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Cultivate A "Grass-Roots" Fundraising
by Tony Poderis
Many non-profit organizations serve individuals who pay very little or who are unable to pay anything in the way of fees for the services they receive. They generally are in no position to give even the smallest donation to their organizations' annual fund. In all instances those client - user groups are grateful for the good being done for them and their families. They quite often ask if they can do anything within their power and means to show appreciation to their service organizations since they have no money to give to them. Leaders of those non-profits want to know how best they can respond when at the times the people whom they serve say, "I know you need money and I want to help. Is there anything I can do?"
I have found many such individuals were able to solicit small donations from their immediate family members, other relatives, friends, co-workers, and from other sources personal to them. They responded well to plans presented to them by their organizations' development officers and trustees. Perhaps your organization can do the same by employing a model of such a program I have used a number of times with success.
However, you should present the idea only when your clients or users of your programs and services enthusiastically volunteer their support. And, most important, you must be absolutely certain there is not even the slightest misperception that the quality and frequency of the services they receive from your organization are at all influenced whether or not they engage in fund-raising activities.
Some Non-Profit Organizations Have Successfully Adapted This Type Of Campaign
Is Such A Campaign Right For Your Organization?
The Proposal For The Campaign
(Organization): Annual Fund Campaign
"FRIENDS OF (ORGANIZATION)"
Organizing The Campaign
From every 10 volunteers, you should recruit one individual to be that group's "Captain," who in turn report to the "Friends" Chairperson or Co-Chairperson. This will allow for control and accountability. Then you will be in position to provide the necessary and simple solicitation resources --- as follows:
Instructions For The Volunteer Solicitor
From: _____________________________, Chairperson
Thank you for volunteering to solicit contributions to support and to help make possible the outstanding and quality programs and services you know so well as provided by (Organization). Many people from our area benefit significantly from (organizationĖs) programs and services. Your special fund-raising efforts will be greatly appreciated by everyone associated with this outstanding program.
You have been given 12 "Friends" campaign flyers. Please work to personally present a flyer to each of your personally chosen prospects. The flyer explains the campaign, and requests that the contribution be presented to you. Contact the office for additional flyers at any time.
We ask that you seek $25 contributions from people close to you: immediate family, other relatives, friends, co-workers, associates, vendors, doctors, suppliers of other services, etc. Have them make their checks payable to (Organization). Please attempt to obtain checks, rather than cash. When you have raised contributions from 10 (or more, if you wish) sources, you may mail the checks and this completed donor information form to the (Organization) office, or you are welcome to deliver the packet in person. We request that you complete your solicitations by (Date).
1)_____________________________________________ $ _____
2)_____________________________________________ $ _____
3)_____________________________________________ $ _____
4)_____________________________________________ $ _____
5)_____________________________________________ $ _____
6) (etc., to twelve total spaces......)
Total Contributions Enclosed: $ _________
Please Return This Form And Contributions To: (Organization)
Solicitation Leaflet Or Flyer To Be Presented To Each Prospect By The Volunteers
BE A "FRIEND OF ORGANIZATION"
HERE IS AN IMPORTANT WAY FOR YOU TO HELP SUPPORT AND ENCOURAGE THE QUALITY AND ENRICHING PROGRAMS AND SERVICES PROVIDED BY (ORGANIZATION) TO THE COMMUNITY.
FOR YOUR GIFT, YOU WILL RECEIVE CERTAIN PREMIUMS AND BENEFITS DESIGNED TO WELCOME YOU TO THE (ORGANIZATION) FAMILY.
WHEN YOU MAKE A CONTRIBUTION OF $25 TO (ORGANIZATION), YOU WILL RECEIVE: (Contribution is fully tax-deductible according to IRS rules.)
Suggestion --- The premiums or benefits should be developed with economy in mind and procedures for their distribution which would be cost-effective. They are only meant to be tokens of appreciation and not expensive rewards.
PLEASE MAKE YOUR CHECK PAYABLE TO: (ORGANIZATION). GIVE IT TO OUR VOLUNTEER, WHO WILL FORWARD YOUR WELCOME AND APPRECIATED GIFT TO THE (ORGANIZATION) OFFICES.
UPON RECEIPT OF YOUR "FRIENDS OF (ORGANIZATION)" GIFT, YOU WILL HAVE YOUR SUPPORT ACKNOWLEDGED BY MAIL. THE PREMIUMS AND BENEFITS WILL BE PROCESSED AND PRESENTED TO YOU AS APPLICABLE AND AVAILABLE.
THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR GENEROUS AND THOUGHTFUL SUPPORT OF (ORGANIZATION). WHATEVER AMOUNT YOU GIVE WILL BE WELCOME AND APPRECIATED.
The (Organization) "Friends" Campaign Leadership: ( Print name(s)
As you do when considering any fund-raising endeavor, your leadership and colleagues will determine if the campaign is right for your organization.
If you develop such a campaign, good luck to you, and may your "grass-roots" fund-raising campaign go deep!
About the Author:
The author, Tony Poderis, is a Non-Profit Fund-Raising Development Professional, Author, and Consultant.
Tony was for 20 years to 1993 Director of Development for The Cleveland Orchestra and its Summer home, Blossom Music Center. He was responsible for ClevelandĖs largest annual institutional fund-raising campaign. Since 1993, Tony has been a fund-raising consultant serving all non-profit institutionsĖ needs to develop and to maximize their potential to raise Annual, Endowment, Capital, and Sponsorship & Underwriting funds. He is a Senior Consultant with Resource Development Network, a highly respected, widely recommended, full service fund-raising firm.
Tony's experiences have won him a wide audience, and at many hundreds of seminars and workshops in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and Mexico over the course of his 30 years in fund-raising, he has addressed every facet of raising contributed income for social service, medical, educational, religious, and cultural institutions. He is a fund-raising Speaker/Specialist consultant to the United States Information Agency and the Mexican Government.
Tony is the author of a 115 page book on fund-raising published by FundAmerica Press titled It's a Great Day to Fund-Raise! In this publication, now in its second printing, he has condensed his nearly three decades of fund-raising experience to provide a concise step-by-step guide to help all volunteers and professionals be as successful as possible as they carry out their fund-raising responsibilities for their respective non-profit organizations.
Visit Tony's web site, http://raise-funds.com for more great fundraising information, to purchase his book, or to check out the many seminars and workshops he holds throughout the country.