It’s a popular misperception that charitable giving is strictly for the fortunate few who have large stores of disposable income. Volunteering, for one, is just as valuable to an organization as a monetary donation.
Your time is valuable and your free time is precious. Showing up to support a cause these days implies a certain level of seriousness and commitment that tends to resonate with people, particularly those who know you best.
There’s also immense value in being a fundraiser. For all the talk of us becoming an increasingly and irreparably isolated society, we’ve never been more closely connected than we are at this very moment. And not just among our intimate circle of friends and immediate family. It’s nothing to forge meaningful connections with people from vastly different cultures on the other side of the world.
Enter peer-to-peer fundraising.
What’s peer-to-peer fundraising?
Ever been asked to sponsor an acquaintance at work who’s running in a charity’s 5K or invited by a friend on Facebook to donate to a particular charity in lieu of buying a birthday gift? That’s peer-to-peer fundraising.
Basically, you’re acting as the charity’s liaison, soliciting donations on its behalf. Simple enough, right? It can be. But keep in mind that, thanks to the recent proliferation of peer-to-peer fundraising, many of us are being asked to donate on an almost-weekly basis at this point.
To distinguish your cause and reach your goal, follow these tips:
Personalize your pitch. Sure, your mom’s likely to donate just because it’s you who’s asking. But everyone else is going to wonder about your connection to this particular charity. That introductory message, whether you’re posting it on Facebook or leading off an email, is your best opportunity to personalize your pitch. And don’t worry about your writing ability. Just be sincere.
Don’t forget to, uh, ask for a donation. You’d be shocked to know how often it happens, either through simple forgetfulness or extreme awkwardness when it comes to asking people for money. So, make sure you do so before posting or hitting send, and be as direct as you can be. A passive ask leaves too much room for misinterpretation. By being direct, you’re making your intent clear.
Get the ball rolling. If people start visiting your fundraising page and they see a balance of exactly $0.00, few, if any, are going to be willing to break the ice. Remember what I said earlier about charitable giving being strictly for the rich? Without a precedent, most are likely not to give just because they believe their donation would be too little to help anyway. Avoid all of that by plunking down the first $10 yourself. At the very least, it’ll show you’re personally invested in the cause.
Update early and often. Everyone wants to be assured that their donation is making a difference. By updating your Facebook friends or everyone on your mailing list, you’re helping with that. It enables them to watch your progress and appreciate that they’re a part of something larger than them. It also nurtures trust because you didn’t abandon them once they donated. Which means, if all goes to plan, you can do this again in next year.