How to Ask People to Contribute

Ask directly and personally

People who haven't fundraised before often think this the hardest part—but once you've done it a few times you'll find it easy, and even fun. Besides, not many people just show up at ActBlue looking for good fundraising pages, so it's your job to get people to visit your page.

If you're uncomfortable asking people for money, here’s something to remember:

  • You're not asking someone to throw their money away—or even to give it to you. You're asking them to use their money to support a candidate or cause they believe in.

Different ways to ask

  1. E-mail: It's the easiest way to tell lots of people about your page, but make sure you include a link to it in the email. Resist the temptation to send out one massive e-mail, because it's much more effective to e-mail people individually even if you say the same thing to everybody. Most importantly, don't be a spammer!
  2. Phone and face-to-face: These are the most compelling ways to ask because you're making a direct personal connection. Try to get a commitment, and follow up by sending a reminder e-mail with a link to your page.
  3. Websites and blogs: If you have a website or a blog, post an appeal for readers to contribute via your page. You'll need to be especially convincing because you're not making a direct personal connection.
  4. House parties and fundraisers: These take a bit more work, but are a lot of fun! We talk more about holding events below.

What to say

Make it Important.
Make it Simple.
Make it Personal.

  1. Explain why it's important to support the candidate, cause or committee you've chosen. Just have one or a few simple, direct reasons.
  2. Explain how each contribution relates to the goals set out by the candidate or organization.
  3. Explain why you are supporting them. And if you can, tailor your pitch to the person you're asking.
Example: Bob Robertson needs your help to get his message out. Unlike his opponent, Fatcat Q. Moneybags, Bob is a working stiff. He doesn't have millions of dollars to spend on his own campaign and he needs working folks like you and me to pitch in with $5 by the end of the day today, so he can fight for us tomorrow.

Closing the Deal

  1. Ask for a specific amount, by a specific deadline: "I'm trying to raise $500 for Bob Robertson this week, and it would make a big difference if you could contribute $50."
  2. If your prospective donor says you've asked for too much money, ask for a smaller amount. Both of you will feel better if they make a contribution, even if it's smaller than what you had hoped for. (Generally people feel like schmucks if they refuse outright to contribute even a little bit to a cause their friends care about&emdash;and you don't want your friends to feel like schmucks.)
  3. Always stay cheerful and express your appreciation, regardless of whether you got a contribution: "Thanks for your time!" or "Thanks for letting me practice my pitch!"

Follow up

Send thank-you notes to contributors! Tell them that they're making an important difference in the world, and that their contributions mean a lot to you.

Ask contributors if they know of others who might be interested in contributing as well. If they do, ask for an introduction.

Fun Fundraising: House Parties and Ticketed Events

  • Throw a house party to support the candidate or cause on your fundraising page. At the party, make a short speech about how great the candidates are and why they are going to win, and ask people to contribute to your fundraising page. Make sure you’ve got a computer nearby with the page already loaded.
  • If you’re selling tickets to the event through ActBlue, the ticket price is a contribution to your page, and the music, food, and good times are just an added bonus!