During tough economic times, it isn’t easy for nonprofits to raise money. That is why we are lucky to have volunteers like Christine Cook. Christine raised over $2,000 for HEART by simply calling and emailing local businesses. We asked Christine to tell us a little more about what she did and share her tips for fundraising.
Q: Why did you start volunteering with HEART?
It had been a few years since I had done any volunteer work and I was ready to get back into it. A friend of mine, Kristina Hulvershorn, worked with HEART when it came to Chicago. Now she’s at HEART-Indy. I also had some friends who volunteered with HEART. I had heard so many good things about the work they were doing. I knew I wanted to get involved in some way. Humane education is so important. HEART’s work is critical to the compassionate world I envision for our future.
Q: You helped raise a lot of money for HEART. How did you do it?
I asked two small businesses in our neighborhood in Chicago, called Newleaf Natural Grocery and The Common Cup, to support HEART through their “tip cup” donation programs. I noticed these businesses were collecting money on a monthly basis for non-profits. So I asked if HEART could be one of their beneficiaries. Fortunately, they said yes. I also noticed that a restaurant called Hamburger Mary’s had a bingo night, where they donated the money from the event to charity. After a few email conversations and phone calls to the manager there, I was able to secure HEART as a beneficiary for one of their bingo nights.
Q: Got any fundraising tips for people reading the blog?
Asking for donations is easy when I believe the money is supporting a worthy cause. I suggest picking a cause that is close to your heart (I hear HEART gently whispering, “Pick me! Pick me!”). Then, start small. Ask local businesses or friends and family to help out. Once you get your feet wet, you will learn that people generally want to help. And if at first you don’t succeed, try again…in fundraising terms that means, ask again. Sometimes people just need friendly reminders. They mean to donate, but forget. Lastly, know your cause well, so you can answer any questions a potential donor may have.
Q: What other projects are you working on?
This year I took on my biggest fundraising project ever. As part of my yoga practice (Seva, which means service in Sanskrit) and in collaboration with Off the Mat, Into the World, I’m raising money for the Ecuadorian Amazon and its people, both of which are being threatened by deforestation and oil production. Through donations and a yoga benefit class called One Love Chicago, I am committed to raising $20,000 in 2013. It’s going to be an amazing 108 sun salutations class taught by 12 inspiring yoga teachers. For all the yogis out there, you can learn more at onelovechicago.org.
We are wishing Christine the best of luck raising money with her yoga class! At HEART, we are lucky to have so many talented volunteers who bring their skills and interests to help our organization. If you’re interested in becoming a volunteer, please send us an email at (firstname.lastname@example.org).