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Guest blogger

The etiquette of fundraising: How to ask your friends and family to raise money for a good cause

Reading Time: 2 minutes
Guest blogger

Reading Time: 2 minutes
Karen Cleveland

Karen Cleveland tackles all things etiquette from the traditional to the taboo on her blog, Finishing School.

When it comes to fundraising, we often get asked the same question: “what’s the best way to ask friends and family to donate?”  That’s why we’re honoured to have today’s blog written by Karen Cleveland, who tackles all things etiquette from the traditional to the taboo on her blog, Finishing School. She sincerely believes good manners make the world a better place.

There is no shortage of great causes to support—though we can all sometimes feel like our philanthropic interests may outpace our social circles. Feel sheepish about asking for money? Worried about repeatedly hitting up the same folks? Where there is a will, there is a way. And you can continue to fundraise without becoming a social pariah.

Here are my 7 etiquette tips on asking your friends and family for a donation:

  1. Be knowledgeable about the cause you’re supporting. If you can speak with conviction  about it and your friends see how fired up you get, they will be more motivated to support you. Being able to answer their questions with ease, instills a sense of faith in those you’re approaching for donations.
  2. Get comfortable asking, and comfortable being told no. Maintain a ‘no hard feelings’ policy and never put people on the spot. If your request is declined, thank them anyway and move right along in the conversation.
  3. Mass emails or Facebook blasts get lost in the clutter. When we see we’re one of 150 people on a message thread, it begets apathy, as we assume the other 149 will give generously. Small group settings or face-to-face forums are great to tell people about what you are up to and gauge their interest.
  4. Use your discretion about what elements of your cause fit your audience. Your parents’ friends might not be the intended audience for a raucous cocktail party fundraiser – but they might jump to support the book swap you are organizing.
  5. Take varied approaches and respect the boundaries. If your company has a bulletin board for such purposes, use it to spread the word. Tweeting from your company’s twitter account? Not so good. Soliciting from someone who reports to you might be construed as bullish, so best to avoid.
  6. Understand the fine print. Is there a tax receipt available for donations? Are you asking your friend to sponsor you, or are you asking her to run 10km along with you? Anticipate the logistical concerns of those you’re speaking to and be able to address them.
  7. Thank people like it is your job. By supporting your charitable interests, someone has gone above and beyond for you, and that deserves a heartfelt thank you, in writing. Here’s a sample thank you message that you can modify.

Get started fundraising now with a Good Reads, Good Deeds Book Swap!