This month seemed like a great time to discuss managing your own expectations in the fundraising world and getting creative on how your support endeavors outside of your current fundraising event or cause of choice.
In our office, November offers the opportunity to participate in Movember, the Food Bank around our annual Thanksgiving potluck, a Coats for Kids drive as winter draws near, my friends’ end of year campaigns for their favorite charities, and lastly, my favorite annual holiday run whose registration benefits an in-town foundation.
Phew. I get slightly overwhelmed just looking at this list, but here is my trick for “supporting” each initiative and still carving out space to fundraise for my Q1 event.
First, explore the ask. Sometimes participation is actually enough. And what’s even better is that sometimes participation is free. By participating, you confirm that raising awareness is important and you support your friend who is passionate about this cause. This Movember, I’m proud to be a Mo-Sista. My participation included sending a sarcastic yet funny email to the guys closest in my life begging them to grow some facial hair because I could not. In turn, I added 2 other members to our team and spread the reach of Movember into a completely different city than I live in.
Second, give what you don’t need. You can think of this from a financial standpoint but you can also think of this in terms of personal inventory. My husband and I haven’t eaten pasta in quite some time. Yet we still have a few boxes in our cupboards. This is the perfect time of year to scour your cupboards and give to those in need. Looking at it another way, instead of buying coffee in November and December, you could commit to donating $5 a week to a cause or campaign. Even small dollar amounts go a long way, so don’t be afraid to break down your gifts into smaller increments.
Third and finally, identify your windows of opportunity. Are you a fan of Black Friday? Do you host a holiday happy hour? Are you known for your creative cards? All of these gatherings are opportunities for a soft ask with your own fundraising. Driving your friends around to shop? Ask them to each donate $10 to your fundraising page. Providing the drinks at your shindig? Put out a tip jar and tell your friends it’s going to support your favorite cause. Sending out cards to all your friends and family? Consider adding a small slip of paper with your fundraising URL. The reminder will give them option to donate as they can around the holidays.
As you can see, with a little preparation and out-of-the-box thinking you are ready for the holiday rush and able to give back all season long.