• Noah Maier

Raise a Thousand Dollars Quickly

Raising a Thousand Dollars

Every journey starts with a single step. You probably want to raise much more than a thousand, but raising a thousand dollars teaches you the basics of the process. The process of raising $100M is not that different. Until they find something more efficient, this process relies on phone calls – the backbone of any fast fundraising operation. One quick note -- although this guide is a quick step-by-step, it's not easy. Make sure your cause is worth the pain.

Get a List of Names

Start by making a list of people you know. You'll want to brainstorm a bunch of names; a couple hundred is a good start. If you get stuck, you can use your phone contacts for inspiration.

Sort them

Now that you have your list of names (your "prospects") put them in a spreadsheet across three columns. Column A should be called First Name; Column B should be called Last Name, Column C should be called Ask Amount.

Ask amount? That's right; you are assigning dollar amounts to your friends. It might feel weird, but it's essential. You can't budget on names alone, and people give much more when you set the amount for them. Incidentally, this is the first step where you might experience the natural vulnerability and insecurity of fundraising.

What amount should I assign?

Very few people want to reduce their friends to a number. What if you don't know what to ask? Go with your gut; you'll usually be right. You know your friends better than you think you do. Most people raise in intervals of $50, $100, $250, or $500. If you need a lifeline, .05% of their salary is a safe bet.

What's next?

Now you have your names and dollar amounts. Add up the total of the dollar amount column and multiply it by 60%. That's a rough estimate of what is coming in. If it's less than a thousand dollars, don't worry about changing amounts – add more names. If you need to, export your phone or email contacts. Look at social media or school directories.

How should you contact them?

As I mentioned above, we're going to use phone calls. Start by blocking off time to make phone calls in your calendar. That scheduled time is called "calltime," and it's essential to keep it sacred. Don't schedule on top of it.

Next, write a script. It can be very brief – What you're doing, whom it helps, and how the contribution makes an impact. You'll ask the prospect for the specific dollar amount you assigned earlier.

Roughly 20% of people pick up the phone, and about half say yes. Unassisted, most people can make 20-30 call attempts in an hour, so schedule your calls accordingly. Depending on your list and your schedule, you might be able to get to your $1k goal in an hour. It also might take you a couple of months.

If they say yes

If they do say yes, you'll want to be prepared to accept a credit card (usually a website, Venmo, or GoFundMe). Have an address ready for a check. After they say yes, you'll want to make sure they have all the information right away. Send them an email and a text message with any necessary information on how to donate. After their gift comes in, a thank you note is always a nice gesture.

If you need to leave a voicemail

Leave your voicemail, and also send a text and an email when you can. Call back every three days. Don't leave more than four voicemails in a row.

That's it!

Rinse, wash, repeat. You'll have your thousand dollars in no time.

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