In my pursuit of making myself more marketable to the non profits I someday hope to work for (and get paid to work for), I realized a few months ago that experience in fund raising and grant writing is always a plus. At first I wanted to take a course for each of these subjects, but the expenses involved with that just haven’t been in the cards lately. So instead, I’m diving head first and trying to figure it out on my own, with the help of those willing to help.
Aside from our garage sales for our personal expenses to
Haiti (which I’ll blog about later), my main adventure is trying to raise some serious money for All Hands, specifically their sanitation project. I’ve been working on a presentation since July, updating information and what not, and I think I’m almost where I want. I’m planning on presenting it to attorneys and law school professors in the area, so it needs to be legit. I’m trying to make it detailed without being overwhelming, informative, and even with citations!
At first I was thinking of contacting large law firms and trying to make presentations to them, but after talking to a more experienced attorney, we came to the conclusion that wouldn’t be a very effective use of time. He helped me realize that the better r
oute to go is to just have a fundraising social event, where I can charge per person. My thought is: charge $40-50 per person, and after giving my presentation, ask people or their firms to pledge larger donations. The latter part scares me a little, since I’m afraid I’m going to put all this effort into this event, and no one will care enough to take it a step further, haha. Hopefully people will prove me wrong.
My two biggest concerns have been: 1) finding a place to have the event, with little or no charge, and 2) finding someone to cover the cost of the fundraiser. I’ve learned lately that both of these just require the right connections. For the first one, I met a dual attorney couple at a legal fundraising event, and was smart enough to keep in touch with them by sending them a thank you follow up email.
I asked the wife for some fundraising
tips and advice, and told her about my concerns regarding locations and cost. She gave me some tips on catering and what not, and a couple weeks later sent me a follow up email offering her house as a venue for the fundraiser. I can’t tell you how excited I was when I read that email. So, just like that, concern number one evaporated!
I’m still working on securing funding, but the Thanksgiving holidays have set me behind a bit. I will be sending out some donation request letters in the next couple weeks. I was originally hoping to have this event in January, but I’m thinking it might have to be pushed back to February unless I can secure the funding ASAP (which with the holidays coming up, seems doubtful).
Everything after that, catering, decor, rentals, etc., just falls into place. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I’m going about this the right way, and that I can actually raise some good funds for this project. Not only will it help an amazing organization, it helps me feel like regardless of how far I am, physically, I’m still helping out in some way, not to mention the experience that it gives me.
Photo courtesy of Ben Waldman