Fundraising without Support

One of the most common concerns that clients express when starting their fundraising campaign is that they don’t know enough people who will be able to, or willing to, donate.   This is a valid concern, and an understandable one, but be assured that your fundraising prospects are never as limited as they may seem. There are many ways to fundraise and not having friends and family who can donate does not mean that you won’t be able to reach your goal.  What it does mean is that you will need to be creative, do your research, and think of alternative ways to solicit donations.

The first thing that you should do when fundraising is to make a list of the people that you do know.  Chances are you actually have many more people that you can ask than you initially realize – use this handy checklist to map out the existing contacts that you already have.   It’s not just about asking the people in your life who you’re regularly in touch with.  You can ask people who you have any type of relationship with. Also, you will want to contact the people you know and ask them to contact whoever they know as well.  You probably have people in your life with contacts that you’re not aware of – leverage those contacts!

It’s important to note that the clients who raise the most funds aren’t just reaching out to their immediate friends and family.  Instead, they are finding people in their communities and forging connections with them.  There are a number of different ways that this can be done.  One of the most popular is contacting local businesses and asking if they would be willing to help by either making a donation or allowing you to post a flyer or leave a collection jar.  Ask your neighbors and coworkers to do the same, if possible.

You will want to devote some time to locating resources in your community.  Your town or city hall can be very helpful with this.  Many communities have funding available to assist residents in need but this is not always widely known.  Talking to town employees can often get you pointed in the right direction.  Also, do everything you can to make contact with civic organizations in your area.  They are often very helpful and generally easy to locate.  You can read more about them in this article about civic organizations.

Many clients will offer a service or product in exchange for a donation to NEADS.  We’ve had clients offer to make scarves and quilts through Etsy and Facebook Marketplace for a donation of a set amount.  We’ve seen offers of yard- work, snow shoveling, and babysitting for donations, and we even had a client offer to do peoples’ taxes as a thank you for a donation.  Some clients will make baked goods or crafts and sell them at work, or at schools and craft fairs.  Think about the hobbies that you have, and that the people that you know have, and consider ways in which those hobbies could be used to boost your fundraising.  Be creative!

The ideas above are just a small selection of examples but there are endless ways to fundraise.  Since a lot of fundraising is trial and error, the best thing you can do is to make many attempts, using varied methods, and then you will get a feel for what is going work best for you.  Don’t be discouraged if something doesn’t work… try something else.  And remember, the key to fundraising is communication.  The more you spread word about fundraising for NEADS, and ask others to do the same, the more success you will have.