Start Early, Start Small

March 27th, 2010 | Posted by john in Fund Raising Tips - (Comments Off on Start Early, Start Small)

A lot of first time 3-Day walkers will ask, “What should I do for fund raising?” and there is a lot of advice out there. I could probably spend all year describing the different ways one could do fund raising and still not have covered everything. My favorite piece of advice for new walkers is simple. Start early, start small.

Starting early sounds like pretty sound advice that everyone should follow, but a lot of people forget this key part of fund raising. You’re going to have ups and you’re going to have downs as you go through trying to raise all the money that you can in the fight against breast cancer. Some weeks you will have all sorts of donations from all corners, while others you may not have any. With this in mind, why not start the fund raising roller coaster earlier? When you start earlier, you don’t have to worry about raking in a ton of money every week because you have more weeks to gather donations. While it would still be great if you were getting tons of donations per week, it lets up the pressure. Besides, isn’t it a much better feeling to be signing up for the walk and have $700 more than you needed than to be signing up and have $700 less than you need? It just takes off a lot of stress when you have more time to get the funds raised.

Let’s talk about starting small now. I know, you’re probably saying “Wait! I have to raise $2300, I should be starting big and not small!” I understand, everyone that has to do the walk has to raise the same amount and a lot of people choose to make their goal higher. When I say to start small, I don’t mean to aim to only get $5. What I mean is to have a fund raiser that requires minimal effort and gets you some donations really quick. A couple of good examples would be: sending out e-mails to friends, sending out letters to family, posting on Facebook. This year, I decided to go to a couple of neighbors that I knew were home. I spent a very little time telling them about what I was doing and they made donations. It was a great start! I’ll be honest, the whole idea of starting small is simply a way of saying, “start in a way that you will have some success and little effort,” because as humans it’s a lot easier to continue on with something when you have not done a whole lot and had great success than if you had done a massive amount of work and garnered a very small amount of success.

Along the same lines of starting small. I realize that there are fund raisers that you are going to want to do that require a large time investment. I’m not going to deter you from doing them. What I will recommend that you do is to stagger small time investment fund raisers with the large time investment ones, so if the one that requires a lot of time doesn’t work out, you have something to look forward to that does knock it out of the park.

As you participate in future 3-Day walks, you will start to feel out what fund raising opportunities work best for you and you don’t have to worry so much about starting small. You can worry about the things that you have found to be tried and true and go from there. Good luck getting out there and fund raising everyone!


Door to Door

March 22nd, 2010 | Posted by john in Fund Raising Tips - (2 Comments)

When I did the 3-Day in 2007 with my mom, she did the vast majority of her fund raising by going door to door. I’ve done a little bit of this every year and have always come back with a decent amount, but this year I have decided to put a good amount of time into going door to door and see what happens. I will be the first to admit that going door to door to ask for donations for the 3-Day is not one of the most pleasant experiences that you will have in your fund raising. With a little planning, a little courage, and a small bit of luck it can be very rewarding and help you get a good way to your goal. So I’m going to cover the why’s and how’s of door to door fund raising.

Why on Earth Would I go Door to Door?

I usually look at fund raising as a ratio. Amount Raised per Hour Spent and you can also add Amount Raised per Dollar Spent to that. Basically you want the Amount Raised per Hour to be as high as possible. Minimal work output for maximum funds input (to the 3-Day).There are one or two fund raising methods that have a better Amount Raised per Hour (we’ll call it ARpH from now on) spent than door to door, like e-mail. The problem with most of these is coverage. Yes you may be able to have a great ARpH by sending out e-mails with no cost outlay, but it is reliant upon the size of your e-mail list. If you only have 100 people that you e-mail and half of them contribute $20 on average then you’ve raised $1000. That’s a great amount with little time. Door to door takes more time but greatly expands your list. You can knock on anyone’s door, regardless of whether you have met them or not!

In addition, even though the ARpH is lower than e-mail, it’s much higher than other means. For instance, my sister and I did a garage sale fund raiser two years ago. We had a bunch of stuff donated, we had our own stuff donated, we even made baked treats to sell there. In two days (about 4 hours per day) we raised $500-$600. But that was split between two people, so my ARpH was $37.50 if I take the high end. Compare that to last weekend when I only spent half an hour going door to door (I was short on time) and I raised $80. That’s $160 ARpH! I realize, results may vary, but any of the fund raising ideas have results that may vary.

How to do Door to Door.

Hopefully you have read the above and decided that door to door is a great idea. But before you set off to knock on everyone’s door to raise money, here are a few things that you should probably consider:

  • Be Prepared for Rejection: There’s no way around this. There are just going to be some people that don’t want to donate to you when you show up and that’s ok. There are plenty of people that do want to donate, it might not be this house or the next three that you go to, but people will want to donate.
  • Pick Wisely: Picking the right neighborhood to canvas is everything. There are some neighborhoods that you will have an easy time raising money in and there are some that you will have a hard time. I’ve been to some areas where 60% of everyone I went to said that they had donated at the office. Usually higher end neighborhoods are a good bet, but sometimes even those don’t work out.
  • Concise Message: I think this should really be applied to every fund raising activity that you do. You need to get your message about what you are doing and why you are doing it as concise as possible. This is for your own benefit. Tell your short story, if they aren’t interested then move on. If they are then you can maybe talk about it more to the point that they want to hear it. The more concise your message, the quicker you will be able to find out who is going to donate and who has no interest.
  • Have a Goal: The hardest thing about door to door is that it’s easy to just give up and go home. This is why you need to set quantifiable goals when you go out. Some good goals to try would be:
    • Stay out fund raising for at least 2 hours.
    • Raise at least $200
    • Raise at least $200 AND stay out for two hours (this is really good if you start fund raising really well and you get $200 before the end of the first hour. It makes you stay out and continue when you are on a roll!)
  • Wear It: This seems pretty basic, but I feel like I should mention it. If you walk up to someone’s door with regular street clothes you will not have as much luck as if you wear a 3-Day for the Cure shirt or other breast cancer apparel.

Hopefully you read this and think that door to door might just be the right thing to complement your fund raising. It’s probably not the answer to all of your fund raising needs, but I think that it is a great way to augment what you’re probably already doing. If you still don’t think that door to door is right for you, then keep an eye out over the next few weeks as I’ll be trying to bring a few more fund raising ideas up and discussing the merits of each.