- Tue, November 27 2007
- Filed under: Fundraising essentials
Some weeks ago, after a speech I gave in North Carolina, Robyn Fehrman came up to me and told me about how she spends her free time. By day, Robyn is a program officer at the Triangle Community Foundation. But in her spare time, she volunteers to raise awareness about homelessness in Durham, NC and raise funds for Genesis Home (a transitional shelter for homeless families with children) through the Tri to End Homelessness campaign. For ten months, she’s been tirelessly raising thousands of dollars with her sister for the cause.
I’m thankful there are people like Robyn in the world.
Here’s her story:
As triathletes and community advocates, my sister Rachel Dirito and I dedicated our 2007 triathlon season to supporting Genesis Home and speaking out. We documented our year on our blog and raised nearly $6,000 - $4,000 of which was matched by a local private foundation. In March, we specifically mentioned Network for Good’s 6 Degrees program in our post.
Since I’m a big advocate of getting people like Robyn behind your cause, I asked her to share some advice about how she became an effective superactivist. Here’s her story—and her advice. Wouldn’t you know, it’s the same basic stuff that works so well. Keep these basics in mind as you head into the final stretch of fundraising season 2007. We forget them too often!
We found success in the old stand-bys of (1) Asking for money! (2) Thanking donors promptly with handwritten thank you notes and (3) Letting donors know how their money has been used.
We also communicated a lot. We recommend that you:
1. Use Many Channels: Create buzz by telling your story through multiple “genres.” The Tri to End Homelessness campaign was anchored at our BLOG; however, we also EMAILED friends and family, wore BUTTONS that said “Ask Me About Genesis Home” during training runs/ rides and at races throughout the year, wrote a story for Genesis Home’s NEWSLETTER, met IN PERSON with folks, and sent in stories to LOCAL NEWSPAPERS & MAGAZINES.
2. Help folks find a personal connection to your issue. For many folks, homelessness is something they would rather just not think about or something that they have a hard time connecting with. We became that connection through telling our own personal stories about why this issue was important to us.
3. Update folks about your goals. Having a blog helped us stay in touch with our donors/ audience and allowed us to regularly update them on both our fundraising and triathlon goals. These regular updates helped to cultivate ongoing connection.
So listen to Robyn - don’t forget to ask, thank and show. And communicate often, in many ways.
In honor of her cause, I’m posting this video: