Previous Haiti team member and 2013 fundraiser, Andrea Niessen provides some helpful advice and encouragement for those people currently working on fundraising for Haiti…
Recently, I talked to a few of the new volunteers who are trying to get a spot on the team for the first time. Many of them told me that they were sure different people would donate who didn´t, that it started so slowly, that they are convinced they will never be able to make it. So I dedicate this blog entry to you all! Here are a few fundraising ideas for you, step by step 🙂
First you need to find out why this project is THE project you want to work on, what wakes your dedication, why do you want to be part of this team! For me it was being already fascinated for some time about how much we can achieve in such a poor country as Haiti. That we CAN really make a difference. And that it is important to do this with a good organization, an organization you feel safe with and trust in, because while going over and helping is important, it’s essential that it is “the right way of helping”.
When you go over to Haiti you notice that even if the people there have nothing, they are such friendly and happy individuals. So it is important to not bring them our way of life, but to help them develop in their own way. This is what Random Acts does in supporting local people, who work every day for the kids in Jacmel and know what is the right way to help and make a deep positive impact.
Okay lets talk about the next step, I have an email with information I sent out to everybody I know. Because after finding out what YOU see in the project and what it means to you, you need to talk, talk, talk! Talk everywhere and to everybody! Don´t give up too early! It is the hardest in the beginning. You have to do a lot of talking to get people feel confident and safe with the project and to donate. Many people need more than one touch with the project before they become active, but I learned that there are donors where you never expected them, maybe even your biggest supporter.
Try to get people personally involved. Build a bridge between them, their donation and the kids in Haiti. Why THEY should donate. Try to find out, what is important for potential donors and how you can get them enthusiastic about the project. Tell them that there is a possibility for you to go over and be their bridge, their representative. Think about where you can find people who could be interested. Is there maybe somebody you know who works in a big company, which could be interested in donating? (Keep in mind that they may be able to use the donation as a tax deduction.)
And work with friendly reminders. You can style them like a little update, for instance “look how much the team already raised” then it is not very pushy but polite and friendly 🙂 This will infect donors who need more then one touch with the project (mentioned below – remember?) 🙂
Very important: Never forget to say thank you! Do it in public, mentioning people saying that they donated and that they are an important part of your team now. This shows your donors how important they are for you and what a big difference each and every one of them makes and how proud they can be about supporting such a wonderful cause (you can be very proud too!! 🙂 ) and the side effect of this is that you remind everybody again of the project (we talked about the friendly reminders right? 🙂 )
And, MOST IMPORTANT – don´t let people bring you down. I went over and saw that it is great what we are doing in Haiti. Sometimes people can be critical, but you can convince them with your ongoing work and dedication. And then they come and donate! So KEEP YOUR ENTHUSIASM! It will infect people! Believe me! You are doing great with what you are working on. It always takes some time till it starts to roll and at one point your labour starts to bring fruits and donations will come 🙂 Keep up the good work! Enjoy the great energy in fundraising and let it inspire people to help you.