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4 Steps To Writing a Successful Fundraising Email

Some of the most incredible people raising money for projects on GlobalGiving don’t work for nonprofits. They’re people like you and me who are passionate about a cause and choose to raise money on behalf of an organization from their friends and family. GlobalGiving makes this possible with a feature we call the fundraiser tool.

Find out how one woman raised her own life event to raise funds for Kupona Foundation

Find out how one woman shared her story to raise funds for Kupona Foundation

As a former collegiate dance marathon fundraiser: I get it. Asking people to give to your fundraiser can be intimidating. However, reaching out to friends and family is one of the best ways to garner support for a cause that’s important to you! Starting out by asking your “inner circle” of close friends and family will help build momentum toward your fundraising goal.

One of my favorite ways to get started is to look at other successful fundraisers for inspiration! Check out Alison’s fundraising page that raised an incredible $2,474 for the Kupona Foundation. Let’s break down the email that helped her quadruple her goal:

1. Start with your connection to the cause. Odds are the people you are reaching out to care about YOU. Your personal connection is what will drive them to give. Providing your supporters with the story behind what motivated you to start fundraising will help motivate them to give to your fundraiser. Let’s begin with Alison’s awesome email opener:

Dear friends and family,

On July 22, 2013 I went into labor, never guessing it would be 5 days/6 nights until I delivered my baby girl! But not for a second did I worry about access to medical help if I needed it. One year later, I can’t help but think of other moms—those with high-risk pregnancies—who don’t have access to the life-saving care they need…

2. Introduce the project or organizationOn GlobalGiving, all projects already have descriptions of what they aim to accomplish. Take advantage of the information at your fingertips! Help your supporters understand the earth-changing work of the project you’re looking to support:

Tanzania is one of the most dangerous places in the world to give birth. The goal of the Make Motherhood Safe for Tanzanian Women project on GlobalGiving is to provide a safe space for women in Tanzania to give birth. Thousands of women do not have access to the quality care that they need and the Kupona Foundation is committed to changing that.

3. Demonstrate the potential impact. Let your supporters know how their donation will make an impact. The easier is it for your friends and family to see how their support will make a tangible difference, the more compelled they will be to give.

Your donation can make the difference in the life of a mother and her baby. Did you know that for just $10 the Kupona Foundation can provide an ultrasound for woman with a high-risk pregnancy in Tanzania?

4. Ask them to give. Be as clear as possible about what you are asking for: their financial support. Use one sentence to make a powerful, straightforward message to ask your friends and family to join you in supporting the cause. Always be sure to link it back to your page!

Join me by donating $1 for every hour you (or a loved one) were in labor. Motherhood comes in all shapes and sizes, but one thing we have in common is that most of us have access to emergency medical help if we need it during pregnancy and parenthood. Let’s make sure other moms and babies do too.

There isn’t just one perfect formula to ask people to donate to your fundraiser. But if you need a place to start, try describing your connection to the cause, introducing the project or organization that’s making a difference, sharing about the potential impact of a gift, and making a specific ask.  Chances are, you’ll be surprised to see how your community will respond!

This is part one of a five-part series of tips, tricks, and tools to help GlobalGivers make the biggest impact possible with their fundraiser page.

Making it Easier to do Good

photo credit Monarch Butterfly Fund

GlobalGiving was founded to democratize aid and philanthropy, and in 2008, we launched the first Open Challenge campaign, making it easier for any nonprofit in the world to share its idea about how to make their community a better place. Organizations were given a specific time period to reach a set fundraising goal, and those that were successful in reaching that goal were welcomed as permanent members of the GlobalGiving community.

Thousands of nonprofits from almost every country on the map have participated in Open Challenge campaigns since then, many of whom are still active partners of GlobalGiving, continuing to access the training, support, and resources to improve their communities. Nevertheless, we often received feedback that the time restrictions created by the Open Challenge were too rigid to accommodate busy calendars. We also heard that some wonderful organizations weren’t able to qualify for permanent membership in the time allotted, even though they were committed to learning, improving, and doing great work in their community.

Last year we took a long, hard look at the way new potential partners interact with GlobalGiving, and we challenged ourselves to think creatively about how we could provide more value and greater opportunity to nonprofits around the world. We’ve decided to  implement some changes in 2016 that will hopefully make joining GlobalGiving faster, easier, and more flexible for potential partners.

GlobalGiving Powers Philanthropy Behind The Sustainable Development Goals

SDG_SocialSharePostOn September 25, 2015, GlobalGiving announced a new initiative, GlobalGiving for Global Goals, in support of nonprofits around the world that are contributing toward the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with their work in their communities. As world leaders have come together to commit to 17 Global Goals to end extreme poverty, fight inequality & injustice, and fix climate change during UN Week in New York, GlobalGiving is mobilizing individual donors, corporations, and philanthropists to take action around these goals.

The Millennium Development Goals, the predecessors to the SDGs, shaped the international development agenda over the past three decades. Since 1990, more than 1 billion people have been lifted out of extreme poverty, cutting the rate of poverty in half worldwide. But there is still much work to be done, and this time, the new SDGs aim to foster a more inclusive effort by governments, the private sector, and civil society to finish the job. GlobalGiving is supporting thousands of vetted nonprofit organizations around the world that have long been working to address the issues laid out by the SDG agenda.

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The new GlobalGiving Global Goals initiative features sustainable development projects that address each of the 17  Goals. GlobalGiving has vetted each of the featured nonprofits, and they are among GlobalGiving’s highest-ranked organizations; those that are committed to learning and effectiveness.

“We believe that locally-driven organizations committed to listening to their communities are in a powerful position to make lasting change in regard to poverty, climate change, and inequality. The launch of the SDGs is a great opportunity to raise the profile of those local changemakers, whose voices are vital in this conversation, and also to help individual and institutional donors identify opportunities to make meaningful contributions toward the goals,” said John Hecklinger, Chief Program Officer at GlobalGiving.

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It is not only individuals who are interested in new ways to make strides toward the SDGs. Private companies, grantmakers, and other philanthropic organisations are also working with GlobalGiving to channel funding toward local projects addressing the goals. The SDG Philanthropy Platform aims to build a means for philanthropy to engage with, and participate more effectively in the Post-2015 Agenda, and amplify the voice and action of grant makers and grantees in determining and achieving international targets and strategies. GlobalGiving is proud to partner with the SDG Philanthropy Platform to help philanthropists support effective development outcomes around the globe. Visit SDGfunders.org for more information.

Learn how you can get involved with the GlobalGiving Global Goals at GlobalGiving.org/sdg.

A Sneak Peek at GlobalGiving’s Brand Refresh

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Very exciting things are happening at GlobalGiving! Over the last several months, we have been working behind the scenes to refresh our brand and we are finally ready to share it with the world. Our main goal of this change is to make our outward appearance more accurately reflect who we are on the inside: hopeful, curious, enthusiastic, substantive, and human. We love the work that we do, and we want the world to feel the same. The launch of this new, fresh brand is symbolic of the many exciting changes being made this year at GlobalGiving and helps visualize the tremendous growth we are going through. Stay tuned for more updates in the coming months!

How they won: American Open Challenge Winner says “crowd-sourcing was the key to our success”

Jared Schwartz of Frogloop (a nonprofit online marketing blog) interviewed the guys from Critical Exposure and have some excellent advice for nonprofits trying to succeed on GlobalGiving:

http://www.frogloop.com/care2blog/2009/9/7/how-a-small-nonprofit-used-social-media-crowd-sourcing-to-wi.html 

The goal was simple. Earn a permanent spot on the GlobalGiving website by raising at least $4000 online from 50 individual donors in three weeks. Win up to $6000 in additional bonuses for out-fundraising the 70 other participating organizations.

The challenge was daunting. How does Critical Exposure, a little non-profit with a small group of supporters raise more money than the dozens of other participating organizations, many of whom have a large, established fundraising base?

The answer was clear. Use an array of social media channels — including Twitter, Facebook and crowd-sourcing to turn our small group of tech savvy supporters into a powerful fundraising force.

What Critical Exposure Did

A Plan of Attack – The first step Critical Exposure took was to lay out a three-week communications plan, then we threw the entire thing out. Well, not really. As the competition heated up, we certainly had to adapt, but having an overall strategic plan helped make sure that every communication piece was ready to go when needed.

Message Saturation ­­- Critical Exposure sent repeated pitches and updates to our supporters via e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, community listservs, our website, phone calls, and more. Heck, we’d have sent candy-grams if we thought it would help. There was certainly concern about over-messaging, but as our supporters became more invested in the competition, they actually wanted more updates from us.

Empowered Supporters = Emotionally Invested Supporters­ ­- The power of crowd-sourcing was the key to our success. We realized that Critical Exposure didn’t have the resources to win this competition on our own. However, our supporters are an energetic, dedicated group of people and we knew that if we gave them the tools to help us, they would more than meet the challenge.

From day one, we made it clear that we didn’t just need our supporters to open their wallets (our suggested donation was just $10). What we really needed was their ability to leverage their personal networks. Every message asked them to be our fundraisers, and we gave them sample e-mails, Facebook and Twitter messages to post. By the end of the competition, my Facebook page was full of nothing but status updates from our supporters, each stating their own personal reason for supporting Critical Exposure.

We regularly updated our supporters on the fruits of their labor and during the final weeks of the competition, we pointed our supporters directly to the real-time standings. Many of our supporters later told us that as the competition entered its final days, they wore out the refresh buttons on their browser keeping tabs on the competition. Our supporters were 100% emotionally invested in the competition and did whatever they could to help Critical Exposure win.

The Results

Our supporters were an unstoppable fundraising force. Critical Exposure needed to raise $4000 from 50 donors — we raised over $15,000 from more than 600! That was 120 more donors than the next closest organization, 400 more than 3rd place and good enough for $5000 in additional bonuses.

The larger organizations may have had more big donors (the other prize winning organizations averaged $85 and $200 per donation, respectively). But no other organization got more people involved than Critical Exposure, who raised comparable money while averaging just $25 per donation!

[Here is  a snapshot of the the current Open Challenge leaderboard – where each organization and its donors can follow progress in real time]

http://www.globalgiving.com/dy/v2/globalchallenge.html

Lessons Learned

It was an exciting three weeks and everyone who participated truly felt like they were part of something very special. And really, that is why it worked. Our supporters aren’t just faceless masses (or cash machines) on the other end of an e-mail chain, but they are people, many who passionately believe in our causes as much as we do and are looking for an opportunity to help make a difference.

Facebook, Twitter, crowd-sourcing — these wonderful tools were what enabled us to tap into our supporters’ personal networks, but ultimately, it was about getting our supporters emotionally invested in being part of something big that carried us well past our wildest expectations.

This aritcle was written by Jared Schwartz, a consultant who advises non-profit organizations on using digital communications and social media applications to engage supporters, raise funds and build their organization.