This year, we have a new tool to help our members create their own fundraisers for the Together Women Rise annual appeal. Several chapter leaders and members have already set up their fundraisers, including Debra Berman, our Central Regional Leader. We recently spoke with Debra about the individual fundraiser she set up using this new tool.
Why did you decide to create an annual appeal fundraiser? Initially I wasn’t so sure I wanted to do this, actually. I was a little concerned it might feel a little intrusive. But then I read more about the annual appeal and understood more fully how important it was for the overall efforts of the organization. I didn’t realize quite a substantial chunk of our funds come from the annual appeal. So, it really stuck out to me that this was vitally important. I also remembered what our new CEO, Beverley Francis-Gibson, recently said: “Together Women Rise is the best kept secret”. Creating a fundraising page not only helps us gain contributions for the annual appeal, it also makes more people aware of us.
How did you personalize your page? There were a lot of ways to personalize my page, including changing the picture and title. I ended up writing a special tagline and description for my fundraiser page to reflect what I believe and why I support Together Women Rise. I wanted the message to come from me. I didn’t want it to feel canned or insincere.
How have you been successful in sharing the fundraiser with friends and family? It was really easy to connect the link of the page to social media platforms like Facebook. But I also recognized that not everyone I know uses Facebook. So, I did several other things as well. I sent the Facebook link to all my friends and family via text message so the link was right there on their phone. For people not so technical at all, I talked to them on the phone and, if they said they wanted to make a donation, I helped them through that process. There are a few more people I’ll send my fundraiser to as we get closer to the goal. I’m also having company for Thanksgiving which will be a great opportunity to share this information with them.
How did you decide who to send your fundraising page to? I had to remember that no one I know is going to think poorly of me for asking, so I cast a wide net. If they did say they were going to donate, I immediately sent a thank you. I sent it to friends, family, some former co-workers. I sent it to people I knew would be sympathetic to the cause. For example, I sent the page to a group of friends of mine who had traveled, because they had some experience of seeing that everybody in the world is not the same – that there are unique challenges that women and girls face in other countries.
What is your best piece of advice for someone who hasn’t yet set up a fundraiser? My best piece of advice is that you have nothing to lose. We have no problem telling people how much we love this organization and the great work that we do. It’s not really any different. I wouldn’t hesitate putting a little blurb up about how amazing Together Women Rise is, and the fundraising is just an extra part of that. Think about it in terms of spreading the word about the organization. Every dollar does make a difference.