The number one reason why people do not give? THEY ARE NEVER ASKED. It’s true. Think about the last time you heard of a great cause by chance, but did not give. Then think about the last time a friend posted something on Facebook or sent you an email regarding a cause that is important to them. Even if you did not give, you THOUGHT about it more than you normally would.
My story is exactly that: Many years ago, just out of college, I started working for the USDA in my hometown of Ames, Iowa. Every year, they run a United Way campaign. My first year, someone just threw an envelope on my desk. No one ever followed up to see if I wanted to give, and no one ever talked about what those dollars were doing in our community. I did not give.
The next year, the person in charge of the campaign at our site tried something new. She invited us to come to a breakfast meeting, listen to some stories about the work United Way of Story County was doing, and asked us to consider contributing. Hearing the good my dollars could do and having someone I admired and respected ask me just to consider a gift, I made my very first contribution to United Way. It just so happens, 12 years later, I am working for the United Way of Elgin and doing the work of helping people understand what their gifts accomplish in our community.
But back to fundraising–many people dread fundraising, even for causes they really believe in. They feel like they are being ‘pushy’ or it’s not their place to ask friends to give up their hard-earned money.
So, how can YOU ask your friends and family to consider supporting an organization near and dear to your heart? Ask yourself this questions: Why do I support this organization. Is it their overall mission? Is it the results from a certain program? Do you volunteer with them and therefore see the impact of that organization in reality? THIS IS YOUR FUNDRAISING PITCH!
Most organizations have fundraising or development staff whose job it is to craft compelling stories about their organization’s work and why they are a worthy cause for charitable dollars. The key there is STORY. We all have one. Why we DO what we DO. Your story of why you support an organization is all you need to talk to your friends and neighbors about making a gift.
Practice telling your story first. Write down a paragraph that explains how you came to support that organization, and why you continue to support them today. Then add a sentence at the end to ask your audience to give:
- …so that’s why I believe in the work Organization X does. If you believe in this work as well, will you consider making a gift to help continue their success?
- …which is why I give to Organization X. Are you in?
- …as you can tell, I really believe in Organization X’s mission. On Giving Tuesday, will you join me in making a gift to keep [one key program, services, etc] available in our community?
Personal fundraising does not have to be scary. You can conduct it ALL online on ilgive.org on Giving Tuesday, November 28, 2017. Here’s a link to the #ILGive selfie tool kit. Just write out your story, ask your friends to consider giving, and hit send. You never know what success you will have until you ASK!
About Elissa Kojzarek
Elissa Kojzarek joined United Way of Elgin in 2008, and is currently the Director of Marketing. Elissa graduated from Iowa State University in 2004 and received her Master of Public Administration degree from Northern Illinois University in 2009. Before pursuing her master’s degree, she worked in finance for the USDA National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa. Elissa is also an elected official, serving as a Trustee for the Village of Gilberts since 2015. In addition to working to support Elgin area non-profits, she is mom to two BUSY sons, ages 5 and 20 months.