These are good lessons for non-profits too:
1. Focus, Focus, Focus.
2. Change slowly if possible
Today, I will be trying something new on the blog.
Today will be my first official book review!
To be precise, I have read other fundraising books and posted on the blog with material from those books, but I’ve never done an official book review.
My hope is that fundraising book reviews will be something our readers enjoy, and we can continue this as an ongoing segment, with new fundraising books being reviewed on a regular basis.
If you have a fundraising related book you would like me to review you can contact me directly by email – yoav (at) negevdirect.com – or just leave me a comment on the blog with a way to reach you.
First of all, my sincere apology to Morrie for taking so long to get his book read and reviewed here on our blog. With the recent arrival of my second daughter and the direct mail holiday season just behind us, my schedule has been very full.
Ok, so on to the book…
Morrie Warshawski, author of “Fundraising Houseparty” writes a compelling, short and descriptive book on how to best run a fresh idea in fundraising… the houseparty.
The premise of the book is that housepartys are a fun and effective way to reach and garner donations from the people who care about you and your cause the most.
“Individual donors account for 87% of all donations for all non-profit endeavors – and most of these individuals are not people of tremendous wealth, but rather middle class citizens without a lot of disposable income.”
In short – most of our friends and their friends make up the core donors to the nonprofits that are doing such a great amount of good for our communities and the greater world.
When asked to fundraise many people will counter with this: ‘I’m too hesitant to ask or just don’t know how to ask for donations’
‘Fundraising Houseparty’ offers a very palatable solution:
“One pleasant and powerful way to overcome the fear of asking is the fundraising houseparty.”
A houseparty can be a fun and effective way of networking, just plain socializing and raising funds all wrapped into one!
So what is a houseparty? Warshawski breaks the houseparty down into six essential and simple steps…
“Elements of a fundraising houseparty”:
– People receive an invitation to come to a party at a private home
-The invitation makes it clear that the evening will be a fundraising event.
– Participants arrive and are served some refreshments.
– Participants sit through a brief presentation.
– The Host or Peer – someone articulate, enthusiastic and respected by participants – stands up and asks everyone to make a contribution.
The book goes into detail about each individual step and what’s involved in implementing each step to make your party a success.
I won’t go into detail on each step here, but if your curiosity has been sparked, I encourage you to check out the link from amazon.com where you can buy a new or Kindle edition of the book and have it shipped to your home or office for a very reasonable price.
Some other take away points from the book:
“(The) Number one lesson I learned from the ‘Houseparty’: Put a pledge card and a pen in everyone’s hand before beginning your presentation!”
“It is a mistake to have ‘the ask’ made by an expert on the subject, one of your close friends or anyone else who is not a peer of the group. The most effective ask will come when peers ask their own peers for support.”
“Is there a downside this type of fundraising? Yes – it is labor intesive.”
“…it is possible to lose money if you spend too much on refreshments entertainment, equipment rental or supplies, and/or printing invitations.”
“The houseparty does not replace or supplant other things you could or should be doing (e.g. direct mail, grant writing, one-on-one solicitations).”
The book does a great job of explaining what it takes to pull of a successful fundraising party.
If you and the organization you support is looking for a fresh new way to reach donors and you haven’t tried the houseparty yet, I recommend reading Warchawski’s book and giving it a go.
It’s a quick read of only 58 pages (and some of those are sample invites).
Book Reviewed by: Yoav Kaufman