The Akha Heritage Foundation -
Akha Human Rights - Akha University
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How To Fundraise
Raising funds for Akha projects.

The best way to help the Akha Projects is to be an effective fundraising partner.  All funds go directly into village centered projects, we maintain NO large infrastructure which require high administration costs. We can also assist you if you wish to raise funds for a project that you conduct yourself.

Say the word "Fundraising" and many people shy away, but in reality fundraising is no more than a common sense approach to getting in front of people who WANT to help a good cause and asking them for a donation or to paticipate in a fundraising event.

Below we have gathered ideas that will be useful in helping you to raise funds for helping the Akha Projects.

1. Letter to friends and relatives - One of the most effective ways to do grassroots fundraising is with a letter campaign to as many relatives, friends, former teachers, professors, co workers, community organization as possible. Add to this your doctor, dentist, other professionals and businesses you regularly do trade with. You should try to send a letter to 100 or more people. Send a detailed letter explaining the Akha Projects and what you hope to accomplish by joining this effort to assist the Akha people. Refer them to the web site.

Ask for a specific amount of money - $50 is a nice round figure, but for older, more established relatives or friends $100 is not too much to ask; for peers and fellow students, perhaps $25 to $35. You may want to break your potential supporters into two, three or more groups, sending a custom letter to each group, based on your relationship with them, or the amount of money for which you are asking.

If you send out 100 letters asking for $50 on average, and one-half respond, you have raised $2500. Often a few people will be very inspired by what you are doing, and may give much more.

You can talk to your local paper or advertising flyer to allow you to put a small add in for your fundraising project. A community interst columnist may be interested to do a small write up about the Akha Projects and your involvement.

2. Form up a support group - One of your best support structures is to have the people closest to you act as your fundraising committee. Get together for coffee or a meal and invite them to help you increase your effort. Have them write letters on your behalf and distribute pledge forms to their co-workers, immediate fmaily, school or university contacts, and good friends. The best fundraisers have even gone so far as to officially organize something like "Friends of the Akha Committee" - which is specific, catchy and shows what you have organized support for. It also shows that you are serious about helping the Akha in solid ways.

3. The chain letter - A variation on number 1 and 2 is to write special letters to close friends and relatives asking them to help you garner support. Talk to them on the phone first, then send or deliver them several copies of the sponsorship forms and ask them to recruit five or ten other people. If you know people in other towns who are eager to help, send them the sponsorship letter as an attatchment to an email, so that they can print it off for their friends and contacts. Ask the to commit to raising five or ten other sponsors.

4. Sell items you no longer use - One of the fastest ways to raise money is to sell items that you no longer use or need. A small add in the classifieds or the local add paper will help.

5. Have a rummage sale - auction - A rummage or garage sale are good ways to sell possessions and gather support for the cause. Have Akha Project flyers available to hand out to people who come to the sale to show them why you are conducting it, thus increasing the likelyhood that they will buy to help a good cause. Be specific about your involvement. Combine a raffle or auction if there is a natural group of people that you associate with who might help you to do this. (fraternity, club, church, workplace).

Planning a larger auction is also good, you can go after theme and humor items or items with good use and useability left in them. Get a group of people to help you go door to door or ask their friends, boss, co-workers and family to donate items for the auction.

6. School grant (for volunteers) - If you are becoming a volunteer for one of the Akha Projects in Thailand, you may be able to get the financial aid office to help you organize a grant or other formal funding for your project. If you are willing to make a media presentation on your return, this will boost your chances. You may also wish to get the support of department heads or teachers. Many schools will allow you to gain school credit for your involvement if you do a thesis or innovative research paper as part of your direct volunteer involvement. There are also fellowship programs , particularly for graduate students.

7. Local businesses - Specifically approach local businesses that you do business with or with a friend who does a lot of business there. The key is to make a linkage as part of the community. Ask to speak to the owner, let them know that you appreciate their services and tell them about the Akha Projects and that you would appreciate if they were able to help you in this cause. Leave them with a packet of information and a sponsorship /donation form. It is best if you visit in person, but you may also approach them by phone or follow up with a phone call. Be sure to ask for a specific amount, tailored to the business and you or your family's relationship to it. $100 is not unusual.

8. Special collections - Before taking up a general collection, the community groups that you are going to support should know about what it is you are doing and why it is important. If the organization or community group has a bulletin, get the message out early and also make a short presentation during the regular meeting. If the coordinators announce that a donation is suggested that is especially helpful. Have handouts for people who are interested to take something with them. Make sure your name and local phone number/email are clearly visible.

9. Community groups - Community groups such as Rotary, Lions, Kiwanis, Elks, Jaycees, unions, local societies are always glad to have special presentations. University campus's are also useful for local presentations even if you are not a student there. Arrange to make a presentation and ask for donations. People who are interested can take a sponsor sheet, for donating once a month.

10.Taking a part time job - If you have time you can take a part time job for a period of time, which proceeds go to the project.

11. Support from employer and co-workers - Approaching your own employer is an often over-looked source of possible support. Even better is getting support from your co-workers.

12. Grants from foundations, fellowship programs or the government - Many foundations offer fellowships to people to work, study or do research abroad. Among these are to name a few are:

Social Science Research Council of New York.
The Watson Fellowship Program
Rotary Foundation Fellows Program
Luce Fellows
Echoing Green
Council for International Educational Exchange
Fulbright Research Grants
Americorps Awards (for those who have served in Americorps)
More information on grants can be found in the Grant Register, the Directory of Research Grants and the Foundation Directory. Either a city or university library can be of much help.

13. Letters to alumni associations - An announcement in a high school or college alumni newsletter about what you are doing, with a request for donations and how they can donate can be a good way to gain support. The university development officer may be willing to share a few secrets as well.

14. Canvassing door to door - Solicitation of donations should not be overlooked. Check your community rules on solicitors. This is an excellent option if you make a good presentation, pick your neighborhoods, have a brochure to give at the door, and are willing to cope with rejections.

Keep positive, dress well, be well groomed and pleasant. Strike up a conversation about what you are doing, have they been to Asia, are they interested in indigenous causes. After they have become interested in what you are doing, then ask them for a small donation.

Make sure your brochure identifies how they can contact the Akha Heritage Foundation to verify who you are and what the donation is going for. Having a receipt book with you that you write down donations in is good. Give a receipt to them with your contact number, the website, email.

Write down the address of donors and drop them a brochure and thankyou note when your fundraising goal has been accomplished.

15. Sell something door-to-door - Selling items to raise funds can work well. Candles, candy bars, t-shirts, coffee mugs can be useful. Fairs, carnivals and city festivals or street sales are good for such efforts as well.

16. Telephone campaign - Telephone campaigns can be useful, either cold calls or using a list. Civic organizations, especially if you have a way in, may provide you with a list of names that you can call once they know what you are doing. This is a good means to build a team. A small business may be willing to donate the use of their phones for local calls from their office after hours.

17. Have a fundraising party - There are numerous ways to throw a fundraising party, just make sure you end up raising money after any costs you incur, not losing! If you can arrange a local personality to be there, or a musician or group that would contribute their evening, it will help sell tickets. Provide food and beverages, a movie, door prizes. Be creative!

18. "Steal the gate" at a popular nightspot - Try to get the owner or a hot night spot to give you a certain percentage of that nights cover charges in return for a larger than usual crowd. If you can arrange a special band or guest speaker-performer you will attract a larger crowd to the owner's eatery. Make sure you publicize it well in advance.

19. Target a location - set up a booth - Get permission to set up a table booth or bake sale at the doorway of a popular location such as a university plaza, library, park or movie theatre. Have plenty of drinks, pastries, sandwiches to sell, tell the buyers what it is for, have a nice sign made and pass out brochures. T-Shirts, stickers, coffee mugs, candles or other items can be added to this sales table. You can also anticipate local fairs and festivals, sidewalk sales, to set up your booth. Setting up a booth at a university or community college is also very effective, make sure to have a box for donations.

20. Do a carwash - Get a prominant business with a large parking lot in a good location to let you set up a one or two day carwash on their parking lot. Get some friends to help, plan outfits to dress up in, and arrange hoses, buckets, clean sponges, car shampoo, and lots of clean rags. Have some candy or mints ready to hand to drivers with a brochure explaining what you are raising money for. Some carwashes canbe posted as "Free Carwash - Donation Appreciated".

For assistance please contact us.

Copyright 1991 The Akha Heritage Foundation