with them the impact of their giving. Use amounts from our gift catalogue as a comparison, and pull stories from our blogThe funny thing about fundraising is that acts of kindness release oxytocin and dopamine into our systems. We feel good when we give. So cement that good feeling and put a smile on their face with a thank you.

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