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Fundraising From the Comfort of Your Living Room

Posted by on June 9th, 2011
Posted in Blog, Email Campaigns, Independent Schools, Nonprofit Fundraising, Performing Arts, Social Media    Tags: ,

With online fundraising and social media causing a riot in the nonprofit sector it’s worth remembering a basic approach that worked even before fax machines were in vogue: Asking people–in person–to make a donation.

Seems sort of quaint, doesn’t it?

Morrie Warshawski has recently published his classic book The Fundraising Houseparty as an e-book available from his website and at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and iTunes.

Do you have board members who tell you repeatedly that they want to help fundraise, but who never seem to follow through? This may be just the guide to inspire them to action. Do you have an eager volunteer whose enthusiasm you haven’t known how to channel? Asking her to host a fundraising house party might be the right way to engage her.

This handy, quick-read book is packed with motivation and the practical nuts-and-bolts outline of how to plan for and throw a fundraising house party that delivers new supporters to your organization.

As Morrie reminds us, “Individual donors account for approximately 87% of donations for all nonprofit endeavors–and most of these individuals are not people of tremendous wealth, but rather middle-class citizens without a lot of disposable income.”

At Mission Minded we’ve noticed a trend amongst smaller and mid-sized nonprofits recently: Some seem to just now be noticing that they have very few email addresses for donors or prospective donors. Perhaps it’s new interest in social media calling this to their attention. Or the threat of discontinued funding from institutional donors.

If your nonprofit has traditionally relied on a small group of foundations, or has had a single benefactor underwriting your work, there will inevitably come a time when developing an individual donor program will be required. And one of the best ways to grow your list of prospects is by using email and social media. But where do you start if you don’t have email addresses, online friends or followers?

A fundraising house party is not only a good way to raise money on the night of the event. It’s a way to meet more people to add to your rolls who, in turn, can help you add even more contacts to your list. It takes time to successfully build an individual donor program and fundraising house parties are a terrific way to start.

If you have experience with fundraising house parties we’d love to hear about it! If you’ve already read Morrie’s book, tell us how helpful you found it to be.


Jennie Winton is a Founding Partner of Mission Minded, a 25-year marketing veteran sought for her expertise in branding nonprofit organizations, and a one-on-one leadership coach.

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5 responses to “Fundraising From the Comfort of Your Living Room”

  1. It was a relief to see this post. As fantastic as social media marketing and technology are for fundraising, nothing beats a good ‘ol face to face meeting. Thanks for reminding everyone about this!