Driving Home the Point
“We became very intensive in terms of the time we’re spending with our field,” Heard says, reiterating that there was a major emphasis on helping staff and volunteers overcome their discomfort in asking for money.
“The saying, ‘If you don’t ask, they won’t give’ is so true,” he adds. “Many people [within the organization] have been so intimidated about asking for money that they just weren’t asking.”
MADD refocused its efforts by going back to the basics and reminding its affiliates about the importance of its mission so that staff and volunteers could then pass that enthusiasm on to potential donors. Part of the strategy was to hold regional MADD in Motion events where the community could learn about the organization and leaders could emerge to help host an “ask event.”
Those events, titled MADD Matters, are supercharged affairs that highlight affiliates’ newfound passion for the mission — and for fundraising. And as good an idea as it seems, Heard says it wasn’t always easy to get the affiliates motivated. But successes like those at MADD Matters events in Hawaii ($96,000) and Houston ($198,000) make it an easier sell.
“With the volunteers and staff in Hawaii, there was a lot of skepticism. We spent months trying to convince them, train them and sell them on some of this stuff,” Heard says. “Finally, we said ‘just do it.’ And when they did, one woman there was literally screaming because it felt so good. In El Paso, one woman had a one-on-one personal ask visit, her first one, and got a $10,000 gift. She said it was the greatest high of her life. That’s the great thing about this.”
Heard adds that MADD also has implemented Raising More Money, a program that “focuses on connecting individuals to MADD’s mission and asking them to give over a five-year period.”