FUNDRAISING GUIDE

Read some examples below of how you can fundraise in your community to help support the Syrian Forum USA's programs!

 

 Emails & Letters to donors (See example)

Make a list of everyone you know and all the local organizations and companies who might be able to donate. This list can include your family, friends, neighbors, contacts, etc., but can also include people from other aspects of your life, such as your place of employment, school, place of worship, neighborhood groups, doctors, teachers—anyone you think may be able to help donate. Many local organizations or companies are eager to donate to causes, so think outside the box! *Tip: Some people you contact will be extremely supportive, sharing your enthusiasm and excitement, while others may not respond, but always remember, "if you don't ask, you won't receive."

Writing letters and emails to sponsors is one of the easiest and most effective fundraising strategies. Email is a free, and powerful way to reach a large number of potential sponsors. Emailing makes it easy for the people on your contact list to forward your message to others they know—in fact, it's a good idea to suggest this in the email. You can send emails or hand-written letters to friends and family, employers and work colleagues, clubs, places of worship, local banks, foundations and charitable organizations in your area.

Tools and Tips for Your Messages to Sponsors. Handwriting letters to potential donors can be effective, because it provides a personal touch. A formal letter may be best when soliciting clubs, churches or temples, local banks, foundations and charitable organizations in your area, or larger organizations like The Rotary, Lions and Elks Clubs, Junior League, Junior Chamber, and The United Way. We recommend that you personalize every letter that you write with the recipient's name.

Keep your emails and letters short and simple. Your letters and emails to donors should be no longer than one page. Too much information could overwhelm donors. Generally, people will be more likely to contribute when they are assured that it is a good cause and that you are committed to making a difference. *Tip: Always follow-up. It is important to get on the phone with small businesses, civic or religious groups, and your friends and relatives to let them know that you really do need their support. One follow-up call can make the difference between a person sending a check or forgetting about it.

Ask for a specific amount of money. When you say "contribution," some people are thinking $5, while others are thinking $500. Tell people how much you need, and let them know the total amount that you are hoping to fundraise.

Convey a sense of urgency to potential donors. This limits their time to forget about giving you a contribution. Give your donors a specific date by which to get back to you. Put this date in your donor request emails and letters and send them friendly reminders, with a note of how much closer you are to getting toward your goal.

Recognize donors. Always thank donors; they will appreciate the recognition and praise. Write a personalized thank you note to everyone who contributes.

Other Fundraising Ideas

Here are some fundraising ideas to help you network and leverage your connections in the community.

Reach out to local high schools, universities, or former school committees

Ask if you can hold a fundraiser such as a bake sale, and offer to give a presentation about the Syrian Forum USA.

Stop by local businesses, and former or current employers

Local businesses such as coffee shops and book stores may be more likely to make contributions than large corporations. You may want to approach the business with a letter first, enclosing information about the Syrian Forum USA and a pledge form, and then follow up with a phone call. One other possible idea is to seek the help of former or current employers.

Connect with local service clubs, places of worship, or religious groups

Service clubs such as Rotary, Kiwanis, Lions, and Optimists, fraternal organizations, such as Elk and Moose clubs, and religious groups are excellent sources for fundraising. The best course of action is to contact as many clubs in your area as possible and ask if you can give a presentation. Ask to speak for 15–20 minutes to present your request and explain what you will be doing. Remember, you are not asking for money for a vacation—you are asking for a contribution to make a difference for Syrians in need. After the meeting, write a follow-up letter thanking them for letting you speak and reiterating your request for contributions. Be realistic about the amount you are requesting and how it will be used.

House party or iftar (See sample invitation)

Organize an event at your house. Ask your neighbors to bring cakes and drinks. Give a presentation on the Syrian Forum USA and ask for donations. This type of event will be successful if it is tailored to local tastes.

Street collections

Collecting money in the street is another way of raising funds for Syrian Forum USA.

Possible venues could be at service stations, train stations, super markets, at football matches.

Some of these ideas will need local authority permission.

A bazaar/fair/exhibition

Money can be made by playing games and selling food and handmade or bargain goods.  Mosques and schools have favored this type of event for years.  Bazaars are often combined with jumble sales.

Sponsored events are another time-tested source of local funds. Almost anything can be sponsored.

  • Walks
  • Parachute Jumps
  • 5k, 10k, half-marathon or marathons
  • Mountain climbs
  • Charity cycle
  • Sponsored silence
  • Sponsored fast

E.g. A 24-hour fast is another strategy which may work particularly well if battling hunger is an issue that is being promoted.  Groups utilizing this strategy set a specific date for the fast well in advance, publicize it, and ask targeted sectors of the public to go without food on that day. The fasting event not only raises funds, but also helps to create empathy by giving the more fortunate an opportunity to experience what it feels like to be hungry. This experience often translates into additional donations.

The idea is to enlist volunteers to engage in an activity (fasting, walking, running, etc.) and to ask their friends, family and colleagues to “sponsor” them.

It may be necessary to obtain the permission of police (or other local authority) for walks or runs.

Speaker programs

In many towns and cities, people will pay to hear an interesting speaker or series of speakers.  Some groups rent a hall, or have one loaned, and solicit compelling speakers on subjects of interest.

Concerts/comedy shows

Ask well-known musicians/comedians to do a benefit concert, and then sell tickets to friends, family and the public-at-large. Advertising the concert as widely as possible will ensure sale of the greatest number of tickets.

Annual award or charity dinners

Syrian Forum USA dinners can be successful in a number of places.

Some of these have been initiated by us and others have been led by volunteer networks.

In schools

Ask your teacher if you could hold a bring-and-buy sale for your class, or even the whole school! Bring in your old toys and books to sell, and donate the profits to the Syrian Forum USA.

Host an auction

Reach out to friends, family, and local businesses to obtain items for auction. These could be anything from gift cards to a service provided to a fun trip experience.

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Sample messaging to include in your Iftar invitations:

If you're looking for a great cause to support this Ramadan, please consider Syrian Forum USA. (https://www.syrianforumusa.org) SFUSA strives to sustain, empower and rebuild Syrian lives by offering comprehensive services such as direct aid, job training, and policy advocacy. The SF does not employ Band-Aid solutions, but ones that heal and nurture, and that prepare Syrians for success; initiatives that live on long after the immediate crisis has subsided.

I will have a donation box/envelope at my iftar for anyone interested in contributing!

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Sample letter to send to friends:

As you may know, I volunteer with the Syrian Forum USA A systemic, sustainable, comprehensive, institutional response that comprises, and goes well beyond, direct humanitarian assistance, to include ways in which the Syrian people can help themselves rise up from the depths of tragedy and despair, and soar further up from there into sustainable security and prosperity. Syrians around the world, and indeed everyone with a keen conscience, are deeply hurt and enraged by what they're witnessing, but are also frustrated with a sense of desperation and helplessness.

We are looking to Ramadan to start raising money to fund programs in Syria and Turkey. You can be a part of that effort! If you are planning on hosting an iftar this Ramadan for your friends and family, we ask you to consider collecting donations for the Syrian Forum USA. This can be in whatever format you'd like. For example, you can include a small blurb and call to action in your Evite and then have a donation box set up at the Iftar. We can provide you with the support you might need to communicate the powerful work of the Syrian Forum USA.

If you want to learn more about Syrian Forum USA, visit our website (https://www.syrianforumusa.org)! Let me know if you are interested in participating in this effort to support a local organization doing big things!

Thanks and Ramadan Mubarak!