Guest Blogger Norm Solomon
Norm Solomon knows a thing or two about fundraising. As the former Dean of the Charles F. Dolan School of Business at Fairfield University from 2001-2011 and a five-time TFK marathoner, he shares his best fundraising advice on his TFK blog.
“I have fundraised with Team for Kids for five ING New York City Marathons and each time met my goals. Magic? Luck? Not really—just determination.
When I first started, I asked friends who had been successful fundraisers for their advice and what they offered has been the foundation of all my fundraising. Here is what they shared with me:
Make it personal: I do all my fundraising either online or via letters, which is a nice touch. I relate the youth running programs that are funded through TFK to my own upbringing in New York City – as a kid I benefitted tremendously from just the kind of afterschool program TFK supports. That makes it personal.
Be persistent. I start fundraising as soon as I sign up with TFK and send at least three e-mails to everyone on my list at two-three-week intervals (if they donate I send a handwritten thank you card and take them off my e-mails). I get my biggest responses within two weeks after the first e-mail…then things fall off. This is where persistence pays off! Much of the fundraising is done during the summer when people may be away—so they may put it off until they return. Friendly reminders are a must! I have posted on FB and have gotten donations that way as well.
Who do I ask? Everybody I have an e-mail or address for. I ask family and friends and people I have met professionally.
How much to ask for? I always emphasize that a donation of any amount is appreciated—the more that is donated the more we can do for the kids. I am surprised by who donates how much. You never know!
Say thank you: You can’t thank people enough for their generosity—whatever the amount. Along with the handwritten thank you notes, I e-mail them my marathon results. (I don’t go fast but I always finish!) In addition I send each donor a holiday card with a thank you theme. People remember this and it helps for `repeat business’ when I ask the following year.
So remember—1. If you don’t ask, you don’t get; 2. The worst someone can do is say `no’; and 3. Be persistent. Happy fundraising!