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Table of Contents
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How to Raise $500 to $5000 From Almost Anyone
A 1-Hour Guide for Board Members, Volunteers and Staff
by Andy Robinson, 109 pp., $24.95 (Click here for quantity discount information.)
(Now geared to organizations of any size, How to Raise Gifts of $500 to $5000 from Almost Anyone is a revised and expanded edition of Big Gifts for Small Groups)
What size gift do most donors give?
Poll the development offices of most any nonprofits and they’ll confirm it’s in the range of $500 to $5000.
BONUS! Bring this book to life for your volunteers
When you order FIVE or more copies of How to Raise $500 to $5000 from Almost Anyone, you’ll receive Books Alive!, a set of hands-on activities Andy has developed to help your board overcome their fears. Each is tied to a chapter in his book.
Andy uses them with the boards he trains, so they’re field-tested and practically guaranteed to work for yours.
That’s philanthropy’s sweet spot, if you will - an amount one can feel comfortable giving without consulting a retinue of advisors.
Besides being easier to secure, what distinguishes these gifts, as Andy Robinson notes in his book, How to Raise $500 to $5000 from Almost Anyone, are the following:
- They don’t require intensive research
- Prolonged cultivation isn’t necessary
- Soliciting is simple and straightforward
- The campaign can be launched, and concluded, in a span of weeks or months
Two other key elements are worth noting:
- Gifts of this size significantly widen your prospect pool
- Yet, at $500 to $5000, these gifts are ambitious enough to reward the effort of your board and volunteers.
ALSO BY THIS AUTHOR: For those wanting boards with clearly defined objectives, meetings with more focus, broader participation in fundraising, and better follow-through between meetings, then Andy Robinson’s book, Great Boards for Small Groups, is the blueprint.
In essence, what Robinson has produced is the Everyman’s guide to asking - a proven, uncomplicated strategy for raising a substantial sum of money in a hurry.
Surprisingly, the book takes just an hour to read. But Andy Robinson, the quintessential pragmatist, doesn’t need any longer than that to fully prepare your board and volunteers for roll up your sleeves, down and dirty, “Hey, we just went over goal!” campaign.
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About the Author
Andy Robinson (www.andyrobinsononline.com) provides training and consulting for nonprofits in fundraising, grantseeking, board development, marketing, earned income, planning, leadership development, and facilitation. Over the past sixteen years, Andy has worked with organizations in 47 US states and Canada. He specializes in the needs of groups working for human rights, social justice, environmental conservation, arts, and community development.
Andy is the author of several books, including How to Raise $500 to $5,000 From Almost Anyone and Great Boards for Small Groups, both published by Emerson & Church. When he’s not on the road, he lives in Plainfield, Vermont.
Watch Andy Robinson in action: www.youtube.com/watch?v=JnptquUZgPc
Table of Contents
- The money taboo
- Fundraising: It’s simpler than you think
- The word you hear most often in fundraising
- Where money comes from
- Where money goes
- Why $500 to $5,000?
- You, the philanthropist
- The day the beggar stopped begging
- “I can’t ask my friends!”
- “But I don’t know anyone who has money.”
- Prospecting: Looking beyond the locals
- Thy neighbor’s donor
- What’s the most effective way to ask for a gift?
- If you don’t have a goal, you won’t reach it
- Before you ask others, give money yourself
- Peer to peer fundraising: It’s not what you think
- Three keys: Honesty, follow-through, and reasonable expectations
- Act I: The letter
- Act II: The phone call
- Do I hear any objections?
- Where do we meet?
- Act III: The visit
- Two ears, one mouth
- Show and tell
- Name that number
- The gift of silence
- There are only three answers to the question, “Will you help us?”
- The installment plan
- After the yes: Eight questions you can ask donors
- Closing: Clarify your commitments
- Act IV: After the meeting
- The most meaningful thanks
- “We don’t have to do this all year long?”
- In praise of amateurs
- “Thank you for asking me.”
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Excerpt This article is excerpted from Andy Robinson's book, How to Raise $500 to $5000 From Almost Anyone, ©Emerson & Church, Publishers. To obtain reprint permission, call 508-359-0019 or email the details of your request.
Peer to Peer Fundraising: It’s Not What You Think
My friend Susan was the chief fundraiser for a nonprofit in a rural part of the country. In the course of her work, she interacted with a number of major donors.
Before launching a recent fundraising campaign, she sat down with her spouse and said, “I’m preparing to ask a lot of people for a lot of money. If I’m going to have any credibility during these conversations, we need to donate as much as we possibly can.” They discussed it and committed $2,500 – a significant gift given their economic situation.
Fast forward a few weeks: there she is, sitting with a couple in their living room, discussing the fundraising campaign. When it comes time to ask, she says, “My spouse and I are giving $2,500 to the organization this year. This is a big commitment for us. I don’t know what a comparable gift would be for you, but that’s what I’m hoping for.”
After a moment of silence, one of the donors turns to her and says, “Well, if $2,500 is a stretch for you, then we’re in for $100,000.”
My friend broke into tears – just so we’re clear, these were tears of joy – and her donors were kind enough to offer her a box of Kleenex and a comforting hand.
One of the persistent myths about fundraising is that economic peers have to be involved in the meeting. This notion is built on the persistent fantasy that, to be successful, you need a board of wealthy people who will ask their wealthy friends for money. As this story shows, the peer-to-peer concept isn’t based on wealth or the size of the respective gifts; rather, it’s based on the fact that both asker and donor are deeply committed to the mission of the organization, and both make gifts that are significant to them.
Maybe you’re not comfortable revealing the amount you give. I respect that – but you still need to find ways to inspire and challenge the donor. Here are a few other options that might work:
“As a board member, this organization is one of my top three charitable commitments. I hope you’ll consider making it one of your top three.”
“For this capital campaign, our family gave the biggest contribution we’ve ever given – and it felt good. What amount would feel good to you?”
“I thought about how much I would feel comfortable giving, and then I decided to stretch myself a little. We’re hoping for a ‘stretch gift’ from you.”
In other words, you’re only asking the donor to do something you’ve already done yourself. This gives you credibility and authority, which makes your request sound reasonable.
The story about my friend the fundraiser has an even happier ending. She stayed in touch with her donors throughout the year, building and strengthening the relationship. When it was time for the next campaign, she called to ask for an appointment.
“Are we going to make you cry again this year?” the donor asked, laughing.
Without missing a beat, she said, “I sure hope so.”
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