How to Raise Money From Your Friends

One of the most effective ways to raise funds is to ask your network of friends, coworkers, classmates, family, or anybody that you have a connection with! Here’s a resource on how to do that effectively.

The most important thing to understand is that people donate because it is a fulfilling way to live out their values and they get a good feeling when they do it! They are not doing you a favor, you are not asking them to give their money when they want to keep their money, and you are not begging. You are connecting with their generosity and giving them an opportunity to enact their values.

Make a goal for yourself. It’s good to have a specific amount in mind to shoot for. Try to think about what would be challenging but possible.

Then, reflect internally about CTUL and your passion in the work. After that reflection, make a gift according to your ability and your commitment. This donation may be $5, it may be $5,000 depending on your individual circumstances.

The three essential attributes of a potential donor are ability, belief, and connection
ABC’s of identifying prospects

Now think about who you might ask to contribute. Here are the ABC’s that you need to make an ask:

  • Ability – the person you ask needs to have the financial capacity to give in the range that you are asking for
  • Belief – the person you ask must believe in the cause of organizing low income workers
  • Connection – they must have a relationship with you

All three criteria are essential! Here are the four steps to ask for a donation

  1. Go through your contact list and note the names of people that you will ask. Look at all of your lists and see how the ABC’s apply to them. Determine how much you will ask from each person. You’ll receive perhaps a third or half of what you ask for, so budget accordingly. If your goal is to raise $2,000, you’ll want to ask for around $5,000.
  2. The second step is to figure out your pitch. Look at the organization from the perspective of the person that you’re asking: what is their connection to organizing low income organizing? What are their values that overlap with CTUL’s? Donors want to feel positive emotions while giving, so engage with them emotionally. What is meaningful for them to be generous? Read about CTUL’s Raise Worker Voice campaign to get more familiar with our work.
  3. Make the ask. The more personal, the better! Make a one on one meeting if you can. If not, a phone call appointment. If not, a direct email or message. 
  4. Thank your donor. Remind them about how the donation fits with their values and express your gratitude. Hand written thank you notes and phone calls work best. Again, the more direct, the better.

Remember that there are many reasons that are far out of your control that would prevent somebody from donating — they are traveling at the moment, they lost their job, they recently gave to another organization. None of these things are bad! When you get a no, move on to the next person.

Key Resources