When I did the 3-Day in 2007 with my mom, she did the vast majority of her fund raising by going door to door. I’ve done a little bit of this every year and have always come back with a decent amount, but this year I have decided to put a good amount of time into going door to door and see what happens. I will be the first to admit that going door to door to ask for donations for the 3-Day is not one of the most pleasant experiences that you will have in your fund raising. With a little planning, a little courage, and a small bit of luck it can be very rewarding and help you get a good way to your goal. So I’m going to cover the why’s and how’s of door to door fund raising.
Why on Earth Would I go Door to Door?
I usually look at fund raising as a ratio. Amount Raised per Hour Spent and you can also add Amount Raised per Dollar Spent to that. Basically you want the Amount Raised per Hour to be as high as possible. Minimal work output for maximum funds input (to the 3-Day).There are one or two fund raising methods that have a better Amount Raised per Hour (we’ll call it ARpH from now on) spent than door to door, like e-mail. The problem with most of these is coverage. Yes you may be able to have a great ARpH by sending out e-mails with no cost outlay, but it is reliant upon the size of your e-mail list. If you only have 100 people that you e-mail and half of them contribute $20 on average then you’ve raised $1000. That’s a great amount with little time. Door to door takes more time but greatly expands your list. You can knock on anyone’s door, regardless of whether you have met them or not!
In addition, even though the ARpH is lower than e-mail, it’s much higher than other means. For instance, my sister and I did a garage sale fund raiser two years ago. We had a bunch of stuff donated, we had our own stuff donated, we even made baked treats to sell there. In two days (about 4 hours per day) we raised $500-$600. But that was split between two people, so my ARpH was $37.50 if I take the high end. Compare that to last weekend when I only spent half an hour going door to door (I was short on time) and I raised $80. That’s $160 ARpH! I realize, results may vary, but any of the fund raising ideas have results that may vary.
How to do Door to Door.
Hopefully you have read the above and decided that door to door is a great idea. But before you set off to knock on everyone’s door to raise money, here are a few things that you should probably consider:
- Be Prepared for Rejection: There’s no way around this. There are just going to be some people that don’t want to donate to you when you show up and that’s ok. There are plenty of people that do want to donate, it might not be this house or the next three that you go to, but people will want to donate.
- Pick Wisely: Picking the right neighborhood to canvas is everything. There are some neighborhoods that you will have an easy time raising money in and there are some that you will have a hard time. I’ve been to some areas where 60% of everyone I went to said that they had donated at the office. Usually higher end neighborhoods are a good bet, but sometimes even those don’t work out.
- Concise Message: I think this should really be applied to every fund raising activity that you do. You need to get your message about what you are doing and why you are doing it as concise as possible. This is for your own benefit. Tell your short story, if they aren’t interested then move on. If they are then you can maybe talk about it more to the point that they want to hear it. The more concise your message, the quicker you will be able to find out who is going to donate and who has no interest.
- Have a Goal: The hardest thing about door to door is that it’s easy to just give up and go home. This is why you need to set quantifiable goals when you go out. Some good goals to try would be:
- Stay out fund raising for at least 2 hours.
- Raise at least $200
- Raise at least $200 AND stay out for two hours (this is really good if you start fund raising really well and you get $200 before the end of the first hour. It makes you stay out and continue when you are on a roll!)
- Wear It: This seems pretty basic, but I feel like I should mention it. If you walk up to someone’s door with regular street clothes you will not have as much luck as if you wear a 3-Day for the Cure shirt or other breast cancer apparel.
Hopefully you read this and think that door to door might just be the right thing to complement your fund raising. It’s probably not the answer to all of your fund raising needs, but I think that it is a great way to augment what you’re probably already doing. If you still don’t think that door to door is right for you, then keep an eye out over the next few weeks as I’ll be trying to bring a few more fund raising ideas up and discussing the merits of each.