He spoke for fifteen minutes to them and they raised 10,000 pounds in five minutes. This was an amazing fundraising effort and I did realize that raising money to support a charitable cause was not as tricky as I had perceived it.
There was not a well-planned campaign launched by a team of volunteers to support that event. It was just a routine sermon by a religious leader and most of the listeners were regular attendees of that weekly event. Not only the gathering was small but also the cause itself was not new to many of them who donated wholeheartedly at the end of the talk.
The essential stuff of a major fundraising get-together was missing; no projectors fitted on large screens, no sound system with special effects, no animated power point presentations, and absolutely no food.
If the entire arrangements were not unusual then what encouraged them to empty their wallets? A few fundraising experts consider it an impressive gesture when someone asking for donations contributes by himself to encourage donors. This was not a case here as the person who asked people to donate generously did not donate any amount out of his own pocket.
Fundraisers are of the opinion that most important aspect of a fundraising activity is to understand the donors. What are their interests? How they think about charitable causes? What problems they may face in deciding to give? What are their spending habits and who they like to support? How to bridge the gap between their interests and your charity needs?
But this speaker did not know much about his audience except a few facts that they had strong religious faiths and they had come from different social backgrounds. His speech was not much impressive but still he successfully managed to convince them that giving for that particular cause was really worthwhile. I observed that his speech was based on knowledge and facts. Words, phrases and details were simple, explicit and direct.
He explained the situation in a few sentences, asked people to think over it and compare their personal circumstances with the circumstances of those who were in need. I quickly learnt that this was a simple but powerful argument to support a donation request.
Instead of teaching or guiding people the person who is asking for donation should be supportive and collaborative. He should put together the information in as much clear words as possible and ask them to think over the situation just because they are all human beings and they think. When they think they relate and figure out their personal opinions.
People donate when they make positive opinion about your work. Although, benefits of donations are not always tangible, they contribute enormously in achieving one’s ideals in life.
Donations or contributions affect donors’ personal circumstances in many ways. One popular motive behind giving money for charitable objectives is that it enables people to distinguish in their social life. It is something more than mere kindness.
(The writer is a peace & human rights activist and associated with Press for Peace (www.pressforpeace.org.uk)