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Cultivate a "Grass-Roots" Fund-Raising Campaign for your Organization

Cultivate a "Grass-Roots" Fund-Raising Campaign for your Organization

Many non-profit organizations serve individuals who pay very little or who are unable to pay anything in the way of fees for the services they receive. They generally are in no position to give even the smallest donation to their organizations’ annual fund. In all instances those client/user groups are grateful for the good being done for them and their families. They quite often ask if they can do anything within their power and means to show appreciation to their service organizations since they have no money to give to them. Leaders of those non-profits want to know how best they can respond when at the times the people whom they serve say, “I know you need money and I want to help. Is there anything I can do?”

I have found many such individuals were able to solicit small donations from their immediate family members, other relatives, friends, co-workers, and from other sources personal to them. They responded well to plans presented to them by their organizations’ development officers and trustees. Perhaps your organization can do the same by employing a model of such a program I have used a number of times with success.

However, you should present the idea only when your clients or users of your programs and services enthusiastically volunteer their support. And, most important, you must be absolutely certain there is not even the slightest misperception that the quality and frequency of the services they receive from your organization are at all influenced whether or not they engage in fund-raising activities.

Some Non-Profit Organizations Have
Successfully Adapted This Type Of Campaign

  • Individuals enrolled in a community arts center’s programs and classes.
  • Vegetable gardeners in an inner-city food producing program.
  • Individuals learning job skills in a worker training program.
  • Mothers of fatherless boys in a Big Brothers program. (Good for Big Sisters, too!)
  • Parents of children in a daycare center.
  • Parents of physically and mentally challenged children served by a therapeutic (horseback) riding center. (Can be adapted in many other social service agencies.)
  • Parents and other family members staying (and former residents) in a Ronald McDonald House (or other such hospitality organization) while their children were being treated in area hospitals.

Is Such a Campaign Right for Your Organization?

Consider that a campaign of this type:

  • Encourages the solicitors to identify their own prospects, employing the classic, and most effective, “people giving to people” concept.
  • Could be the only way for your organization to develop support from individuals.
  • Should not interfere with nor take the place of other more productive and larger-giver solicitation efforts.
  • Can be inspiring and appreciated by other larger funding sources such as corporations and foundations.
  • Will surely provide new donors/advocates capable of making larger gifts and providing leadership.
  • Requires special attention to the process which will seek renewal of such gifts for the following campaign since the contributions were basically given in deference to the person asking for the money, and not necessarily to the “cause.”

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