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Fundraising Tips for Potential Delegates

FUNDRAISING TIPS

Raising funds for a Witness for Peace (WFP) delegation is an important part of the delegation experience.  For many, this task may seem intimidating, even downright daunting.  However, it is our experience that it is very easy to raise all of the money you’ll need for your delegation.  The biggest challenge is overcoming the fear or uneasiness most of us have about asking for money.

Fundraising is an important part of every delegation.  Many people cannot afford to cover the entire delegation cost, and must look elsewhere for funding by asking friends, family, churches and business associates for help.  This is not just as an opportunity to raise money, but also a way to reach out to communities.  It is a way for individuals not going on the delegation to be involved.  People are usually excited to give money toward the cause that Witness for Peace delegates are promoting and they often ask for a report once people return to the states.  Here at Witness for Peace, we see delegation fundraising as an outreach opportunity, and we have found that this process can sometimes even be fun.  Sounds incredible?  Read on.....

A healthy and profitable approach to fundraising is to view it as an opportunity to let your friends, family, and community share in your WFP delegation experience.  Remember, you are not going on a pleasure cruise, and you’re not asking for a hand-out.  Rather, you are embarking on a serious mission to build bridges of solidarity and community; to pro-actively engage in activism for a cleaner, more just world; to work alongside our brothers and sisters in Latin America or the Caribbean to envision and enact a brighter future. This is a serious endeavor.  By asking your community to support you, you are actually giving them an opportunity to participate in this work.  Your supporters can -- and will -- feel a personal investment in your struggle for justice.  Not only will this ensure enough funding for your trip, but it will help to build the movement for social justice as well.

Remember, people want to help you.  People want to give money to good causes.  And people want a personal connection to their philanthropy.  Looking at fundraising from this perspective, you are doing your contacts a favor by allowing them to support you and the cause you represent!  

Knowing where to begin and how to ask is the trick.  Following are some fund raising tips that should work for you:  

1. Write to close family, friends, professors, and business associates about the delegation.  Ask them to make a contribution.  Invite them to participate in your experience this way.  Try to tailor your letter according to your audience.  You may have two or three different versions of your letter.  Also, it is helpful to suggest a dollar amount -- perhaps each contribution could cover the expense of one day of your trip, about $75 - $100.  However, let people know that any amount they can afford to give will be helpful.  It is also a good idea to enclose a self-addressed envelope along with the letter to make it easy to give!  See the attached sample letters for ideas.  

2. Ask a church or synagogue to make a special appeal
a couple of months before the trip to help cover part of the delegation cost.  Usually an announcement can be made before or after a religious service.  It is helpful for you to be present when this appeal is made -- sometimes being at the main exit after a religious service is advisable.

3. Hold a yard sale.  Get family and friends to donate unneeded furniture, appliances, books, albums, and other items to go towards the cost of the trip.  Make sure to publicize the yard sale a couple of weeks in advance, and mention the purpose of the sale!  If a yard sale won’t work, try a raffle or auction.  One delegate, with the help of friends, offered $50 worth of groceries as a prize.  She sold 150 tickets at $1 each.  Service auctions are also popular, especially if you know people willing to donate their time and talents to cook gourmet meals, provide art lessons, or offer massage therapy.

4. Host a party.  Depending on the interests of you or your friends, you have several options for a great fun event that people will want to attend:
•    Dinner Party: Invite ten friends to enjoy a dinner typical of the country you will be visiting.  Complement dinner with music and perhaps a video that gives an overview of the situation in the country you are visiting.
•    Dance Party or House Party: Lots of people will pay $20 to drink beer, have fun and support a worthy cause!
•    Video Party:  WFP CAN RECOMMEND GREAT VIDEOS FOR YOU TO SHOW.
Ask the guests in advance to come ready to make a contribution, either by setting a “suggested donation” at the door, or by passing the hat or handing out envelopes for contributions during the party.. 

5. Plan a Marathon Event.  Almost any activity can be done as a marathon fundraiser, from bowling to dancing to eating.  You can get pledges yourself or create an event where several people participate and get pledges.  CARDINAL RULE OF EVENTS:   BE KIND TO YOURSELF  DON'T DO IT ALONE, GIVE YOURSELF LOTS OF TIME TO PLAN, AND DON'T SET YOUR EXPECTATIONS UNREALISTICALLY HIGH.
SAMPLE FUND RAISING PLAN


Source            Amount        Date

Self                   $150
Family/Friends   $500          Three months before trip.
Congregation     $300          Two months before trip.
Yard Sale          $100          One month before trip.
Dinner Party      $300          Two weeks before trip.
Other                $150

Total amount raised     $1,500!


WHERE TO START

Begin with the goal in mind.  We like to suggest that your goal be 100% of your trip cost.  This is a basic place to begin, but too few people ever start here.  Once a fund raising goal is established it is time to develop a list of potential contributors.


KNOW THE REASONS WHY

Before asking anyone for anything, first answer the question: Why am I making this trip?  Make a list of the three or four most compelling reasons for going to Latin America/Caribbean.  Then write a paragraph on each.  These reasons should also include why people will want to help your cause.  Emphasize how the work you will be doing with Witness should be important to them as well.  This simple exercise -- sometimes called developing a "rap" -- will help you communicate clearly and concisely the reasons why it is important for others to support your trip.


WHO TO ASK

Make another list.  This time use two columns: individuals in one column and churches, synagogues, and groups in the other column.  Then, set priorities.  Start fund raising with the strongest possibilities.  


GETTING HELP FROM WITNESS FOR PEACE

The Witness for Peace National Staff will provide technical assistance to any delegate who feels they need some extra help with their fundraising.  If you have any questions, or would like sample language to use in your outreach, don’t hesitate to call us at 202-547-6112.  Or you can email your questions or concerns to delegations@witnessforpeace.org.


RAISING FUNDS FROM INDIVIDUALS

This comes first because it is usually the most successful way for delegates to raise funds.  For many delegates the person-to-person approach takes the least effort and yields the greatest return.

A big advantage in asking family and friends to help pay for a trip is that you know what part of the "rap" to stress.  In other words, if a friend is concerned about the environment, it would be important to talk with that person about the environmental issues facing the country you are visiting.  If an aunt or cousin is a member of Amnesty International, it would be wise to discuss the human rights situation in a country like Colombia.  If someone has a special place in their heart for children, talk about how difficult life is for a child living in a country like Nicaragua or Cuba.

Always let the person know that you need financial support right away.  Then, explain why it is important for them to give.  Let family and friends know how much is needed to travel on a delegation so that they then can decide on how much to contribute toward your goal.

Try to meet with family and friends face-to-face.  If this is not possible, contact people by telephone or through the mail.  If a letter is sent, it is helpful to follow-up with a telephone call but make sure you state that you will do so in your letter.

The following are examples of fundraising letters.  The first is for general use and the second can be used by students. 

GENERAL SAMPLE FUNDRAISING LETTER

Dear ____________,

Paragraph One: Introduce yourself and why this trip is right for you.

    In this increasingly globalized economy, we can no longer ignore the extreme impoverishment and injustice that exists in our neighboring countries.  Just to the south, in Bolivia, US policies and the practices of large corporations wreak havoc on people’s daily lives and threaten their struggle for true development.  It is astounding to me that as we live in the 21st century, many people in Bolivia are still living without adequate food, shelter or sanitation.  As a person of faith [and/or conscience], I see a great need for giving a voice to our brothers and sisters in Latin America who struggle for a better life.  A wonderful opportunity has arisen and I’d like to take advantage of it, but need your help.  This is not just a request for help, but also an opportunity for you to become part of the struggle for a peaceful and more just world.

Paragraph Two:Explain the delegation and Witness for Peace.

    At the end of May [substitute appropriate calendar reference],  there is a human rights delegation [substitute theme of your delegation] going to Bolivia.  This delegation is sponsored by Witness for Peace and will include [tell something about the delegation].  The point of this trip is to see first-hand the effects of U.S. policies and corporate practices on the people of Bolivia, and to establish a cross-border network for the advancement of just policies and human rights.  Witness for Peace is a politically independent grassroots organization committed to nonviolence. Since 1983 they have worked to support peace, justice and sustainable economies in Latin America and the Caribbean by changing US policies and corporate practices that contribute to poverty and oppression.  This delegation is a perfect opportunity for me to give something back to society and to work for a better world.   

Paragraph Three:Tell them how much.

    The cost of this trip is $______ for basic accommodations and ground transportation and $______ for airfare.  This amount is more than I can afford on my own.  Accordingly, I am asking for contributions from my family, friends, and colleagues to make this opportunity a reality for me.  Any amount that you can afford to give would be greatly appreciated!  (A donation of $_____ would really be helpful!*)  You can either make a check out to Witness for Peace for my delegation fees or to me for airfare.  (Checks to Witness for Peace are tax deductible.)

Conclusion:Thank them & enclose a return envelope.

    Thank you in advance for any help you can give.  Please feel free to call me with any questions at ___________________.  I have enclosed a self-addressed return envelope for your convenience.

    Sincerely,

    _________________________

[* People often appreciate the suggestion of a specific amount, and they may give more with such a suggestion than they otherwise would.]




STUDENT SAMPLE FUNDRAISING LETTER

Dear ___________,

Paragraph One: Introduce yourself and why this trip is right for you.

    As you probably know, I am in my _______ year of studies at the __________ working to acquire a ______ degree in _______ .  During my college career I have dedicated much time and energy to working for social change.  In this increasingly globalized economy, decisions made by our government and the practices of American corporations affect the daily lives of people in other countries – especially those in the developing world.  As a person of faith and conscience, I see a great need for giving a voice to our brothers and sisters in Latin America who are surviving amid impoverishment and injustice. Furthermore, as I’m planning a career in __________, I’m trying to increase my hemispheric awareness and build my travel resume.  A wonderful opportunity has arisen and I’d like to participate, but need your help.  This is an opportunity for you to become part of the struggle for a cleaner, more peaceful and more just world.

Paragraph Two:Explain the delegation and Witness for Peace.

    At the end of May [substitute appropriate calendar reference], there is a student delegation going to Bolivia.  This delegation is sponsored by Witness for Peace.  The point of this trip is to see first-hand the effects of U.S. policies and corporate practices on the people of Bolivia and to establish a cross-border network for the advancement of just policies and human rights.  Witness for Peace is a politically independent grassroots organization committed to nonviolence. Since 1983 they have worked to support peace, justice and sustainable economies in Latin America and the Caribbean by changing US policies and corporate practices that contribute to poverty and oppression.  This delegation is a perfect opportunity for me to give something back to society and to work for a better world.

Paragraph Three:Tell them how much.

    The cost of this trip is $______ for basic accommodations and ground transportation and $______ for airfare.  As a college student, this amount is more than I can afford on my own.  Accordingly, I am asking for contributions from my family and friends to make this opportunity a reality for me.  Any amount that you can afford to give would be greatly appreciated!  (A donation of $_____ would really be helpful!*)  You can either make a check out to Witness for Peace for my delegation fees or to me for airfare.

Conclusion: Thank them & enclose a return envelope.

    Thank you in advance for any help you can give.  Please feel free to call me with any questions at ___________________.  I have enclosed a self-addressed, stamped return envelope for your convenience.

    Sincerely,


    _________________________

[* People often appreciate the suggestion of a specific amount, and they may give more with such a suggestion than they otherwise would.]

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