LETTER FROM FORMER TEAM LEADERS
The Browand Family
Taking the leap to become team leaders for the BLOCK Project was one of the best decisions we’ve ever made. We are not fundraisers by training or experience so we relied on our individual talents, gifts, and resources to raise the money to fully fund one BLOCK Home. We had come face to face with the stark reality of homelessness through our volunteer work and knew that our efforts to fundraise for a BLOCK Home would help transform someone else’s life just like coming closer to people living outside has transformed ours.
Getting Started: The freedom to tackle the fundraising goal in ways that spoke to us and involved our friends and family was liberating. We started by devising a clear plan and approximate time table, forming an exhaustive list of potential donors, and familiarizing ourselves with the resources we would use to educate others about the BLOCK Project.
These preliminary efforts laid the groundwork for us to be able to reach out directly to potential donors to educate them about the organization and the BLOCK Project.We employed multiple fundraising strategies that were a good fit for our family and community of donors including:
Kick-off Party: First, we hosted a kick-off party at our house for about 20 friends. We targeted the invitations for this event to friends we knew were already interested in the cause and we thought would give generously. We raised over 25% of our total goal at that first house party. It was the perfect way to kick off our campaign!
Direct Mail Campaign: After the kick-off party we sent a large scale mailer to an exhaustive list of over 150 donors. This mailer included a professionally printed booklet about the BLOCK Project, a fundraising letter, and a return envelope for people who wanted to pay via check. The mailers were sent the week after the kick-off event and then we followed up with e-mail and a second mailer. This strategy was hugely successful! Nearly $18,000, more than half of our total fundraising goal, was raised from individuals who received this mailer.
Think Outside the Box: At times, the amount of money we were trying to raise seemed overwhelming. But, when we looked at it in smaller chunks and through different lenses we were able to tackle it bit by bit. We encourage you to do the same. For example, a friend of ours in a folk music group offered to help raise money for our BLOCK Home via a benefit concert. We raised $675 in one night alone! We planned ahead for donors we knew had eligible corporate matching gifts and assisted when needed to secure these funds. Corporate matching gifts totaled nearly $5,000 of our donations. Our children also participated in the fundraising by each establishing an online campaign, writing fundraising letters, and asking for donations from teachers, coaches, and friends’ families. The two of them combined to raise nearly $1,000. All of these smaller efforts combined to raise a significant amount of our total goal. It all adds up!
These methods of raising the money to fund one BLOCK Home worked for us, but it may not be the way that best suits you or your gifts. Questions to ask while you are developing your fundraising plan include: What talents do you possess? What resources are at your disposal? Who’s in your network that can help? The beauty of this fundraising is that you can tailor your efforts to what works best for you!