by Pam Rempel, WHS Volunteer
I was surprised to see the total climb on my fundraising page for The WHS’ Paws In Motion fundraiser. Two years ago, I reached a whopping $45! Last year, I set my goal at $100 and my dad, supportive and motivating, pledged me that amount. He also challenged me to set my goal higher – a staggering $1000. I laughed at the idea, but decided to make it a ‘stretch goal’.
What did I do differently last year? I decided to overcome my shyness. I think it could be said that virtually everyone is uncomfortable with asking for money. No matter how valuable the cause, it is hard to ask. So I didn’t ask my friends and neighbours for money. I asked them to join my team and come have a really fun day. I printed up a flyer with photos of my dog, Sandy, and his bio, how The WHS helped him, and how grateful I am for it. On the flyer was the phrase Donate Now and an explanation of the purpose of the needed funds. Out on walks, when Sandy stopped to meet a dog, I mentioned the walk and gave them a flyer. The donations began rolling in.
Then I went one step further, and it made the big money difference. I took my dog and my flyers to the businesses that I frequent in my neighbourhood. I offered to display their logo during the walk-a-thon on my back in appreciation for their support. Their business’ name would be mingling through the enormous crowd. I promised to follow-up in a week and got the name of the decision maker. When I returned, the generosity astounded me. Some even put out a jar and their staff members contributed. From $10 to $150, these companies were glad to sponsor Sandy, and I think meeting him helped make the connection.
So, can you do it? Can you get out of your comfort zone and mention the walk whenever someone asks what you’ve been doing lately, or what your plans are for the summer? Can you keep a few flyers handy for anyone you speak to who seems interested? Can you speak to potential donors about WHY you believe in and support this cause? If you can, then you can raise more than you ever thought you would.
A few things I did that anyone can do…
1) In conversation, when asked about summer plans, mention prepping for PIM.
2) Take your dog with you when you ask for support, or show a photo of your pets.
3) Have a flyer with the details on it, and give them out to everyone.
4) Ask businesses you frequent to support you and offer to promote them in exchange.
5) Make conversation at the dog park, on walks, at appointments and invite everyone to join your team.
Ten things I did to raise $1500… and you can too!
1) Decide not to be shy, and mention the walk whenever you’re asked what your plans are for the summer.
2) Share your reason for participating, whether you are walking in memory of a beloved pet, or have adopted a pet.
3) Have something tangible to give out always at hand, a flyer or business card with your donation website, the date and how to join your team, and distribute freely.
4) Bring your dog or a photo of your pet with you when asking for support. It is surprising how generous people are when they are petting an animal.
5) Follow-up on every contact because no reply doesn’t mean No. We are all busy and have big to-do lists.
6) Encourage everyone who may want to come along that last minute enrollment is not too late. Advise them of pre-registration and event morning registration.
7) Ask businesses you frequent to donate. Many companies are happy to support their regular customers’ charitable efforts. Putting the company’s logo on team shirts is simple to do with iron-on transfers and is a big motivator for the business.
8) If you receive a donation in memory of a beloved pet, offer to dedicate your walk to their memory. Wear their name on the sleeve of team shirts if possible.
9) Talk about the purpose of funds being raised. Fixing the problem of unwanted animals starts with controlling over-population with Spay & Neuter programs.
10) The month after the walk is a great time to give out thank-you’s with your total funds raised. Involving your donors in your achievement lays the foundation for next year’s event.