Name: Taylor Larson
Location: Dallas, TX
Role: Political Affairs Intern
Amount Raised: $3,355/£2,708
- Fundraising letters $1,180 (35.1%)
- Online donations $2,165 (64.5%)
- In-Person Handout at event $10 (.4%)
- Total: $3,355
Taylor’s Tips and Strategy
Start asking for donations as soon as you can. You don’t have to wait for your donation page to be published. You can tell people to donate in your name (so you get credit), either on The Borgen Project’s website or to mail check with a note specifying it’s being donated on your behalf. The sooner you start asking, the more time you have to ask people more than once to donate. Some people will require multiple pitches before they’ll give.
You know more people than you think.
Create Special Pitches for the People Who Think Will Give the Most (Be Sincere!)
I have a few family and friends who regularly donate to causes. Because of this, I gave them special attention, figuring they would be my biggest donors (and they were). These people have different political and religious beliefs. Some are Republicans and some Democrats; some go to church and some don’t. I created different pitches for them in my letters and when I talked to them in person or over the phone. Beforehand, I wrote down what their interests and views were, and how I could tie The Borgen Project’s goals to their beliefs. I think doing this really helped.
- For example, use language that will resonate with the person you’re writing or talking to. Think in advance about what the person you are about to talk to finds important. What does this person define himself or herself by? Is there a particular group or cause this person is devoted to?
- Then, think about the kinds of words that go along with that group or cause.
- If I was talking to a family member or friend who served in the military, I would use terms that are commonly used in association with the military, like, “service,” “cause,” “something bigger than me.” I might say something like: The Borgen Project has given me a chance to help others and serve a cause bigger than myself.
- If I was talking to someone who held religion to be very important, I would talk in moralistic terms. Something like: I think we have a calling to help other people in this world. With The Borgen Project, I feel good knowing that my work is really helping those in need.
- Be sincere in what you say, so that they don’t think you’re pandering to them. For example, I don’t normally talk in terms like I gave above; none of that is my language. However, I do believe all that I said, so my words came across as genuine.
Most of my money came from my fundraising letters, indirectly or directly. Most of the people who donated online did so because they got my letter in the mail. Write a lot of letters.
I heard about this idea after I had done the bulk of my fundraising, but I think it’s a good idea. This way, when you meet people and talk to them about The Borgen Project, you can give them a card that will keep them from forgetting about the organization. Have business cards printed out that have:
- Your name
- The Borgen Project’s name and a line or two about what the organization does
- Directions on how to donate. Tell people how to get to your fundraising profile or how to donate in your name on the mail website
- The cards could also help you mobilize people to e-mail Congress. You could tell them how to e-mail on the other side of the card.
“Ask everyone – You know more people than you think!”
– Taylor Larson