Guest Blog- Sam Starks

The Fear of Fundraising

“I just don’t like asking people for money.” The single thought suffocating our mind when we think about fundraising. But this thought only touches the surface of the one major dilemma holding us back. We struggle with one thing: what other people think about us. The good thing is that the fears of what people think about us and the possibility of rejection, which makes fundraising so frightening, is completely normal.

We have to turn the fear into confidence. We have to come to the realization that our confidence does not lie in the wallets of those we ask, but God—the source of our support. We have to build a foundation for ourselves.

The foundation starts with a goal and is the beginning of overcoming the fear of what other people think about you. Set a goal that will carry you out of your comfort zone—one you have to reach outside of your family to attain. Once you have set your goal, you have to search your heart and understand why you are so passionate for Dance Marathon. You have to be willing and able to open your heart, put it into words and share it at an elementary level with the individuals and groups of people you ask.

After you have set your goal and searched your heart, you have to ASK. I know what you’re thinking; “I’ll send an email out and post on Facebook.” And you know as well as I do generic letters, emails, facebook posts, etc., do not bring the results you want. This is where the fear begins to seep in. You have to pick up the phone and call. Words on the computer screen do not express the tone of your heart and your passion for Dance Marathon like you have the opportunity to do over the phone or in-person.

Set aside time to personalize every call. Give yourself a couple minutes to share where you are in life and hear where the individual, on the other end of the line, is in life—engage in a conversation. Let the conversation carry you into sharing your passion for Dance Marathon and transition into the ask. If you don’t ask, you don’t give them the opportunity or invitation to give. If they come back and ask how much, don’t shoot yourself in the foot by aiming too low; aim high and they will give what they can.

The last two parts of fundraising, I would say, are the most important—the follow-up and the thank-you. If an individual did not give you a straight answer or said they would donate, send them a follow-up call or a personalized email two weeks after the initial call; don’t be pushy, but send it as a reminder. It’s not on their mind 24/7 like it is on yours.

After Dance Marathon wraps up, take your time to send a handwritten, personalized letter and picture of yourself from the marathon to each individual that donated for you. It will give them a better understanding as to what they gave money towards, it allows them to get a glimpse into your passion for Dance Marathon, and it will increase their chances of giving again to Dance Marathon or another Fundraiser you are a part of.

Fundraising is not really about the money, but the people, THE KIDS.

Join the Conversation

1 Comment

  1. Sam,

    This is a brilliant summary of the challenge and opportunity of fundraising. Donors are honored by requests and all appeals should be heartfelt and personal. Certainly, you and your friends are the best storytellers to engage prospects.

    Thank you for all that you’re doing for Dance Marathon.

    Mark DeWitt
    Senior Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.