Saturday afternoon: Grassroots fundraising

By Jenna Lowenstein, Interactive Media Coordinator, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

I’m sitting in a session this afternoon led by the Task Force’s Trina Olson and Moof Mayeda on the power of grassroots fundraising. The session is preparation for Sunday morning, when all the Power Smmit attendees will be calling their friends and families to raise real money for the causes of their choice.

Trina and Moof coach the ABCs of grassroots fundraising.

Participants divided into groups based on the length of their contact lists. How many friends and family members had they identified to call on Sunday morning? Some had lists of more than 50, others were starting from scratch. By the end of the session, everyone’s list changed, as they added, pruned and edited the list to only include those closest to the participants.

Power Summit participants work to develop their lists and pitches.

One of the parts of the training I found most interesting was when Trina and Moof gave people new ways to think about developing their lists. Rather than calling folks that participants thought had money, they should be developing lists based on questions like: “Who would you stay with if you had a fire? Who would you invite to your birthday party? Who’s on your speed dial?”

The session ended with people practicing their new skills to shake off their nerves. Everyone was asked to make five dials, and try to have at least one conversation. The practice was obviously emotional. People paced the room shaking out their nerves, laughed uncomfortably as they had awkward moments, and even cried, as they were surprised by their friends’ generosity and willingness to give.

Mike got a $173 donation for EQCA from his best friend on his first call.

In the end, with 40 people dialing for 10 minutes each, we raised $3,464! The anticipation for tomorrow morning evaporated as folks celebrated each individual victory — every $10, $85, $173, or $36 dollars that came in.