As an individual who wishes for all charitable causes to simply shut down and the need for them to disappear (wishful thinking), we unfortunately continue to find ourselves with the need to assists in new causes, start new organizations and find the correct way to fund them. Founding and supporting a charity is difficult but there are ways with which to make it easier. There is an abundance of worthwhile causes in this world, and meeting the individuals who are either suffering from or fighting for the same thing often empower us as individuals to get behind them -- whether it's financially or through action. People choose to donate their money to philanthropic causes for various reasons. Some of which include, feeling a sense of responsibility to help their communities, meeting people with similar interests, having strong religious beliefs, taking advantage of certain significant tax breaks allowable for charitable contributions or simply enjoying a sense of personal satisfaction through a rewarding experience. As Yoko Ono said "There is an incredible joy in giving".
With all that being said, there comes a hard part -- marketing your charity. Many founders, organizers and other leaders find that without constant reason, it is quite difficult to solicit money, services and support on an ongoing basis from those who have already contributed, or who may not yet have heard about your cause.
There are four tips that I have found to be invaluable for supporting and marketing charities without "overdoing it" and turning off potential donors and volunteers:
1.Events, events, events.Asking for donations is much easier when event attendance can be offered. A 5K or Triathlon, bake sale, poker or sports tournament, and other fun events are what get people to turn out in droves. Give folks a venue to showcase their competitive spirit or provide them with a goal to accomplish (such as training for a 5K) and they often get behind with great enthusiasm. What's more, they often seek people to donate or participate with them or on their behalf, leading to greater awareness surrounding the charity and its goals and objectives.
2. Support other charities. Mutual respect, collaboration, and networking between those who share philanthropic visions, often results in increased visibility for charities. We are all making charitable efforts for the same common goal of the greater good and improving this world (or so I think). If you can lend people, resources, or even donate money to other charities, don't be surprised when the same efforts are reciprocated with your cause, or at an event you are sponsoring.
3. Don't be afraid to ask. As many in the business world know, asking is the best way to receive. Make sure there is a "Donate Now" button on your website, ensure that each e-mail blast goes out with an entry for donations at the bottom. For those who have donated in the past, make sure there is an opportunity to donate in the future. Don't be shy. Utilize your personal and professional business networks to introduce people to the charity you associate with, seek donations, support and volunteerism. When done in moderation, there is absolutely no shame in asking for support, especially when it's going to a good cause. You'll find that most people in your life are happy to get involved, and even more thrilled to introduce others to the cause and watch their efforts grow. Anyone who has successfully raised charitable funds in the past knows the amazing feeling of putting that money to work.
4. Show the result. Were you able to build a new playground for underprivileged youth? Do you have photos of the countless homeless and hungry people your soup drive was able to feed on a cold winter night? Were lives saved from substance abuse awareness and prevention? These case studies need to be shared, especially with those who have donated. It is an emotional and uplifting feeling to know that your efforts, even just for an afternoon or a few clicks of a mouse, resulted in another humans life improved. By sharing these results through social media, on the organizations website, in a brochure, via PR and outreach to the media you showcase the difference your charity has made and encourage others to do the same.