How do you make the “case” for your organization, institution or project? Do you seek to raise funds from people you personally know? Do you call on others who can extend their influence on your behalf? Do you rely on how you will use the funds raised as way to motivate giving? Or do you promote the impact those funds will make?
Secretary of state Hillary Clinton helped raise $54 million in just nine months for the United States national pavilion at the 2010 world’s fair in Shanghai China. She was legally prohibited from personally solicit gifts and no public money could be used for the project. While attending is not currently in our plans, we want to share with you what we have learned about how she worked her miracles.
- She engaged two experienced fundraisers with whom she has strong relationships: Elizabeth Bagley and Jose Villarreal
- She kicked off the project with a conference call with ten of the nation’s top CEOs. According to the New York Times Chevron, PepsiCo and General Electric each pledged $5million.
- PepsiCo’s CEO made calls to other CEOs
- Bagley and Villarreal reached out to companies with operations in China
- The initial pitch was patriotism “How can the US be one of only two countries without a presence at the world’s fair in Shanghai?”
- The second pitch was “commercial diplomacy.” In other words, helping to fund the US pavilion will help open doors for future business.
- While Mrs. Clinton did not solicit gifts, she did meet with sponsors when she visited the actual site.
While those with the connections of Hillary or Bill Clinton are few and far between, we want to call your attention to the process she used. Here it is for the rest of us:
- Engage people you know who are committed to your personal and professional success and who have relationships and connections with other people who can help you achieve your fundraising goal
- Solicit the biggest gifts first. Identify those you believe can give the largest gifts and talk with them first. Learn how they respond to your project. Address their questions or objections. Ask for their financial support and their involvement with your fundraising effort.
- Ask your early donors to ask others to make a comparable gift to your campaign
- Identify who will benefit when you reach your fundraising goal. For example, if you want to build a new youth center, consider asking businesses in the immediate area to make a gift. When the youth center is completed more young people and families will be frequenting the area bringing with them the potential for increased sales.
- Review how you position your fundraising campaign. Do people respond more to “raising funds for scholarships” or to “funding our future leaders?”
- Embrace your funders and donors. Give them the red carpet treatment at all times. Their financial support helps you meet your goals.
And remember to keep having a FUNdraising Good Time!
© 2010 – Mel and Pearl Shaw