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You have many high-level contacts. What would
you tell a Rotarian who wants to help raise
money or promote polio eradication but does not
have a large network?
you’d be amazed by how many people have contacts they
don’t use. Use friends, family, and contacts in business
to get to the top person rather than writing a letter cold.
if you’re not used to pr and communications, always
get someone else to read anything you’re sending off.
also, use the ri staff and the ri resources. For example,
every time we do an event, i always give out a packet of
information on polio from ri. it’s up-to-date and looks
professional. it means people are taking away something
that is correct and looks good.
Do you ever find it difficult to ask for money?
i don’t go to someone and say, “give me £5,000.” i
think one way [to bring in money] is to organize an
event to help raise the issues; let people know they
have to pay to come and the money is going to polio. so
you’re giving them something in return. the other way
is to make people aware of the program and the need
to complete it successfully. they can then help – either
themselves, or by putting us in touch with someone who
can give us money. the other powerful argument we
have in rotary is that we have already given over Us$1
billion toward polio ourselves.
How do you make sure that meetings with
potential donors go well?
research. get all the background you can on them.
go on their website, spend time learning about their
organization. do not go into a meeting cold. have your
story polished and professional and slick. i always
advise clients talking to the media to have three key
messages you want to get across. it’s similar when
talking to potential donors. your points are: (1) i’m in
rotary (2) polio and the need (3) how you can help. it’s
all about preparation.
How much would it help if every Rotarian tapped
into his or her network to conquer polio?
i’m a great believer that every rotarian is the best
ambassador for rotary and we should be using all our
skills and talents toward that end. polioplus is such
an important program, and we’ve put so much into it.
it’s up to every rotarian to make a contribution toward
eradicating polio. We should all be proud of what we’ve
done, and we must make eradication happen. n
Robert Hall has helped his zone raise almost
Us$7 million for polio eradication since December
2007. “all I do is facilitate people’s spending
money on what they are interested in,” says Hall, end
Polio Now coordinator for Zone 34 and a member of the
rotary club of Dunwoody, Ga., Usa. Developing personal
relationships and helping others discover what they
are passionate about is key to success, Hall says. He
approaches fundraising in three steps:
Alert. Make the potential donor aware of the
fight against polio and why you are committed to it.
though it’s important to include all the relevant facts, such
as how many new cases occurred this year and how much
money the effort still needs, Hall says a compelling story
is what appeals to people. He tells one about his wife, who
as a child saw other children on the playground push a little
girl who had polio and take her crutches.
Ask. “If you don’t ask, no one is going to give,
no matter what,” Hall says. If you’re requesting a
large amount, set up a one-on-one meeting. after asking
for a specific sum, stay quiet and wait for a response from
the potential donor. this is difficult, he says, but the donor
must have a chance to consider. If the answer is yes, make
it easy to complete the donation (for example, with a credit
card or through a multiyear pledge). If the answer
is no, Hall gently probes for the reason with four questions:
Is it the organization? Is the project a problem? Is the
amount not right? or is the timing difficult? once he
identifies the reason, he knows what to do next. In some
cases, it may be coming back to the donor in a few months.
Acknowledge. follow up with a hand-
written thank-you note and, if appropriate, public
recognition for large gifts. because large gifts are often a joint
decision by a couple, be sure to thank them both. – sUsie Ma
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