I am analogous to an Italian Chef who adores cooking — but who has never tasted a meatball. I consider myself a fundraising professional, but I have never participated in an event with a fundraising minimum. Sure, I’ve walked and biked to raise money for charities, but I’ve always shied away from committing to a nonprofit event that required a fundraising minimum.

I’ve decided this is the year that I’m making it happen (gulp). I’ve already registered for my event of choice. I’m walking the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure. I will walk 60 miles and raise $2300 to help find a cure for breast cancer. Full disclosure – I work on this event in my professional life. Another full disclosure – I love the 3-Day for the Cure. It’s a great event for an amazing nonprofit with a critical mission.

Having chosen an event has made me a little less nervous. At least I know the challenge I’m facing. I also recognize that my friends and family will be monumentally impressed that I’m walking 60 miles. Let’s just say I’m not an endurance athlete (or an athlete at all). I do like to walk, but I generally keep it under two miles at a time. So telling the people in my life that I’m taking on such a huge challenge will hopefully encourage them to respond in a big way.

So far I’ve had a great response. I’ve raised about half of my $2300 minimum. These donations have come from my co-workers, family and friends. I have truly been overwhelmed by their generosity. A month ago when I began fundraising, I would not have guessed that I would already be half-way to my goal. I am really proud of what I’ve accomplished so far, and as a fundraising professional it’s been a fantastic experience to see how fundraising theory plays out in the real world.

Here are a few tips I’ve found helpful:

1. Plan ahead. Don’t ask every person you know to donate $5 if that will only get you to $500. Make a list of who you’ll ask and how much you’ll ask for from each person or group of people. Don’t limit yourself to monetary donations. People who aren’t in a position to give money may be willing to help in other ways. Perhaps he or she can donate time for a car wash or clean out his or her garage to donate items to a yard sale.

2. Make it easy. Present your request in a way that makes sense to each donor. Don’t send an email to your grandmother if she is still using a dial-up internet connection. Likewise, avoid sending a letter in the mail to your 25 year-old niece who is always on her iPhone.

3. Timing is key. Most online gifts are made during work hours when potential donors are at their computers, so don’t wait for the weekend to send out an email to co-workers asking for a donation. In my personal experience, I have found that Fridays are a good day to send out email solicitations. People are in a good mood and may be feeling more generous than usual. Also, consider sending out your request on the day that your co-workers are paid. They may be more willing to donate when their wallets are full.

I’ve finally tasted the meatballs — and they are delicious. I can’t believe that I waited so long.


Share Button