DoinGood In Review: “Ask and Ye Shall Receive”
In all of my DoinGood, I think I’ve asked people for very little beyond their support of what I was doing. Or maybe for a little of their time to volunteer. Mostly because I don’t like the disappointment of hearing “No!” So when my friend Nina asked if I would join her team for this year’s March of Dimes March for Babies in Downtown Atlanta, I was excited about participating but a little nervous at the prospect of having to raise money. Nina wasn’t putting much pressure at all on our team of seven; the original goal was for the group to bring in about $250 for the cause. But of course it was getting very hyped up in my head. It meant having to ask people to part with their hard-earned cash – was I going to be comfortable with that? Or, more importantly, would anyone actually give me anything?
So I decided to try something that, although I was sure it would make me extremely uncomfortable, I also knew would probably be my most effective fundraising method: I wrote down a few personalized thoughts about what a great cause I felt the March of Dimes really was, put it out there to my social networks, and asked people to give starting at just $10. And wouldn’t you know it; within just a few hours of posting the link on Facebook and Twitter, I had my first donor: a friend from college! My original goal was to raise $100 but ultimately my friends and family gave a little over $200 to support the March of Dimes’ research and support programs. What an amazing and touching show of support!
Why am I sharing this story with you? Mainly because I hope the lessons I’ve learned from my first foray into fundraising can be helpful to others who are nervous about asking others to financially (or otherwise) support their DoinGood:
(1) Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need. Obviously a lesson that applies to more in life than fundraising but if I hadn’t put it out there, nobody would even know what I was trying to accomplish…or that I needed their help to get it done.
(2) Connect with your network! My sponsors for Saturday’s walk ranged from people I’ve known my whole life (i.e. my dad) to a guy that used to be one of my supervisors on the job a few years ago. I didn’t do anything crazy to get people’s attention – just posted on Facebook and Twitter a few times and wrote a few emails.
(3) Tell people why the cause is important to you personally. My family has got babies on the brain these days because my cousin just had a baby girl a few weeks ago…and during my fundraising campaign we found out I’m going to be an auntie for the first time later this year! Of course an organization whose mission is to bring healthy full-term babies into the world was going to capture our attention after that news.
By the way, the walk was 5.5 miles of awesome. According to 11Alive’s coverage, there were 15,000 walkers at the four Metro Atlanta walks this weekend! At the event downtown, the atmosphere was fun (we kicked off the walk with a drumline!), the course wasn’t difficult, and afterwards there was free lunch and a concert for everyone who participated. Thanks to March of Dimes for such a great experience!
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