FUNDRAISING FOR FREEDOM
FREEDOM ISN’T FREE by DAVID HOYT
Finding money for your Young Americans for Liberty chapter can unlock many new possibilities and take your activism to the next level. Every member can do the techniques described here. Fundraising for your YAL chapter is valuable professional experience and a great resume builder.
The best place to start is your school. The office of student life often has funds available for groups just like yours. Once you get the ball rolling there, you can move on to the more advanced techniques described below.
Some liberty lovers might philosophically object to using university funds, but think of it this way: Either your chapter receives these allocated resources, or another statist group will use the money to advance their big government agenda on your campus.
Unless you have the power to eliminate student fees completely, take advantage of your student funds. This is your foremost resource for money.
Keep in mind that it may take months to get funding from the school. In the mean time, you should employ this direct solicitation plan.
Your single best source of funding is your personal network. The reason your friends and family will give to your project has less to do with the specifics of your chapter and more to do with the fact that they know you. You are leveraging your personal relationships.
Before you begin, think about your project like a potential donor. If you were in their shoes, would you donate to your cause? Of course you would. Be confident in yourself and your project. Know that this cause is worthy of anyone’s support.
Below is a tried and true technique. It is the first step for any serious candidate for public office or organization founder. And it’s never too early to hone your networking abilities.
This is the science of tapping the immediate resources available to you: the people you know.
10 ESSENTIAL STEPS FOR FUNDRAISING
- List everyone you know: Get out a piece of paper and write down the names of your friends, your friends’ parents, your parents, your parents’ friends, aunts and uncles, grandparents, former employers, Boy Scout leaders, coaches, church members, civics organization leaders, teachers and anyone who has mentored you, and anyone else you can think of that has more than zero dollars in their bank account. Do not avoid people who disagree with you politically. Remember the reason they give is not always because of your cause, but because it’s you. These people are your prospects.
- Write down each prospect’s phone number: Yes, your friends and acquaintances are now prospective donors. If you do not have their phone numbers you can look up their place of work online, ask other people who know them, and use sites like zabasearch, pipl, whitepages, etc.
- Write down the amount of money you think each prospect could reasonably give if they were properly motivated: If you are having a hard time coming up with an amount, estimate how much you think they spend going out to dinner in a given month and multiply that number by three. Now take that number and double it — Yes, double it. Write down twice as much as you believe that person can reasonably give. That number is your ask amount.
- Create a call script: You can find plenty of good information on effective call scripts with a simple Google search. The most important thing to remember is to ask for a specific amount of money, for a specific project, to accomplish a demonstrable result. It should also be as brief as possible. You have a lot of calls to make, and people are often busy, so do not waste time. But be careful not to sound hurried on the phone. You want to maintain control of the conversation.
- Ask each prospect for the amount you came up with in step 3: Do not hint at your need for money; ask directly, as in “that’s why I am asking for your support of five hundred dollars.” End your ask with the exact amount. Now, do not say anything. They must speak next. That is the key. No matter how long and awkward it becomes, just wait.
- If they say no, politely follow up and ask for your original amount: If they say no again, say “I understand,” repeat their objection back to them (if they give one). Then tell them that any amount can make a big difference and ask if there is an amount that would work for them.
- If the final answer is no, thank them anyway: A “thank you” costs you nothing; it is good manners, and it is a verbal recognition of your gratefulness. Be very generous with “thank yous”. They might yet donate in the future.
- If the final answer is a “yes” or a “maybe”: Immediately thank them. “I have to think about it” and “I have to talk to my spouse” means maybe, so thank them, and tell them you will send something in the mail to receive their donation right away. Or if you can process a credit card online, take their donation over the phone.
- Mail them a letter with a stamped return envelope and a reply device – The reply device is a one page form you will create, to include all the information the prospect needs to send you a donation. Items should include the address to mail the donation to, the amount they pledged to give, whom to make the check out to, and any other relevant information. You should have a bank account for your group if you are going to take donations.
- When donations come in, thank your donors right away: Send them a hand-written thank you letter as quickly as you can so they know you received their donation, and appreciate it fully. Moving forward, always send them updates, pictures, thank you letters, and any other proof of the return on their investment in you.
IF YOU NEVER ASK, YOU’LL NEVER HAVE FUNDS
Make sure to plan ahead for the questions your prospects may have. They may want to know how much you have raised so far, exactly how it will be spent, or your own political philosophy.
I strongly recommend you role play with another YAL member or friend before you start making real calls. You want to be confident in your script, your ask, and be prepared for questions.
The only secret to being successful with this technique is to sit down and get it done.
The main reason people give is because they were asked. People do not necessarily want to give away their money, but people who know you do not want to tell you “no” and discourage you. That fact is your biggest asset.
If you make enough calls with genuine enthusiasm for your project, you will find generous people willing to help you out. Forge a relationship with them and stay in touch. You can achieve great things in partnership with the right people.
A YOUNG GUN’S GUIDE TO SEEKING OFFICE
RUNNING YOUNG, AND RUNNING TO WIN by TOM MURRY
Political science aside, running for public office is an ambition some Americans have. However, many of us don’t know where to start.
Plus, the younger you are, the larger the obstacles likely become – e.g. school, work, family, student loans, experience, etc.
The good news is that running for office while young is possible. I should know, I both ran and won young, and you can too.
In the next issue of YAL’s Winning on Principle Newsletter, Councilman Tom Murry shows us that age is NOT the greatest barrier to seeking office, but that campaign dynamics, voter outreach, and voter mobilization are.