By: Shoshana D. Kerewsky, Board President
Donors and volunteers are the heart of any non-profit organization. Like many non-profits of its size, Friendship with Cambodia has a donor base that is overwhelmingly made up of individuals and families, not corporate sponsors. Whether you make financial donations, give gifts in kind, sponsor a student, or volunteer for FWC, we thank you for your generous contributions. You already know the many ways your donations help the people of Cambodia. You’re also aware that the need is ongoing, which means that we will always be asking for your support.
Whether you’re a one-time donor or contribute more regularly, that money has to come from somewhere. Below are some ideas and to help you think bigger than just your own pocket. A little creativity can go a long way to increase your support for FWC. Here are some ways to get started.
Basic contributions and sponsorship: First, here’s a recap of ways you can support FWC’s programs in Cambodia. Information about all of these options is available on our website.
- Sponsor a student. This is rewarding for the donor and essential for the student.
- Take our tour in Cambodia. After you take our socially responsible tour, you may never look at vacations the same way again!
- Make an unrestricted donation. This lets us put the money where we need it most, including unglamorous but necessary expenses such as paying our small staff and buying copy paper, as well as providing a fund that can be distributed to projects as needed.
- Buy a copy of Responsible Travel Guide Cambodia. More than a tour book, it will give you a good picture of Cambodia and why your donations are so important. Your review or Facebook post online helps bring Friendship to a wider audience as well.
- Buy crafts at our sales and house parties. The crafts are beautiful and their sale helps support programs for vulnerable people in Cambodia.
Creative fundraising: Have fun while raising awareness of the issues facing Cambodians today. Here are some of the ways I’ve collected money to donate to Friendship:
- Collect returnable cans. Those deposits add up. To get there faster, ask your neighbors if you can have their cans for a worthy cause.
- Sell old paperbacks to a used bookstore. $15 isn’t a lot for us, but it can make a big difference in a country where the average income is about $1 a day.
- Distribute copies of our travel guide to libraries and potential donors. At my request, my friends and family have bought and donated a number of copies.
- Have a yard sale. Or donate what you make at one vent selling your hand-made jewelry, notepaper, or scarves.
Ask family and friends to contribute. Most of us are uncomfortable asking people we know to donate to our favorite causes. A few years ago, I started adding “donation to FWC” when people asked what I’d like for my birthday or holidays. After doing this a few times in a row, I no longer have to ask. Many of my family and friends now automatically make donations. In fact, I often don’t even know that this has happened—while signing donor thank-you letters in the office recently, I was startled to see that both my mother and stepfather had donated without telling me! When I recently turned 50, I asked people to make a donation up to $50 in lieu of a gift. Over $300 was donated. That’s a pretty good birthday present.
Big fundraising: If you’d like to be ambitious, here are some ideas for fundraising on a bigger scale.
- Make it personal. The last sections of Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn’s book Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide discusses strategies for effective fundraising, such as focusing on people rather than statistics. We can provide you with photos and stories to supplement your efforts.
- Don’t reinvent the wheel. There are many sources of information on fundraising. Take a look at these widely available articles online:
- “The Ten Most Important Things You Can Know about Fundraising” by Kim Klein: http://www.animalliberationfront.com/Practical/Shop–ToDo/Activism/FundraisingTips.htm. This article presents some philosophical and pragmatic standards for fundraising that may help you become more comfortable asking other people to donate.
- “Fifty-Three Ways for Board Members to Raise $1000” by Kim Klein: http://www.walkoaklandbikeoakland.org/downloads/53ways.pdf
- A practical guide intended for board members that may give you some ideas about activities that are a good match for you.
- My students challenge you! Take a look at “FHS Professional Issues II Students Raise $6573.56” at http://education.uoregon.edu/feature.htm?id=2825 to see how students in an undergraduate class raised $6,573.56in donations in about 5 weeks. One group made over $1000 profit in a few hours by reselling Krispy Kreme donuts in an area that doesn’t have a franchise. Think what you could do over a year!
Are you ready to get out there and share your enthusiasm with others? If you’ve had a successful event, raised funds creatively, or directed people to our donation page, please drop us a note so we can thank you. If you’d like to do something but aren’t sure what, contact us. We have a pretty good sense of what has worked in the past and can help you refine your plans. Thanks in advance for your commitment and energy!
Dr. Shoshana Kerewsky is Academic Coordinator of the Substance Abuse Prevention Program and on the faculty of the Counseling Psychology and Human Service Department at the University of Oregon.