There is a reason why I called this Fun Raising rather than FundRaising… Many people hate asking other people for money (myself included)… And if you think of this as FUN (as opposed to asking for a handout or begging), then you might just psych yourself into another frame of mind… as if it’s fun and it just might turn out that way.
I remember a time years ago when a group of us were selling seminars, trying to get registrations and it was tough going. Seemed like everyone and their brother had a seminar or workshop. EST, Actualizations and other personal growth seminars were BIG… so how was ours different? just changed my life… how do I tell that to anyone?
One day the founder of the organization suggested that we go to the beach and have a No contest. A No contest? The person who got the MOST No’s won the contest… We were to go up to everyone on the beach and try to sell/register them in the seminar… and off we went to the beaches. We had a BLAST. The pressure was OFF since all we had to get were No’s… and the person who got the MOST No’s won. Turned the whole thing upside down, inside out and made it really crazy FUN…
So, now, you got a non-profit status with the IRS 501c3 status? Now what… wanna have fun and raise money, to boot?
Check out Best Friends Animal Society’s web page…
What can you learn from the nation’s largest no-kill shelter ? They started out a group of best friends who were rescuing animals. And now 30+ years later, they have grown into a well-known organization with a huge network, with a show on the National Geographic and articles in the New York Times, plus a book. How did they do all of that? They’ve got lots of stories about the animals and photos galore on their website and in all of their promotional materials.
They’ve got members who subscribe to the magazine and give healthy donations. Best Friends have gotten celebrities involved in their cause.
I remember back years ago (12 + years ago) when I first met the people Best Friends. I was living in Las Vegas and every time I went to Whole Foods market, there were a couple of folks outside behind a table telling me about these animals they were helping. Asking for donations. They were a constant presence, every time I went shopping, almost every time.
Same with Animal Friends Rescue in Pacific Grove, California. They were always outside Trader Joe’s. Now after 10 years, Animal Friends has a storefront.
Both of these rescue groups started small, and were/are visible in their community and talking to people about the animals, participating with Pet stores for adoptions, and asking for donations.
These organizations started out just like you. People who care about animals. And you can learn from their successes. They are both non-profits because people who give big money donations to dog rescue groups, including big foundations who award grants, want to deduct their donation for tax purposes. If you don’t have non-profit status, they probably won’t give you the Big Bucks.
It’s also essential to have a newsletter, website (include a donate button, media press room and press kit), magazine or ezine to tell people about the animals on a regular basis. Through these publications you can appeal for new donations to folks, new and past supporters, members, funders and people who have adopted from your organization.
Sending out newsworthy press releases on a regular basis to alert the media about your good works is also important. The media love a good heartwarming tale and/or sad shaggy dog story.
If you need to find a professional writer to help you with the above, I offer a discounted rate to all animal rescues.
Meanwhile, if you want to write funraising letters yourself, keep these tips in mind…
Tell a story… make it personal… give people one particular animal to care about. Reel them into a compelling story and make it light-hearted. People like to give partly because they want to help homeless and abandoned animals, it makes them feel good to contribute. It would be nice if they felt the same way about people, but I digress. Maybe the person did an animal wrong at some time and still feel guilty and want to right the wrong, were abused as kids, were not able to have a pet or want to teach their kids to have a heart and to give. Many times, they want to feel part of something larger than themselves, a good and worthy cause, and sometimes just because you asked, and they have the means, they will reach into their wallet, checkbook, or credit card and pull out $1000 or more, you never know.
Your letter has to convey to the reader that giving to your organization will satisfy the reasons people want to give. Give them what they want. Make them happy.
It is also important to convey specifically where their money will go and who and how it will help. Start your letter off with the story of a pit bull (Best Friends Vicktory dogs) who were rescued from Michael Vicks dog fighters, a dangerous and abusive situation and how now, that very same pit bull is being cared for in a loving home. Just an example. Or how about the cats who were living in a dumpster. Show them that their money matters. Remind them about all of the well-behaved, loving dogs who deserve forever homes.
Show potential donors that you can help them help the dogs. All they have to do is give.
If you write the letter keeping the donor’s needs in mind, you will get better results. Also, make it easy for them to give. Accept credit card payments, paypal, and checks. Put the info on your website so all they have to do is click.
Consider your typical donor. Who is that person? Can you write a letter as if you’re writing directly to her (or him)? What would you say to them? How would you tell them your story? Don’t censor as you write. Write as if you were speaking directly to the person, and don’t forget to ask for the donation.
Maybe you feel as though you are begging and have a hard time asking for money, but if you try to avoid the topic, then you will never get the donation. Ask and you shall receive. Don’t ask and you won’t.
After you are done writing the letter, put it aside for the evening. Let it percolate overnight. In the morning, read the letter again and go over the letter with a red pen, editing along the way. But don’t edit it too much. You don’t want the letter to be so boring, perfect, prim and proper that no one will want to read it.
If you hate writing and many people do, please email me or visit me at
I’ll be glad to help spruce up the letter you’ve written. Or, I can write the letter for you.
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