Coming out as an Abortion Fundraiser
by Lilith Fund board member Sarah
Supporting the idea of abortion access is one thing. But asking friends to write a check to fund abortion? That feels like a pretty big step. As if talking about abortion wasn’t already one of the top three socially awkward topics of all time – now you want to talk about money? Asking for money from friends is hard even with the most adorable causes (Puppies! DOESN’T EVERYONE LOVE PUPPIES?! Send Money!) But abortion… well that is a whole other cup of tea. As one of my close friends said “I’m *fine* with the idea of abortion…but I’m really not comfortable writing a check…”
Here are the steps I use to raise money, not go crazy, and not alienate *too* many people (and if this alienates them, it probably wasn’t meant to be….)
1) Get your brave on. Usually I start with my core group of progressive loonies. You know who you are. The ones who leap out of their seats to help. They might not have ever heard about an abortion fund before, but they’ll always hit the picket line with you. They might only be able to give $5, but they’ll give. This step builds a bit of your confidence, and lets you find your money-raising sea legs. Write a note from your heart – Why is it that you’re raising money for the Lilith Fund? Is it because you think that everyone deserves the right to make choices about their bodies? Maybe you or a close friend had an experience you want to share. Or maybe because you’re sick and tired of the slut-shaming.
2) You’ve raised some money! It is intoxicating! Take that momentum and go to town. Feeling super brave? Post on facebook or twitter. (I call this a filtering post. This is where all those far right acquaintances from elementary school unfriend me. 😀 Whoops.) Write a quick paragraph about why you’re bowling for abortion. If a public post seems too terrifying, target a slightly larger circle from your core group. Old friends from college, people who you *suspect* might be supportive and probably won’t actively yell at you. Make the circle a little bigger than is comfortable and give people a chance to surprise you. They will. It is astounding. One of my biggest donors this year was an old acquaintance from graduate school who I never would have targeted. He saw my facebook page, and gave. Those surprises are the best.
3) Here comes the hard part. Follow up. I KNOW. Isn’t that horrifying? Not only have you asked for money? YOU SHOULD ASK AGAIN. You know those endless emails you get from whatever group you signed a petition for that one time? You know why they send them? Because it works. Even if only one or two people follow up. You might have just caught someone sitting with their wallet open for something else. Or they meant to give the first time, but the baby cried and they got distracted. Give everyone another chance.
4) Celebrate your awesomeness. Remember that every dollar you raise makes a big difference for the Lilith Fund, and for our clients. Do a little dance. You did great
5) Say thank you. You know your friends, so figure out how and when you want to thank them. Write a note, drop them an email, throw a party. Let them know how fantastic it feels to support a good cause.
Thanks to all of you for raising money. Thanks to your hard work we’ve raised even more money than last year – money that goes directly to helping clients on our hotline every week.