The Potential of Connection: 3 Practical Tips for Personal Fundraising

by Jessica Sommerfield · 2 comments

It can feel uncomfortable asking people for donations, even on behalf of a cause or charity you strongly support. This is especially true when the cause is personal: your child’s extracurricular events or college education, a family member’s non-insured medical bills, legal fees surrounding an adoption, or maybe travel expenses for volunteer work. Then there are things it feels downright wrong to ask donations for: a special anniversary celebration, the down payment on your home, and other categories that seem more like wants than needs.

Besides feeling uncomfortable about asking for donations, most of us don’t have the marketing budgets, media channels, or equipment to throw a big event that attracts a lot of attention and support. While you could always grab a coffee can and go door to door, here are a few more comfortable ways to reach your personal fundraising goals on a tight budget.

1. Connect with Your Personal Network

The first people to approach for personal fundraising are your family and closest friends. These people don’t need a Power Point presentation of why your cause is important or impactful to motivate them: they’re motivated by love for you. While we don’t want to take advantage of this, it’s important to give them the opportunity to be involved.

Maybe your family circle is small or unable to financially support your cause, but they’re connected to a much larger circle of extended family, friends, and co-workers who might be interested in donating. Simply ask the people you know to tell the people they know, and it will naturally grow from there.

2. Connect to a Larger Network with Crowdfunding and Social Media

Most of us are familiar with crowdfunding sites like GoFundMe, Generosity, Fundly, RallyMe, Crowdfinders and others that have gained popularity over the past few years. An online forum makes people more comfortable sharing their needs –and wants – and asking others to join in, even if they’re complete strangers. Some of these needs or wants seem completely bogus, but – guess what? People still donate to them!

Social media involvement is also an effective — and free — way to share your fundraiser. Creating event pages and posting pictures, graphics, and newsfeed updates can help people (perhaps family and friends who live far away) feel more connected and involved.

3. Connect Your Fundraiser to a Product or Service People Will Want to Buy

Another reason we might be uncomfortable asking people to donate for personal fundraisers is that we don’t have anything to offer in return (besides our gratitude). Some people are willing to donate just because they connect emotionally with a cause, but others are more likely to donate if there’s something in it for them, even if it’s simple. That’s just human nature.

Even if you don’t have the budget to throw an event that offers prizes and amenities, connect your fundraising to something useful or meaningful. For instance, many online fundraising sites allow you to use their platform to design and sell custom apparel or gifts and earn 100% of the profits. Think of all the novelty food or merchandise-related school fundraisers that get circulated around the office, and you’ll get how effective this idea can be.

Personal fundraising can be both emotionally and financially difficult. If you can find ways to connect with people, connect the fundraising goal to something that benefits others while making it fun and meaningful, then you are already well on your way to overcome all the obstacles.

Have you considered raising funds for a cause? Was it difficult? What is your experience?

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  • Cory @ Growing Dollars from says:

    These are some good tips!

    I’m very familiar with sites like gofundme. They allow you to expand your reach when fundraising which increases the amount of money you generate.

    I also know a few people who had some successful campaigns by achieving their financial targets.

    • David @ says:

      I’ve donated to my friends cause before, so sites like gofundme definitely works even if they take a cut.

      Thanks for sharing your experience Cory!

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