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Thank you to our supporters

Thank you for standing for Texans’ reproductive rights last night. In case you haven’t heard the news, Senate Bill 5, the harmful omnibus abortion bill, failed to pass.

This was an important night for reproductive rights in Texas. We appreciate everyone who joined us in orange at the Capitol, posted on social media or followed along.

Thank you, too, to our donors. Since the start of Senator Wendy Davis’s history-making filibuster at 11:18 a.m. yesterday, your generosity has stunned us. Contributions poured in from 98 donors from around the world – nine of you signed up as new sustaining monthly donors.

We are so glad you value the Lilith Fund’s work to remove barriers to reproductive access. Thank you for partnering with us and standing with Texas women and anyone who needs a safe, legal abortion in our state.

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Guest Post: Top Tips for Shaking People Down for the Cause

Andrea Greer is one of our top Houston fundraisers and blogs at nonsequiteuse. She wrote a helpful list to help bowlers reach, and exceed their goals.  She allowed us to cross-post this from her blog.

Thanks to the internet, we’re all fundraisers now. How can you stand out and make sure you bring in the big bucks?

Sisterhood Bowls Well

Here are some of the things I kept in mind while I rolled past my fundraising goal for this year’s Lilith Fund Bowl-a-Thon:

1. Give the first gift.
If you don’t believe in what you are doing enough to put your own cash on the line, why should anyone else? Not everyone likes to go first, and people are more likely to give once the pump has been primed, so put your money down at the start.

2. It’s about joy.
If you’re doing this for a cause, you are offering people the chance to invest in something they will enjoy supporting. They might believe in the cause and take joy in advancing it. They might believe in YOU, take joy in supporting you, and care nothing about the cause. Remember, you aren’t forcing someone to do something they don’t want to do. You’re creating an opportunity for them to feel great about taking part in something larger than themselves. Don’t be shy about creating opportunities for joy!

3. Ask early and often.
If you are using passive measures, like Facebook and Twitter posts, make sure you post often enough, and early enough, that people who check in at different times of day or on different days will see your messages. (If you wait until the last minute,  signal to people that you’re only going to be blanketing the airwaves only for the next 48 hours. Tell them you’ll stop posting and pinging once you hit your goal.)

4. Make’m say no to your face.
It is easy to ignore someone’s Facebook status. You can throw away a letter that comes in the mail. It is harder, however, to say no to someone when they call you on the phone to ask for help. And it is really hard to say no to someone’s face. If you are striking out in your passive asks and mass appeals, try asking people one on one. It may be hard, but you believe in what you are doing, right?

5. Don’t take no personally.
Well, I guess you can take it personally if someone says they would have given except for the fact that it is you asking. But otherwise, remember, it isn’t about you. The timing may not be right, or the cause may not be one that interests the person. Some highly organized people have a budget and stick to it, so they can’t accommodate your request.

6. Offer incentives IF you can do so without creating havoc.
Heed the example of Kickstarter—don’t offer an incentive that will cost you more (in time or money) to fulfill than you can handle.

7. You don’t need to offer incentives.
Don’t think that people are really going to give because of your incentive. Think about it. If you really needed a coffee mug or tote bag, you’d buy one. You wouldn’t wait for the public radio pledge drive. Sure, 1 time in 100, someone is giving for the incentive, and it can be a nice touch, but people give because they care about you and they care about the cause.

8. Say thank you.
As I type that, I am terrified that I did not acknowledge all of the donors to my most recent fundraising project. A quick thank you via email, a shout-out on Twitter, whatever form it takes, get on it. It makes the person feel appreciated, and it reminds other people that they, too, could give.

9. Make it easy for people to give.
Create a short-link to your fundraising page. Print some cards with your name & pitch & short-link that you can hand out to people when you talk to them about it. Have the page book-marked on your iPad so someone can give right then & there while you’re talking about it. Don’t make people hunt for the details.

10. Offer other ways to help.
If someone tells you they’d like to donate, but can’t, ask if they might post a link on their Facebook page, or RT you, or hand out your cards. Who knows who they know that you don’t?

Coming Out

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. :D 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.