Want to challenge your board members and volunteers to really make a difference for your group? Challenge them to Raise $1,000 in Ten Days! Here’s how…
This type of donation drive is ideal for sponsorships for your spay/ neuter campaigns in February, and is similar to getting sponsored donations for an a-thon, like a bowling-a-thon. It could also be used as a campaign for Christmas in July, in honor of Adopt a Dog Month (Oct) or Adopt a Cat Month (June), or any other animal holiday.
Start your campaign by soliciting three or four of your most active volunteers, and those with the best people skills, to embark on a unique challenge. You can make it lighthearted and humorous by labeling it “Extreme Fundraiser: Rescue/ Shelter Edition” or “So You Think You Can Fundraise?” or perhaps “America’s Next Top Fundraiser” after various television shows. Let them know that this will require them to ask people for money, and really raise awareness for the cause, but it will only last 10 days. Your volunteers will need to be prepared to really go all out with this campaign and ask, ask, ask!
Give your volunteers at least 2 weeks to prepare themselves and gather their thoughts for the event. This will give you time to train them a bit on how to make the ask, what details to provide about your nonprofit, and for them to get people ready for the campaign. Have your participating volunteers review the day to day breakdown below, and write down names of prospects they will solicit. Keep in mind that you may need to ask more than the number of people listed, because some people will say no. Not sure where to start or who to ask to get to the goal of $1,000? Ask FRANK! Be sure they understand how to fill out the pledge sheet showing how much was given by each donor and the donor’s contact information.
Start the campaign on a Monday morning, and end it 10 days later on Wednesday. This will give you a good chunk of two different work weeks, and a weekend. Aim for that weekend to fall on a typical payday Friday, such as mid-month or end of month.
Play up the media angle of this campaign by announcing to your local paper that several of your volunteers will be doing this challenge, and for readers to be on the lookout for them around town. Ask the paper to feature a photo of your volunteers so people will know who they are and feel connected to the excitement of the campaign. Let each volunteer explain briefly why they are taking the challenge, how they volunteer with the nonprofit, and whether they’re participating in honor of a favorite animal. You can ask your local radio show hosts to bring one or two of them in during drive time to talk about the nonprofit group and about their role in this donation drive campaign. Ask the radio show to mention your campaign every day if possible, giving frequent updates on how close they are to their goal.
You’ll also want to feature the campaign and your volunteers on your group’s website, linking to any online giving sites they are using to collect donations, or to individual Paypal buttons. When all is said and done, be sure to do a follow up interview with your media partners highlighting the success of the fundraiser, to crown the winner, and to publicly thank your wonderful volunteers for their efforts.
Here’s the day to day breakdown for the campaign:
Day 1- Donate $50 to your group. You give already, but this will get your campaign going with a nice sized donation, and show everyone that you’re committed to the cause. (Net $50)
Day 2- Ask 2 family members to donate $50 to your campaign, or 4 members to donate $25! You can mention this would be better than getting a birthday or Christmas gift this year, which makes it even easier for them! (Net $100)
Day 3- Ask 10 friends to donate $20 to your campaign. That’s what they’d pay to go out for drinks one night, or just for an entree’ at dinner. If it seems too steep for some, encourage 4 of them to band together and give just $5 each, totaling $20. Altogether, you want to get $200 from your friends. (Net $200)
Day 4- Ask 5 of your friendly, pet-loving neighbors to donate $20 to the campaign. (Net $100)
Day 5- Ask 5 of your co-workers (who always ask you to buy stuff from their kids) to donate $20. (Net $100)
Day 6- Ask 10 people you know who own pets to donate $10 each towards your cause. (Net $100)
Day 7- Ask 10 people from your social networks to give $10 each. This could be people from your book club, your yoga class, your church group and your bowling league. (Net $100)
Day 8- Ask a civic organization you’re affiliated with in your town to pledge $100 to your campaign. (Net $100)
Day 9- Ask your company/ employer to match your $50 donation. You can usually do this through the Human Resources Dept. (Net $50)
Day 10- Ask 5 companies or professionals with whom you’ve done frequent business to give just $20 to the campaign (Net $100). This could be your dentist, your doctor, your hairstylist, your favorite restaurant. You are a repeat client, and it’s fine to ask them to sponsor you in this campaign.
THANKING TIME! While you may have thanked your donors along the way, now is the time to send out a formal thank you note, detailing your cause, the group’s mission, and your success in this campaign! Be sure to include a donation receipt from your group’s treasurer detailing the amount given to the nonprofit group.
You’ve just raised $1,000 in 10 days!
If you try this campaign every year, you can increase the number of volunteers who participate in the fundraising. As an annual contest, you can create a small trophy or plaque that can be passed around from winner to winner, along with the obvious bragging rights that the winner receives.
- People give because they were asked!
- Mention your goal early in your pitch.
- Keep your pledge sheet and money bag with you at ALL times during the campaign! You never know when someone may donate! (Only keep enough money on hand to make change as needed. Leave the rest at home.)
- Make it a contest between you and a few other members.
- Or, make it a contest for yourself! If you reach $1,000 in 10 days, you’ll _________ (shave your head, dye your hair pink for the day, kiss a pig…)
- Take the campaign online by using Facebook or starting a page on FirstGiving or another online donation site.
- You may hear NO, and that’s OK. Just keep asking to reach your goal! Accept smaller donations and continue to ask until you reach your goal!
- Offer to match the highest gift from an individual!
- If you have lots of media coverage and many enthusiastic donors, you may reach your goal quickly. No problem, just increase the goal amount a bit to see which volunteer can raise the most!
NOTE: This extreme push for individual donations is not something you should do often. This well can’t be tapped every time you fall a little short of money. Use it as part of a major campaign once a year, but don’t wear out your welcome with these individual donors. The donors won’t be as willing to give in the future if you tap them frequently, and may not be willing to attend future events for your group.