A Sure-Fire Recipe For Success With Fundraisers

December 13, 2010
by Cindy Changyit Levin, Grassroots Board Member

Last year, the Chicago groups put together a plan for the year, which included two fundraisers. The first was a global event featuring Congresswoman Schakowksy. But we also wanted a social follow-up event. That’s how we came up with a wine tasting.

Because we knew the RESULTS domestic side faced a funding challenge, we dedicated the proceeds to them, featured their work and paired it with wines made only in the U.S. We all learned things about our U.S. work we didn’t know and everyone was surprised that New Mexico makes a great sparkling rose to boot.

One of the surprises was that there were a good number of people in the room who hadn’t heard about RESULTS at all. A couple of new neighbors. A bike-riding buddy of a friend. A co-worker here, a spouse there. It was a decent fundraiser, but the best outreach event we’d ever had.

Then after the event was over, Jenny looked up and said, “Hey! That’s Jan trying to get in the door!” Sure enough, there was our RESULTS champion, U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky out in the snow. With another holiday event nearby, she came to see us in person! Being good RESULTS partners, we thanked her for voting for the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act and the Middle-Class Tax Relief Act. We mentioned the shortcomings of the child nutrition bill, like the cut to food stamps, and the challenges to extending the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit in the senate. Oscar even worked in a plug for Education for All. Since our domestic folks missed that part, the global partners felt glad we had worked with the RESULTS staff before the event to get conversant enough in both our global and domestic agendas for an impromptu face-to-face meeting!

Overall, the wine tasting brought 22 people together and inspired about $2000 in donations. Combined with $4,000 from our last event, that makes $6,000 for the year, up from $1,500 last year. We really feel we’re moving along in our long-term plan to create a circle of supporters in Chicago.

Here are 5 key suggestions that helped our success on Sunday:

  1. Do your planning for the year in January — it makes it easy to follow a plan
  2. Throw the kind of event that you’d want to attend yourself — it makes it more fun
  3. If you’re blessed with both global and domestic groups in town, work together on events — it makes you stronger.
  4. Invite everyone you know, not just your regular crowd of supporters — it makes for great outreach.
  5. Remember to invite your member of Congress and their staff — you never know when they might come literally knocking on your door!

Thank you to all our generous donors and thanks to the RESULTS partners that worked so hard on this event. Happy Holidays!

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