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Friend-raising for Charity Comments

  • By Victoria Grantham
  • January 18, 2013

teamwork

You’ve attached yourself to a good cause—fabulous! And potentially awkward. Chances are, you’re being asked to raise funds for the organization. Chances are even better that you’re not completely comfortable asking friends and family for money.

Jenny Powers, vice president of development for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, knows how to overcome fundraising fears. She not only collects dollars herself, she helps volunteers drum up donations. Her top tips for raising money like a pro:

1. Play to passions
Charities need money for a variety of programs, services and research. Tailor your “asks” to friends’ interests and you’ll feel like a matchmaker instead of a mooch. Do they love to read? Tell them about the creative writing program or library. The tech-savvy might like to help provide computers.
2. Get specific to make it meaningful
Tell prospective donors how their cash will make a tangible difference. (“Your contribution will pay for a wheelchair for someone living with MS,” for instance.)
3. Direct the dollars
Work with the charity to let donors earmark contributions for programs that interest them, then send them an update so they know they made a difference. It’s easier to ask for future donations when givers feel a connection—and sense that they are valued.
4. Tout the efficiencies
Partner with a charity that has a low expense ratio (a measure of how much of its assets are spent on overhead rather than programs), and make sure prospective donors know about it. People want to fund good works, not administrative costs.
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