JLCU Recap: Gift is not a Four Letter Word

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Fundraising: it’s a daunting task for some of us and an integral part of what keeps the Junior League running. Wednesday night Junior League of Chicago (JLC) Associates in the Burton Class were treated to an educational presentation on the fundamentals of fundraising for the JLC and other philanthropic endeavors, presented by League member Erika Lowe. As members we meet fundraising goals through a variety of ways—soliciting donations, donating the annual fund, working volunteer shifts, and attending League events. So how do we become more comfortable in the role of fundraiser? Here are some general facts about fundraising and some tips for getting donations to promote the JLC that were given at the meeting.
First and foremost, know the goal of fundraising. As JLC members we are more familiar with the idea of philanthropy, as we donate our time and support to the League because we believe in its values and its mission. This is extremely important, because without the support of members the JLC wouldn’t have the woman-power to carry out community projects. Yet, these community projects such as the JLC’s partnership with the Women’s Treatment Center or programs like Kids in the Kitchen can’t be successful without funding. This is where fundraising becomes necessary. The goal of fundraising is to raise a monetary donation for a cause.
People often feel uncomfortable when it comes to asking for monetary donations, but as Erika stated in her presentation, “The number one reason people don’t give, is because they aren’t asked.” So, how do you ask? The JLC has a handout that can be found on the website and at headquarters, but to summarize: know our mission and make it personal. The elevator speech is as follows:

For generations, the Junior League of Chicago has inspired women from diverse backgrounds to become leading catalysts for change. We believe that by empowering women, we strengthen all of Chicago. Through our legacy of trusted volunteerism, we empower women to engage in thoughtful collaborations that share a common purpose: to support women and children in the Chicagoland community.

Knowing the mission is important, but it is also generic. When talking with donors provide them with an anecdote as to how the League has impacted you or how your work with the League has impacted others. Be specific and be sincere. When asking for a donation ask for a specific amount. If a potential donor says no, ask if it is the amount or the timing. For the most part members will be soliciting friends, family and employers for donations to the Annual Fund or an event depending on your committee placement, so it’s important to be flexible when it comes to the amount. Small gifts add up to large amounts (remember that in your giving as well)!
Events are also good fundraising opportunities, because they help to spread the mission of the JLC. For members, there is the added benefit that it’s a great time to socialize with each other. It’s also an excellent opportunity to introduce other women to the JLC community! Remember, when selling tickets to events that a portion of the cost of admittance goes toward the overhead for the event. This is especially important if you or a donor wishes to write off the ticket price for tax purposes, because only part of the ticket price will be considered a charitable donation.
If you are able to secure a contribution or sell a ticket to an event always be gracious and thankful. Best of luck in future fundraising!

 

By Kaitlin Hasenbeck-Meyer, 2015-16 Topics and Trends staff member

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