Nervous about fundraising? Tips from RESULTS volunteers

October 17, 2023

This fall, RESULTS volunteers are invited to hold Friends and Family fundraisers as a way to raise critical support, strengthen your groups, and spread the word about our important work to end poverty. 

We know that fundraising can be intimidating, but it’s much easier when you have guidance and support. Over the next month, we’ll be sharing advice and lessons learned from RESULTS volunteers to help you out.  

Learn more about the Friends and Family campaign and find resources. And thank you for supporting RESULTS! 

Nancy Gardiner: “RESULTS’ online fundraiser tool makes it easy” 

Nancy Gardiner (front row, third from the left in the photo above) and her coastal Connecticut RESULTS group have done online Friends and Family fundraisers for RESULTS every year since 2010. With so many years of fundraising under their belt, they have learned how to be successful. One thing that helps, says Nancy, “We always do our fundraising as a team.” Here are five more tips on fundraising from Nancy.  

  • One of my mantras around fundraising and advocacy is: People can’t say yes unless you ask. You are not inconveniencing your friends by asking them to support a cause you care about. Donating gives your friends and family an opportunity to change the lives of people around the world, and giving feels good!  
  • RESULTS’ online fundraiser tool makes it easy to build a fundraising page. You can see the names of donors and the tracking thermometer lets you watch progress toward your goal. The tool even sends automatic ‘thank you’ emails. We’ve found that having one team page with everyone supporting each other works best. 
  • We set goals for both the amount of money we want to raise and for the number of donors we want to enlist via our fundraiser. That keeps us motivated — and people like to help you reach your goal. Each year we try to do a little better than we did before, and just like we do with advocacy, we keep working until the end to try and reach our goal.  
  • Challenge matches are powerful: We ask larger donors if they would commit to us in advance to match a certain amount from other donors. This past year, one donor pledged to give $25 for every donation we received. Another pledged a matching gift of $4,000 (half from the donor and half a matching gift from her employer) if we raised $4,000 from other donors. And we did! 
  • Be creative, find what motivates you, and believe!

Get more inspiration from Nancy and her daughter, Casey Gardiner, in A powerhouse mother-daughter duo of support for RESULTS. 

Beth Wilson: Relationships and love are the foundations of success  

Washington state volunteers and Rep. Derek Kilmer

Beth Wilson has been fundraising for RESULTS for over 15 years and supporting others to do the same. She’s the group leader for the South Kitsap/Gig Harbor chapter in Washington state and a regional coordinator and previously served as a grassroots fundraising coordinator and grassroots board member. (That’s Beth in the center with Washington state volunteers and Rep. Derek Kilmer at far right in the photo above.) 

  • Ask the people who know you well. My donors trust me and respect me because they know I work hard as a RESULTS volunteer. Reciprocal respect and love are the foundation of the way I raise money. 
  • Share the value of their gift. I say, “I worked hard for my money so I want it to work hard when I donate. I give it to RESULTS because I know it will work as hard as I do.” If they are convinced that their money will really help change the world, then they will understand that they have maximized its potential for good. 
  • Know that most people want to make this world better. You are offering friends an opportunity to do so by giving to RESULTS. They’re usually grateful for the gift of a way to change the world. 
  • Pick up the phone. Send out emails through the Friends and Family online platform, then call each person you invited to give. The discomfort of making those calls is nothing compared to the discomfort that people feel around the world who are hungry or lack medical care. Once I’ve done it, it actually feels really good. 
  • Donors become volunteers. Most of the people in our RESULTS group were donors first. When you invite your friends and family to give, you are opening a door to a new world — transforming their lives in beautiful ways as the world is transformed by their engagement.

Buke Dube: The funding we secure as volunteers creates positive change in the world 

RESULTS volunteers in Dallas, 2022

Buke Dube (on the left in the photo above) and her Dallas RESULTS group have held both in-person and online fundraisers that surpass expectations, and she’s confident they will build further on their success. To other RESULTS volunteers she says, “Keep up the fantastic work, and together, we can achieve great things!” 

  • It’s important to remember that while very few people we meet may be fully invested in supporting RESULTS as an organization, our friends and families will always be open to supporting us and the things we care about. Their belief in us and their willingness to stand by our side make a substantial impact on our fundraising efforts.  
  • Continue sharing your personal stories. One crucial aspect that has contributed to our successful fundraisers is our ability to personalize our fundraising efforts. Personal stories create a sense of connection and empathy, allowing people to truly understand the importance of supporting our cause.  
  • Rally your group to embrace personal accountability. Another element that has played a crucial role in our fundraising success is taking personal accountability to ensure the success of our fundraising efforts. By holding ourselves accountable and consistently working towards our goals, we are able to achieve remarkable results.  
  • Together, we can make a real difference in fundraising for RESULTS and continue to achieve success. Remember, the work we do is essential, and the funding we secure as volunteers allows us to further our advocacy efforts and create positive change in the world.  

Willie Dickerson: Start simple and be thoughtful when thanking donors 

RESULTS volunteer Willie Dickerson with his sister, Sue Brennen, and late brother Bob Dickerson

Perhaps no other RESULTS volunteer has published as many letters to the editor than Willie Dickerson, who leads the Snohomish Joint Group in Washington state. What you may not realize is that he’s also a top fundraiser for RESULTS. Each year, he and his sister, Sue Brennen, ask friends and family to make a gift in honor of their late brother Bob Dickerson (pictured at center, with Willie at left and Sue at right), who was a dedicated RESULTS volunteer. In 2022, Willie and Sue raised almost $10,000. We asked Willie what advice he would give others who are thinking of launching a fundraiser.

  • It really helps to start simple. Create simple asks or posts, such as: “For my birthday, instead of an Amazon list, I have a RESULTS fundraising request! Would you make a donation in honor of my birthday?” And make donating seem easy — “it’ll only take 5 minutes” — because it really is easy!
  • Share data and information to get people inspired about RESULTS, including your reasons for supporting the organization.
  • Try to partner with somebody, either from your RESULTS group or someone who is a RESULTS cheerleader (like my sister). By having more than one person fundraising, we can appeal to different groups of friends and colleagues.
  • When you thank your donors, take the opportunity to tell them more about RESULTS. My sister and I try to be creative and thoughtful with our thanks, sending our donors messages with meaning.
  • After being on the RESULTS board and becoming more familiar with fundraising, I know how powerful the money we raise is. Because the funds aren’t tied to a specific project, RESULTS can use them the way the organization needs most. Your fundraising really can make a difference.

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