What You Can Learn from Howard Freeman: Live Below the Line’s #1 Fundraiser

Live Below the Line is both an annual fundraising campaign to fight extreme poverty and a physical challenge for its participants. The challenge?

Live on less than $1.25 each day, for five days.

Granted, most participants in the US couldn’t adhere strictly to this challenge without leaving their homes on Sunday night with $6.25 in their pocket, and not coming home until Friday, but the message the participants spread from home was effective nonetheless. And no one was more effective than Howard Freeman, who raised more funds than any other participant.

Here are a few highlights from his tips for tapping your network and making the most of your personal fundraising efforts (posts found here and here):

  • Don’t be afraid to ask. Well, duh! This is old news for fundraising pros, but it bears repeating for shy newcomers to a particular cause. Some people may be irritated by your request, many will simply ignore it, but others will be happy you asked, and will actually enjoy being invited to support a worthy cause. You may wind up with a stronger network, at the end of the day. The community that does good together, stays together.
  • Commit. Don’t ask for support, and then disappear.  Send out follow-up messages.  Get on your org’s mailing list. Attend events. Like their page on Facebook. Go streaking with a logo painted on your back.  Do anything that helps you get deeper into the mission! The more emotionally connected you are, the more powerful, authentic, and creative your fundraising efforts will be. Here are seven fundraising habits that you can follow.
  • Reconnect with supporters. When someone donates, send him or her a thank you note.  When someone complains, address his or her concerns politely. Keep the conversation going.
  • Bring the campaign to life. Blog about progress, send message updates, make videos for YouTube, and invite people to share media or accompany you places. Make the campaign come to life, and you’ll inspire a few others not just to send in some money, but to get deeply involved as well. If you motivate others to carry the torch, your impact will be exponential. And when it comes to fundraising, exponential is good. Very good.

Good luck with your online fundraising campaign. Let us know if you have more tips to add!

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