Posts

FeelGood Grilled CheeseFeelGood grilled cheese stations have been popping up all over the country, from UCLA to Boston University and 23 other chapters across the United States and Canada. On Tuesday nights from 10:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. in the Warren Towers Late Nite Café at Boston University, FeelGood’s grilled cheese deli comes alive. This station has been a staple at the university for years, selling grilled cheese sandwiches for $6.50. FeelGood is a non-profit social enterprise run completely by students that deliver 100 percent of its proceeds to charitable organizations that work to combat extreme poverty and hunger. Since its inception in 2005, FeelGood has raised $1.96 million for global poverty reduction efforts across 25 chapters.

FeelGood is devoted to the goal of ending extreme poverty by 2030 with the help of over 1,500 volunteers. Aisha White is one of those volunteers. As a freshman at the University of Pittsburgh, White received a flyer regarding a meeting about grilled cheese, “I love food and I love volunteering, so it seemed like a good fit. Like most students who attend their first meeting, I was drawn in by the grilled cheese—but stayed for the community of people who not only cared about ending global poverty but were dedicated to ending it in our lifetime.”

The FeelGood grilled cheese system operates on three levels, the first is raising money. Originally, selling sandwiches was an easy way for FeelGood founders Kristin Walter and Talis Apud-Hendricks to raise money for their favorite non-profit organizations. Today, chapters raise between $15,000 to $30,000 a year and every cent goes to the Commitment 2030 Fund, a group of organizations whose initiative is to eliminate global poverty by the year 2030 in a sustainable manner. These organizations include the Pachamama Alliance, Water for People, The Hunger Project and Choice Humanitarian.

The second level of operations is conversation. FeelGood provides anyone who visits a grilled cheese shop the opportunity to engage in a dialogue on global hunger and poverty. President of the Boston University Chapter Abigail Mack says FeelGood is “an interesting way to get people involved and to take something really simple like cheese and bread and then turn it into a really big impact to make a difference.” This leads to the third level, empowering youth. For more than a decade, FeelGood grilled cheese delis have displayed a proven means of empowering students with the opportunity to run a business and work towards ending global poverty by 2030. Anna Yum, Vice President of the BU chapter, says, “We’re not just asking for money, we’re also creating a business model.”

Students can get involved by joining a chapter or starting one if their university does not have an existing chapter. As a low-effort way to get involved, any student can visit a local chapter or event to make a donation by purchasing a grilled cheese sandwich.

– Adam Bentz
Photo: Flickr


Richie Sambora is not just known as the guitarist of the band Bon Jovi from 1983 to 2013, but he is also known for his humanitarian work, now including being the co-founder of Csnaps, the new humanitarian app that allows celebrities to take pictures with fans and raise money for a charity of the celebrity’s choice.

“Fans are always going to ask their favorite celebrities to take pictures with them,” Sambora said in an interview with People Music. “By using Csnaps, you get a picture with your favorite star and money goes to help good causes and those in need, so it’s a win-win for everybody.”

Charities must register with Csnaps.org to be eligible for donation. Among the registered charities are The Humane Society, PETA, Smile Train, and the ALS Association.

The app also benefits publicists and celebrities, who can break news about their clients on Csnaps and have the media purchase it. Not only does this raise money for a charity their clients care about, but it allows the publicist to control what is said about their client, and the client gets new followers and good publicity.

So how does it work? A fan approaches a celebrity and asks for a selfie. Using the catchphrase, “Csnaps only please,” the celebrity will take a selfie with the fan through the app, and for a minimum of three dollars, 80 percent of which goes to a charity of the celebrity’s choice, the fan has their picture and a sense of contentment knowing that they have helped save a life, or make someone’s life better.

 

Csnaps is available on iTunes now, but no plans have been announced for it to be on any other platforms. Hopefully after witnessing Csnaps’ impact, other charities and platforms will join in on the goodwill.

Kelsey Alexis Jackson

Photo: Flickr


With growing anticipation for the 2018 political midterms, Crowdpac is on a mission to bring politics back to individuals and to assist with their fundraising campaigns.

Crowdpac provides direct access to politician information, simplifying the campaign process for newcomers and connecting people to candidates who are representing their political standpoints. The CEO, Steve Hilton, believes that money supports a majority of the current issues within politics. Large cash donations continually prove to be a vital component in winning an election. “You’ve got to raise money to do your campaign,” Hilton states. “And typically, that forces you to do things and say things and take positions that are not actually what you believe.”

During the 2016 Presidential campaign, 99.31 percent of the source funds for Bernie Sanders’ campaign (229 million dollars) were funded by individual contributions. In comparison, President Trump raised 132.2 million dollars from individual contributions.

Fundraising proves to be effective and critical to the success of a campaign, even in “small amounts at the state level.” A Utah resident, Dr. Kathryn Allen, has gained over half a million dollars for the Utah 2018 primaries. Through Crowdpac, people can find easily access her fundraising profile and can endorse her campaign.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger created a fundraising profile titled, “This is our chance to make gerrymandering unconstitutional” on the organization’s website. The former California Governor has partnered with Common Cause, a nonprofit organization working to create an “accountable government that serves the public interest”.

The fundraising profile includes Schwarzenegger’s reason behind his endeavor; the Wisconsin Republican Party plans to appeal a federal order, redrawing the state’s legislative districts. In November, a federal court ruled that Wisconsin’s districts give Republicans a continual advantage in state elections and must be redrawn.

“They’ve appealed the ruling to the Supreme court,” Schwarzenegger states, “and you can bet they’ll be well financed.”

The bipartisan, fundraising goal is to make gerrymandering unconstitutional and to bring politics back to people who want legitimate candidates representing their political standpoints. The campaign has already received 902 endorsements, 584 donations, and has raised 23,194 dollars. Shwarzenegger has also pledged to match all donations.

Crowdfunding platforms such as GoFundMe and Crowdpac allow people to raise money for the campaigns, representatives and political beliefs they support. America’s political system is founded on the principles of a representative democracy. Legitimate representatives are vital to providing accurate opinions of voting citizens.

Madison O’Connell

Photo: Flickr

Musicians
Can you name at least three musicians who fight poverty in unorthodox ways? In a recently announced project, major hitters in the music industry will be joining together to produce a new album aimed at reducing poverty around the world. Some of the musicians already attached to the project include stars like Kanye West, Ellie Goulding and Mumford & Sons.

The album, entitled Metamorphoses, will be sponsored by Global Citizen, a nonprofit that brings people together to fight global poverty. This project is a logical extension of the organization’s previous work, which often includes organizing major concerts to raise funds and build awareness for poverty-fighting efforts.

What makes Metamorphoses unique is the fact that fans have been called upon to submit lyrics, poems, and even short stories for the musicians to incorporate into the 12 tracks. According to Global Citizen’s CEO, Hugh Evans, this highly interactive process will include material from people all over the world, making the project “a truly global tribute to our collective responsibility” to fight poverty.

How will the album ultimately help alleviate poverty? Producers are planning to employ slightly unorthodox methods that sidestep traditional fundraising techniques. Instead of buying the album with actual currency, fans can “purchase” Metamorphoses by making commitments to take action to fight poverty.

This kind of outreach has the potential to build lifelong warriors against poverty, as opposed to one-time donors. Those who “buy” the album are offering to engage with the anti-poverty movement through direct action, such as educating their elected officials about the issue and petitioning those with law-making power.

The project itself was dreamed up by Global Citizen in partnership with Ben Lovett of Mumford & Sons. According to Lovett, the “crowd-sourcing” of material makes the project especially exciting. “Metamorphoses has the potential to break down our preconceptions of the voices of creativity, what different people around the world are thinking and who has the right to be heard,” Lovett claims.

Set to be released in the Fall of 2016, Metamorphoses is destined to be an exciting and unique album with the potential to do a lot of good and foster activism through the power and process of creating music, according to Global Citizen.

Jennifer Diamond

Photo: Flickr

The Clinton Foundation
Bill Clinton will always be remembered first and foremost for his eight years in the White House, but he has another legacy that deserves just as much attention: The Clinton Foundation.

Founded in 1997 with a focus on Little Rock, Arkansas, the foundation has grown into an international powerhouse that has raised more than $2 billion to fund charity work around the world.

Like most ex-presidents, Clinton initially faded from the public eye. According to the Washington Post, he spent much of his time watching TiVo. Then, in 2002, he moved the Clinton Foundation to Harlem, New York, following Hillary Clinton’s successful election bid for U.S. Senate.

The foundation brought in consultants from Booz Allen Hamilton to give advice to small business owners in the local community, and the projects piled on from there. Using his celebrity power, Clinton was able to consistently recruit top-notch partners. Besides Booz Allen, he also brought in Princeton Review to bolster local students’ SAT scores.

It was not until 2002, however, that Clinton’s international work began. He met an old friend, former President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, at an AIDS conference. Mandela reminded Clinton of a promise he made while still in office, a promise to help Africa after he left.

That promise materialized into the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI). According to the Clinton Foundation Website, CHAI has helped reduce the cost of lifesaving HIV/AIDS medication from $10,000 annually for one patient to only $100 to $200. This has helped over eight million people in developing countries, many of them in Africa, afford medication without which they’d die.

CHAI was so successful that it became its own organization, but the Clinton Foundation actively promotes nine other initiatives: the Clinton Climate Initiative, the Clinton Development Initiative, the Clinton Foundation in Haiti, the Clinton Glustra Enterprise Partnership, the Clinton Global Initiative, the Clinton Health Matters Initiative, the Clinton Presidential Center and Too Small to Fail and No Ceilings: The Full Participation Project.

The Clinton Foundation is unique in that its initiatives are its own. It consists of over 2,000 employees that serve both as administrators and field workers. As such, it operates more as a nonprofit consulting firm than a grant-making agency. A New York Times story from 2015, for example, reports that the group’s work in Rwanda includes such diverse efforts as teaching farmers to double their yields, training nurses and specialists and supporting factories that turn soybeans into cooking oil.

Behind the power of the Clinton Foundation is Bill’s celebrity. As ex-President of the most powerful country in the world, he truly is a star among stars. With this power, he has been able to raise funds that few others on Earth could hope to achieve and partner with the best organizations to put the money to good use.

As the 2016 presidential election approaches, increasing scrutiny is being paid to the foundation. With Hillary as the first female President and Bill as the first “First Man,” some people would worry about influence-buying through the foundation. Still, the breadth and depth of the good work of the Clinton Foundation cannot be denied. Bill could’ve easily faded into the background after his presidency. Instead, he used his influence and recognition to benefit not just the United States, but the entire world.

Dennis Sawyers

Sources: New York Times, The Clinton Foundation, The Washington Post

Help the WorldSometimes, the task of making the world a better place can be overwhelming. On top of our daily schedules and expenses, there are so many causes to devote your time or money to. However, a quest to help the world does not have to involve curing cancer or achieving world peace — it can start with a few simple steps to address issues that matter:

Pick an issue area

The most important step to start improving the world is to find an issue you are passionate about. The more passionate you are about a cause, the more likely you are to enjoy working for it and the more inspiration you will find. The issue could be anything from rhino poaching in South Africa or water safety in Flint, MI to school supplies for children in Brazil.

Remember that there are problems both abroad and in your own backyard. Each cause is important and doing something is more effective than doing nothing.

Raise money

Organizations often need both money and manpower to keep their efforts running. How you want to contribute to a cause is up to you.

But if you are interested in donating or fundraising, there are many different options. Whether donations come from your own savings, running a fundraising campaign or asking family members to donate to a cause in lieu of gifts for a special occasion, the money you give to an organization will be very useful for keeping projects running. Donations do not have to be astronomical to make a difference!

Another way to contribute money is by shopping smart. When you are buying products for yourself or as gifts, try to buy products that give back. To start, you could look at this list from the Huffington Post of gifts that give back. Do research and find products that you love that have an added bonus of giving back.

Online websites also provide ways to give back. If you frequently order from Amazon, the company’s Amazon Smile program donates 0.5 percent of the price of eligible purchases to the charity of your choice.

Volunteer your time

You might also choose to work with a local organization on a regular basis or volunteer for a summer to work across the country or across the world. If you are interested in empowering youth, you could volunteer to tutor or become a mentor. You might also try volunteering to prepare food packages at your local Red Cross Food Bank and sort clothing donations at the Salvation Army.

Technology has opened up endless opportunities to volunteer with people around the world. If you are interested in helping teach English, Pax Populi, an online website sponsored by the U.N., allows volunteers to sign up as conversation partners for students in Afghanistan. This website also has opportunities to apply for translation, editing and research volunteer positions.

Another often overlooked but highly important volunteer position is to advocate for your chosen cause or organization. Efforts such as handing out flyers, making donor calls or contacting government representatives can be crucial in spreading the word.

Asking your Senate or Congressional leaders to support specific legislation is not nearly as intimidating as it may seem. Leaders respond well to requests from their constituents and putting pressure on them can spur change at the state or national level. Check out this page to see how we contact government representatives at the Borgen Project.

Stay connected

Lastly, the most important way you can help the world is to be knowledgeable and active in your community. Try to keep up with news reports and research topics of interest to you.

The world changing every day means the challenges it faces are changing as well. The best way we can help the world is to create a population of caring and active citizens.

Taylor Resteghini

Sources: Amazon Smile, The Borgen Project, The Huffington Post, Pax Populi, UN Online Volunteers
Photo: Voluntariat

a Highly Successful Advocate
A successful advocate stirs up support for policies, legislation and public causes through civil education, awareness campaigns and lobbying with key decision-makers.

Here are five things that can make any advocacy campaign more effective:

1. Understanding Your Cause
A highly successful advocate understands the ins and outs of their cause. In order to speak passionately and authoritatively on an issue for which you are advocating, you must ensure that you read up on it, interact with people who understand and have experienced it and keep abreast of current affairs related to it.

Advocacy is a full-time job and whenever you are interacting with other people or legislators, you have an opportunity to tell them about your campaign, so it really helps if you can converse comfortably about it.

2. Creating Public Awareness
A cause that people know nothing about is doomed to fail.

A highly successful advocate must, therefore, mount vigorous awareness campaigns around their cause. In this day and age of information proliferation through the Internet, social media has become one of the best ways to reach out to more people instantaneously. Creating online petitions and being very active on social media sites is a great way for an advocate to engage followers.

Writing letters to editors of different newspapers is another means of putting your cause in the limelight. It is also important to blog and consistently publish articles around issues or legislation you are supporting. A successful advocate will also ensure that they network with people who are supporters of the cause.

3. Consistently Calling and Emailing Congressional Leaders
Did you know that every time you call or email your congressional leaders in support of a piece of legislation, it is recorded and viewed by your elected official every week?

Most legislators want to know as many of their constituents’ issues as possible; therefore, to be a successful advocate, you must set aside time each week to consistently call and email legislators to tell them about the cause you support.

4. Meeting Elected Officials
According to the American Planning Association, meeting in person with elected leaders or their legislative staff is one of the most effective means of political advocacy.

When going for lobbying meetings, it is important that you are well prepared in advance by knowing the specific problem you want to tackle and requesting a specific action or solution from the representative that you are meeting. You should also demonstrate that the issue you are presenting has an organized group of supporters.

After the visit, ensure that you follow up by sending a thank-you note and tracking how the legislator responds to the issue.

5. Fundraising
A highly successful advocate ensures that they are not strapped for cash when running their campaigns. It is important, therefore, to raise the capital that will allow you to regularly meet elected officials and key decision-makers, make phone calls and generally support overhead costs required to run your advocacy campaign.

– June Samo

Sources: American Planning Association, Government and Community Relations, Salsa, TASCO, The Advocacy Project, WFP
Photo: Flickr

Helping To Eradicate Poverty Will Make You Happier
The goal to eradicate global poverty continues to be a growing challenge facing the world today. This year, an estimated 700 million people worldwide still live below the poverty line.

In a survey conducted by the charity Action For Happiness, they identified ten everyday habits that make people happier.

On a scale of 1-10, each habit was ranked based on how frequently people performed each habit.

The number 1 ranked habit, at 7.41, was giving.

“Practicing these habits really can boost our happiness. It’s great to see so many people regularly doing things to help others — and when we make others happy we tend to feel good ourselves too,” said Professor Karen Pine, a psychologist involved in the study.

Here are three simple ways people can become involved in the fight to eradicate poverty:

  1. Join an Organization: Ending poverty is not solely the job of world leaders, but individuals worldwide can do their part as well. People who are passionate about ending poverty can join a network of supporters who share similar ideas and strategies.Examples of non-profit organizations include ONE Campaign, UNICEF, CARE, and The Borgen Project.
  2. Contact Your Congressional Leaders In the United States, each state has two senators and a number of representatives who enjoy hearing thoughts and suggestions from their constituents.With phone numbers and emails easily accessible, senators and representatives keep a tally of every issue their constituents call or email about. A simple phone call or a click of a button can determine if a bill is discussed in the Senate or House. Learn more about how easy it is to email and call Congress here.
  3. Set up a Fundraising Page: Online donation pages can be built with donation sites including Donor Drive and GoFundMe. Using social media, people can persuade friends and family to donate to a worthy cause.

Through global poverty efforts, everyone can play a role in ending poverty while simultaneously feeling better about their well-being.

“Extreme poverty has been cut in half in the last 20 years, and the facts show that we can get it to virtually zero within a generation – but only if we act,” said Bono, musician and global activist.

Alexandra Korman

Sources: Global Citizen, PSY Blog, The Borgen Project
Photo: Flickr

Five Tips for Successful Fundraising
When I began my internship at The Borgen Project, I was admittedly intimidated, especially with regards to the required fundraising goal. Although I had had experience with fundraising during high school, I had never single-handedly maintained a fundraiser. I was nervous, but also determined to prove my worth to the members of The Borgen Project.

Currently on week nine of my internship, I am proud to say that I have raised $1,207.06. To do this, I wrote letters to family and friends, I spoke and visited with local restaurants and I opened a booth twice at my community’s weekly market.

My success has made me feel like a fundraising fairy. I am one of 180 Borgen Project interns across the United States. Of these 180 interns, there are only three who have raised over $1000. I am satisfied to say that I am one of them.

After speaking for our monthly conference, I learned that fundraising is a rickety and shaky boat during a storm for many interns. Interns attempt to sail forward with their goal but are often anchored to the spot, deterred by unknown conditions and direction.

To these interns: I promise that you can succeed. Below is a list of helpful fundraising tips that have made a difference for me. Hopefully, they will benefit you during your fundraising endeavors.

1. Be courageous.
Do not be afraid to go out of your comfort zone. Although writing letters to family and friends can be simple and successful, it should not be the only method of fundraising. Try writing letters to places you visit often in your community or to companies who have a history of donating to charities and nonprofits.

2. Be persuasive and understand emotions.
When writing your letters, consider how your audience will react and understand. For example, consider: “The population of people in poverty is large.” Now consider: “The number of people suffering from hunger is larger than the population of the United States, Europe and Canada combined.” The latter offers more depth and perspective; the statement is more tangible because it offers size, location and familiarity to your readers. When I wrote letters to restaurants, I focused on hungry families and food waste, two aspects that are sure to connect with restaurant owners and cooks. Remember to be specific with what you write and remember to make it relatable to your readers. Ultimately, you need to prove to them why they should care about global poverty.

3. Be sensible.
Do not forget to draw on the connections you have with others, especially because they may have connections and advice that can further your fundraising success. For example, I asked a friend about our community farmers’ market and she provided me with the information I needed to obtain a booth. Had I not sought her advice, I would have neglected a great fundraising opportunity! It is also helpful to have friends who are willing to participate in any events that you organize.

4. Be tenacious.
I know that fundraising can seem like soliciting, but if you approach each situation carefully, you will appear to be dedicated rather than annoying. Personally, I follow a three-time rule. This means I will make a phone call to my donor, a personal visit to my donor (if this is possible) and a follow-up or thank-you phone call to my donor. It is important to wait a few days between each of these. In my experience, this three-time rule proved that I am committed to my cause and encouraged donations.

5. Be respectful and grateful.
When it comes to fundraising, it is important to remember that potential donors have other expenses and daily tasks. If you plan to visit a business or organization, be aware that they have other duties to perform. In this situation, leave your contact information and check back in a few days. Even if someone is unable to donate, be sure to say thank you. This highlights both your character and that of The Borgen Project. Remember to show your appreciation with thank-you letters or phone calls.

My fundraising quest has been a valuable learning experience. I was able to educate both others and myself about important world issues; I spread awareness about The Borgen Project and made powerful allies for the fight against global poverty. Knowing that my intensive efforts will benefit those in need and contribute to changing the face of poverty is rewarding.

I hope that my five simple tips will assist others with fundraising. Fellow interns: our fundraising experience does not need to feel like a sinking ship. If you are positive, determined and creative, you can breeze past $500 and sail on into the distance.

– Kelsey Parrotte

Photo: The Fund Raiser

Charity_Challenge
Charity Challenge is a fundraising organization that operates in a different and peculiar way than many other organizations. They raise funds for different charities through various sports events or challenges around the world.

According to their website, Charity Challenge launches more than 100 sports events or challenges each year. These events vary from mountain climbs, bike rides, sky diving, dog sledding, skiing, among others.

The organization operates in more than 30 countries, which include places like Cuba, Morocco, Italy, Peru, Bolivia, Zambia, Ethiopia, Cambodia, Nepal, Ecuador, France, UK, and others.

Moreover, Charity Challenge supports various charities around the world that vary from different categories such as children, education, environment, animals, human rights, hunger relief, international aid, and many others. The participants of the Charity Challenge events can choose the charity they want to support with their donation.

Here are 6 Charity Challenge events for different disciplines:

Dalai Lama Himalayan Trek

This is an Himalayan trekking event where participants visit India’s exiled Tibetan community. The event includes visiting the Dharamsala, where the Tibetan community and the Dalai Lama are located, Uhl River, Taragarh Palace, the Taj Mahal, the Keoladeo National Park, and Fatephur Sikri.

This trekking event is in aid of any charity the participant wants to support.

Icelandic Lava Trek

This trekking challenge is about crossing the Landmannalaugar route through a very active volcanic area in Iceland. Participants are expected walk across snowfields, set up camp, and walk on rough ground. This event includes visiting the Blue Lagoon.

This trekking event is in aid of any charity the participant wants to give his support to.

Cuban Revolution Cycle

This is a 10 day cycling challenge that consist of an expedition from the Cuban capital, Havana to Trinidad. During this 350 km ride, participants have the chance to see the Che Guevara monument in Santa Clara, Cienfuegos, and Sierra del Escambray.

This biking event is in aid of any charity the participant wants to support.

Cycle Machu Picchu to the Amazon

This challenge counts with a visit to Cusco and the Machu Picchu ruins. The cycling challenge starts in the ruins of Ollantaytambo following the length of the Sacred Valley of the Incas and then to the market of Pisac. From the market, the journey continues to the Andes, the village of Paucartambo, Tres Cruces, and the Amazon rainforest.

This cycling event is in aid of Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity, Nicola Murray Foundation, Challenge Cancer UK, or any charity chosen by the participant.

Great Ethiopian Run

In this 10 km running event, the participants run with more than 40 thousand runners in Africa’s highest city. The challenge gives participants a chance to visit Womankind Worldwide’s project in Addis Ababa.

This running challenge is in aid of Womankind Worldwide.

Dog Sledding Challenge

This is a dog sledding event in Sweden. Participants have the opportunity to witness the Northern Lights and the local wildlife from the Swedish mountains. Finally, the participants arrive into Kiruna, a northern Swedish city that is home of the Sami, a European indigenous group.

This dog sledding challenge is in aid of any charity the participant wants to support.

There are many ways to support charities and good causes, and Charity Challenge is an adventurous and sporty way for participants to support thousands of causes around the world.

Diana Fernanda Leon

Sources: Charity Challenge 1, Charity Challenge 2, Charity Challenge 3
Photo: Bath Cats and Dogs Home

Pages

 

Name: Taylor Larson
Location: Dallas, TX
Role: Political Affairs Intern
Amount Raised: $3,355

 

Fundraising Breakdown:

    • 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 Early

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.

Ask Everyone

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.

Write Letters

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.

Business Cards

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