We recognize the challenge that you and your parents face raising the funds necessary to attend the Economic Forces in American History program. FTE fundraising staff members have put together resources to help you devise a fundraising strategy to raise funds to cover the cost of program fees and travel.
With the help of our step-by-step Fundraising Manual, you will able to formulate a fundraising plan to help reduce or eliminate the out of pocket cost to your family. The key to a successful fundraising plan is good organization, discipline, and a willingness to share aspirations: all characteristics that helped get you accepted into EFIAH!
We recommend fundraising platforms such as Go Fund Me or Generosity where you can easily set up your own personal fundraising website. The platform allows you to quickly reach out to family, friends, and other supporters through location, email, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media.
Guidelines to Online Fundraising
Personalize your fundraising page! Write a brief biography highlighting your background, accomplishments, interests, etc. If possible, include a photo of yourself on your website. Remember, not everyone who visits your page will know who you are (especially if your friends and relatives are forwarding your page to their contacts).
Set a reasonable fundraising goal. You want to give sponsors the sense that their support (regardless of size) will make a real impact on your fundraising goal. As such, you should consider setting your initial goal at $1,000 or less. Remember, you can always increase that amount (up to $1,600 for example) as you near your initial goal.
Reach out to your relatives and close family friends. Personal relationships matter in fundraising – those who know you the best are the most likely to contribute. Be sure to start with your family, especially your grandparents, aunts and uncles, adult cousins, etc. From there, look to long-time family friends. Remember, every sponsorship counts. Starting with your friends and family is a quick way to make progress toward your goal.
Leverage your extended network. Ask your friends and relatives to forward your fundraising page on to their email contacts. It takes very little effort on their part (no stamps, letters) and the returns could be significant.
Be strategic! Use your fundraising website as part of a larger fundraising plan. You should still plan to send letters, call prospective sponsors, send emails, etc. Don’t rely entirely on the website itself – you have to drive people to visit your site. Be sure to include your website address on all fundraising correspondence.
Be persistent and follow-up. Follow-up with all prospective sponsors. Also, send your sponsors (those who already contributed) an update on your fundraising efforts. They may increase their sponsorship or put you in touch with others who might sponsor you.
Thank your sponsors. You should thank a sponsor within 2 days of receiving their contribution. Yes, two days! Take the extra time to send a nice handwritten thank you note to all sponsors. A nice postcard sent from the program or a follow up letter after the program is another great way to recognize your sponsor again.
Do not use the term “tax-deductible” on your website. Sponsorships of individuals are not tax-deductible and your sponsor will not receive a tax write-off for their sponsorship.
Never include sensitive personal information (telephone numbers, home address, etc.) on your website. Remember, your site can be accessed by anyone.
Do not use inappropriate language or photos on your website. Your site should convey a serious and positive message to your sponsors along with your excitement about being chosen for this unique opportunity.