Getting Ready Preparing for success in fundraising
There are a few logistics you should consider at the beginning of your fundraising effort. These will help you be a better fundraiser and avoid some common pitfalls.
- Get some professional advice on what legal requirements there are for fundraisers and organizers, especially if you are creating a Political Action Committee (PAC) or other organization for your campaign. ASA can help local chapters manage these issues.
- Set up a bookkeeping system and diligently track all income and expenses. You probably need this information for state and federal reporting purposes at some point. It is also important that donors and potential donor are confident that your effort or organization is transparent and credible.
- Be sure to provide a receipt and a thank you note to every donor, no matter how much they give. This makes donors feel good about their contribution, which means they are more likely to give again!
- Prepare some printed materials for your campaign in advance. Potential donors may want to see a brochure, campaign plan, talking points, web site, language of your proposed ordinance or initiative, etc. Be sure you materials look professional and are accurate. This enhances your credibility. Be careful not to overwhelm donors with too much material. You do not want to give them more than they are going to read.
Other fundraising tips:
- Do not be intimidated to ask for money to support your campaign. You are giving donors a chance to participate in and support a cause in which they believe. That is a great service to provide!
- Do not be put off if a donor says he or she cannot afford to contribute. People have different ideas about what is affordable or appropriate to donate. If a donor cannot or will not give the amount you request, ask him or her what they can do and let them decide an amount.
- Focus on opportunity instead of needs. Let the donor know that supporting your campaign is an opportunity to accomplish something – help patients, build an industry, protect the community, etc. Some donors do not respond well to a pitch based on the campaign’s needs – i.e. the rent is due, we are short on funds, etc.
- Ask for money face to face whenever possible. It is easier to say no to an email, letter, or phone call.
- Ask larger donors to consider a matching funds arrangement. This is a scenario where a larger donor will match the contributions of smaller donors up to a certain point. Many large donors like matching funds arrangements, because they feel good about encouraging others to join them in supporting the cause. Smaller donors like matching funds efforts because they feel good about doubling the impact of their gift.