Name: Haley Gouge
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Role: Regional Director
Amount Raised: $1,475/£1,190


Fundraising Breakdown:

  • Fundraising Letters $550 (37.3%)
  • Quit smoking challenge* $250 (16.9%)
  • Cleaned houses $200 (13.6%)
  • Updated a friend’s work website $100 (6.8%)
  • Cooked dinners $100 (6.8%)
  • Asked favorite restaurant to give $100 (6.8%)
  • Dog sitting/walking ($75 5.1%)
  • Borgen “Uber” $50 (3.4%)
  • Hugs for $1 $30 (2.0%)
  • Made personal $10 monthly contribution $20 (1.3%)
    Total: $1,475

*Parents pledged to donate $125 a month to quit smoking.


Haley’s Tips and Strategy

  1. I started early – don’t sit around for weeks trying to pick the perfect fundraising strategy. Pick one that you can start doing easily and quickly. You’ll feel better once you have even a little money in your campaign.
  2. I sent out my letters early and to as many people as I could – over 37% of my funds have come in through my letters, which surprised me. It takes a while for “snail mail” to get to people, and for people’s checks to get back to Borgen, so get those out soon. Mail them to anyone you can think of; a couple of people who donated to me were people I have not directly talked to in over two years. Oh! And do write a personal little note on them. I had two or three people comment on that!
  3. I followed up on the letters – I followed up on the letters at my brother’s wedding and did so in rather casual conversation. I mentioned the letter and asked people if they wanted me to send a link to my online site. Be polite and don’t put people on the spot with “Hey, so are you going to donate?” I don’t think that ever works.
  4. I tried multiple ways to fundraise and thought outside of the box – I did letters, I did the Hugs for $1 campaign in the park, I quit smoking for two months for $250, I have cleaned houses, I’ve dog sat, I’ve been an unofficial designated “Uber” driver for a group of friends one Saturday, I’ve cooked friends dinner, and I’ve even updated a friend’s website for a donation. For me, I felt more comfortable “earning” the donation. I found things I don’t mind doing and that I am good at, and offered these services in exchange for a donation. Sometimes just the gesture of being willing to work got me a donation.
  5. I didn’t give up – I have been told “no” way more than I have been told “yes”, but that did not keep me from asking the next person if they wanted to donate. I promise, after you get your first few “no’s”, they get easier to handle. And like I said, if you are getting too many no’s, just switch to a different strategy. There are a million ways to fundraise.
  6. I made business cards on Vistaprint – this cost me about $12, but it has been worth it. I seem to get better responses from businesses and strangers when I have a business card in hand to give them. It make you look more professional and legitimate, and it also gets the Borgen name and website out.
  7. I used the information on the Borgen website – use the fundraising ideas on the website. There are some great ones! And also make sure you use the site to learn exactly where your money goes to and what it supports. Several of my larger donors asked me pretty specific questions about where the donations go, and I was very glad I had done my homework.
  8. I followed up for repeat donations – I have a few donations that I will be getting in the coming months from people who hired me to clean their house who want me to come back and clean again! Keep an eye out for opportunities to get repeat donors. Make sure to send thank you notes to everyone!