It is relatively easy to raise money for all kinds of things when everyone you solicit is doing pretty well. It taps into the need we all have to feel like good people who are contributing to the world around us. It is quite a bit more challenging to raise money for a cause when everyone is hurting. That is the situation right now. 2020 left most of us quite a bit worse off than we were in 2019.
Still, global disasters such as the pandemic of 2020 tend not to strike evenly. People with resources are in the best position to ride out the storm. Such is the pattern of the modern plague. The hardest hit are communities of color and the economically disadvantaged. Even so, some of the most privileged among us are suffering from the virus. COVID does not recognize borders, beliefs, or bank balances.
Besides the expanded need created by the pandemic, there are the usual objects of charitable donation. Cancer patients, abused pets, and starving children in developing countries have not been put on pause. All these causes are just as much in demand. It might seem like an impossible task to raise money for your comparatively minor causes. It isn’t. You just have to know the secret of raising money regardless of the circumstances. There are many. Here are three:
Shout It from the Rooftops
No one is going to give to your cause if they don’t know you have one. You have to be loud, public, and persistent. You need to put the message on a 10 x 15 canopy tent in every large parking lot where you can hand out informational material and take donations right there on the spot.
You need as much visibility as you can get. Make sure everyone hears about your cause. Some people give money at certain times of the year for tax purposes. It does not matter if they care about the cause. They give to the one at top of mind.
You can’t worry about whether your cause is more worthy than someone else’s cause. You have to make your cause available for the charitable impulse of potential donors. There will always be people in a position to donate money. You want to be in a position to receive it by making sure they know about your cause. And don’t let them forget it.
No one will believe in your cause if they are not convinced that you do. No one really knows what cause is worthwhile or how much of their donation is actually going to the cause versus the administration of the cause. Most people don’t ask. That is not what motivates them to donate. Their decision to donate is often a spur of the moment kind of thing.
You make the difference by exuding passion for your cause. How do you think a middle school raised money for a mural during COVID? It hardly seems worthy compared to all of the more pressing needs.
The secret is to understand that the most pressing need is the one put before a person at the moment of decision. You can make that mural the most pressing need in the world. You can make your office party the most pressing need in the world if you have enough passion for it. Done sell the cause. There is always a bigger cause. Instead, sell the passion. You can corner the market on that.
Consider the top 5 reasons salespeople are afraid to ask for the sale and find a way to get over them. Your fundraiser is going to languish and die regardless of how worthy the cause if you can’t close the deal, look a person in the eye, and ask them to give you some portion of their money.
Fundraising is sales. If you find sales distasteful, you are just going to have to square with that. Getting the money for a cause is no different than getting the money for a product or service. Neither your booth nor passion will raise a dime if you try to use them as substitutes for asking a stranger for money.
Your fundraiser will be successful no matter what else is going on if you shout it from the rooftops, corner the market on passion, and complete the job by asking for the donation.