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VOL. 127 | NO. 78 | Friday, April 20, 2012

Pearl and Mel Shaw

Memphis Excellence In Fundraising Pitches

By Mel and Pearl Shaw

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Here are the ABCs of making a fundraising pitch. Keep it short, clear and simple. Tell people what you are raising money for and how their gift will make an impact.

Here’s a local example. Returning to our workout program means, for us, returning to the Fogelman Downtown YMCA. Before we could even get in the door we knew fundraising was in full swing. We saw a more-than-life-sized fundraising “thermometer” and the names of people and families who had donated as we entered the facility.

While checking in we asked for information and the woman at the front desk immediately shared that the Y is raising money to support summer programming for children. She shared with us that each child at the elementary school down the street gets swimming lessons, and that children from across the city have access to free summer programming.

We asked her how we could get involved and she immediately gave us a small (8”x4”) pledge card. It told us everything we need to know. Here it is:

“Your donation helps the Fogelman Downtown YMCA: provide over $18,000 in fee assistance for after school child care; offer summer camp weekly to 42 youth whose families would otherwise be unable to afford the cost; teach water safety skills to 750 downtown elementary students and provide resources for their families on water safety education; and provide swimming lessons to 300 children in underserved communities who are most at risk for drowning and other water tragedies.”

Short, simple and clear. They want to raise $38,000 and have already raised $35,000. You can help raise the last $3,000 by giving online at www.ymcamemphis.org or by stopping by your local Y – you can both give and get in shape!

On a related note, we also attended the Legends Reception hosted by the Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis. It was a first-class event held in the lobby of One Commerce Square also in Downtown Memphis. The event showed off the beauty of the building and the leadership of Memphis’ women. Five women were honored: Judge Bernice B. Donald, Dr. Shirley C. Raines, Dorothy Gunther Pugh, Velma Lois Jones and Sylvia Goldsmith Marks.

We were inspired by their accomplishments, their vision, leadership and commitment to the people of Memphis. To creating a community where we all can thrive. The Women’s Foundation’s celebrations continue next week on Thursday, April 26, at the Memphis Cook Convention Center with their Annual Tribute Luncheon, Power of the Purse auction and Youth Leadership Forum. Learn more at www.wfgm.com.

Give to the YMCA or the Women’s Foundation or another of the many organizations that make Memphis a great city. We need each other. We have leadership. We have solutions. Let’s move forward together.

Mel and Pearl Shaw are the owners of Saad & Shaw. They help nonprofit organizations and institutions rethink revenue sources. They are the authors of “How to Solicit a Gift: Turning Prospects into Donors.” Visit them at www.saadandshaw.com or call 522-8727.

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