Passion, heart, and a sense of humour. No I’m not reciting how to make the Power Puff Girls, but the perfect recipe for an inspiring and successful fundraiser.
Being a member of Blackbaud’s everydayhero team has opened me up to a world of fundraisers and shown me all of the fun, enjoyment and fulfillment they get out of supporting the causes they love. From dyeing their moustache a different colour every day to fasting to raise awareness for Syrian refugees, fundraisers have shown me there are infinite ways to increase awareness and raise funds for their chosen causes. But for all the variety in ways to give, there are a few common ingredients I have seen across the stories and the fundraisers who have had the most impact on me.
Passion is defined by Merriam-Webster as “a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing something.” And believe me; all of the exceptional fundraisers I’ve had the pleasure to speak to had this in abundance. For Shahmin, her passion is for Islamic Relief and she wanted to make noise about their successes. She wanted to represent her generation and use her voice to show that we can all make a positive contribution to society.
The DBC team was passionate about raising awareness for the need of blood donors. The key for both of these examples was that they translated their raw passion into a story that they could share. A passionate story is more likely to be shared and spread more than one that lacks emotion or purpose. By telling your story in a personal and creative way, you will pique the interest of those who read your page and, in the end, help you raise more for your cause.
So yeah, open up – work hard to craft a story that people will want to share. Sure your family and friends are going to get behind you, but by showing your passion you never know how far your story will go. A few RTs here and some Share’s there, and BOOM! your page has gone viral. Well maybe not viral – but by putting in the time and effort to express your passion in your posts, a friend of a friend may see it and want to support your cause too!
Similar to passion, it’s something inside of you that you cannot fake. Those who possess love for the charity they are fundraising for are the ones who push themselves to complete the challenges of events and fundraising. Hey, who knows – you may even gain media attention like Enda O’Doherty. Daily radio interviews and even appearing on local TV news, Enda’s love and extraordinary challenge for Pieta House caught the hearts of everyone who heard about the event.
By bringing heart into your fundraising journey you are adding another dimension. You can craft a beautiful message that is unique to your feelings and the charity you are fundraising for. In my experience, I have found that fundraisers who can create this bond between themselves and their chosen causes are more likely to be acknowledged by charities. They also have the added benefit of enjoying their fundraising a lot more because they know they are making a difference. Heart is, most importantly, authentic. Others can sense it and will support it, and individuals that show heart often have very successful fundraising efforts.
Sense of Humour
I’m not saying start cracking jokes about your fundraising. But be willing to make fun of yourself a little! Offer something in return for donations – be that a funny photo that you’ll post on your page for each milestone you reach or even a forfeit that you let your friends decide if you hit your goal! Take a look at David:
He promised if he reached his goal he’d let his colleagues choose a forfeit of their choice. With 20 minutes to go, David had raised a respectable amount but was sitting pretty just shy of his goal. An eagle-eyed colleague spotted this, and yep – he matched David’s goal.
Having a sense of humour about yourself while fundraising is an easy way to get others interested, on board and willing to help contribute to your cause. While the reasons and the difference you are making are serious, humour lowers the barrier for connection and, in turn, opens the door for more support from others.
The perfect recipe
These are just a few of the things that have stood out to me whilst conducting wonderwall interviews, but some that I feel have contributed to individuals having very successful fundraising pages. Creating that personal connection between you and your charity is what will excite potential donors and make them really get behind all of your hard work.
They know you like the charity because why else would you be fundraising? But show them how much the cause means to you, show them that you are willing to give up your own time to train, let them know that you’re struggling with training, but let them know you won’t quit your challenge. You cannot be afraid to open yourself up if you truly want to be exceptional by showing your passion, heart and determination for your cause. And sure, a sense of humour doesn’t hurt!