Scott Harrison is the Founder and CEO of charity: water.
Hi DonorsChoose.org Teacher,
I’ve run 5 or 6 campaigns where I ask my friends to donate to the cause I’m passionate about. What I’ve learned might help you, too.
The most important thing about requesting donations is actually very simple. Direct email. Three of them to everyone you know.
It feels a little uncomfortable, but it’s basically as simple as emailing everyone you know with a personal message that is heartfelt and sounds like you and well, is you. Your first batch of donations will come in which feels great.
Then you email the same list again, talking about the progress you’ve made towards your goal, and thanking people (some do this by name in the email as many of your friends know each other) for giving.
The third email is similar, but talks about what’s happened since you’ve started, who’s given, and how it’s made you feel. If you haven’t hit your goal, it would talk about the gap.
Some people that ignored the first one (maybe they were out and on iPhone or Blackberry) will be by their computer for the second / third one.
Also important is letting everyone know that money goes directly to your students, but that they will be able to see the photos when the project is complete, even if they only gave $1.
People actually really love to give and won’t not give because of the mission (both clean water and education is easy to agree on) or the money (your age in dollars / more or less), but because of the perceived time commitment. One of the smartest things people have done during their fundraising campaigns is acknowledge that their friends and family are busy, but tell them that completing a donation will take less than 3 minutes of their time (which is true).
Good luck with getting your projects funded!
PS: One final thing. Thanking people is key. Any way you do it. From your cell phone, to calling them out on Twitter or Facebook, or even handwritten notes.