13 Nov

What My 11 Year Old Reminded Me About Fundraising

My 11 year old daughter and I went to Daughter and Mother Camp Congress for Girls a few weeks ago. It is a full day boot camp at which girls learn about the political process, run in a mock election and work on a bill once the Congress is elected. The girls ranged from 8-13 and were really impressive. It was a long day, and the girls were very focused and interested (sometimes more than the moms).

As part of the running for election module, girls decided if they wanted to run for the House, the Senate or the Presidency. Then they had to design a campaign platform and poster and film a video. This was all good fun and educational.

Once the girls were all excited about their campaign collateral, the instructor told them they would need to create a list of people whom they could call to contribute to their campaign to help pay for all the copies of posters, bumper-stickers and ads they would need. With their call lists in hand, each girl was instructed to ask her mom for her cellphone and get on the phone with potential donors from their list.

Here are some observations that made me think about all my front-line fundraisers in the field.

  1. The girls were excited about making the calls. True ,it could have been because they had not seen a screen in 5 hours, but it wasn’t just that. They were thrilled to tell the people on their list about their campaigns and what they hoped to do. Takeaway: Be excited every time you get the chance to talk to someone about what you care about. Enthusiasm is contagious.
  2.  The girls were not afraid of rejection. True, it could have been because they were calling family and friends, but it wasn’t just that. They dialed and spoke without hesitation. It never occurred to them to feel self-conscious. There was no fear or worry.   Takeaway: Make sure you are in the right mindset. Giving is a reflection of people’s values. When they say no, they are not rejecting you the fundraiser. Be fearless in your fundraising. 
  3. The girls were themselves. They connected with the prospects and laughed and were warm. Takeaway: Be yourself and be authentic. 
  4. The girls tallied their donations and celebrated their success. Takeaway: Mark your progress and celebrate each win! Progress is motivating.

At our table, one of the girls turned to her mother and said, “I can do this. I can be a candidate. I have ideas ,and I can ask people to support my campaign and vote for me.” Yes, she can!

To take the fear and shame out of asking for money and build strong skills, let’s start them early! The more young girls and boys who we get on the phones and meeting with people to ask for money to support candidates and causes they believe in, the brighter future we will all have.


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