What goes into a fundraising meeting

We Are Aiming to Meet With Many, Many People

March 27, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


We should be sitting down with many, many people, asking them to donate to and be a part of the BA Everywhere Campaign, a major, multi-faceted fundraising campaign to project Bob Avakian, his voice and his work way out into society. We are out to set up meetings with people from all walks of life – from those just scraping to get by, to students and professionals, to people with a lot of money.

There is a real basis for people, including wealthy people, to want to meet and donate. The world itself is taking us there – the daily and hourly outrages raising deep concerns about the future for humanity and the planet. There is what people find in BA’s work: a new synthesis of communism and a strategic approach to making revolution; the deep outrage at how people are forced to live by the workings of this system – a system that is no longer necessary; and the scientific approach to what is possible and the joy in fighting to bring this into being.

How to carry out a fundraising meeting:

1. Setting Up The Meeting --- Make it clear you are asking for a fundraising meeting, and ask for the meeting in a way that begins to open up the question “Why donate?”

How you make the appointment for the meeting is the first important step toward the person seriously considering donating. People need to know up front that we will be asking them to donate as much as they can to support this campaign. When you ask for the meeting, introduce people to BA through his own words: send a link to a quote, a BA article, a film clip, a link to the audio of Cornel West interviewing Bob Avakian on his NPR radio show, or send or deliver a CD of the interview.

When asking for a meeting with someone who has seen the film BA Speaks: Revolution—Nothing Less!, remind and ask them about the impact it had on them. Ask: Were you provoked to think about and look at the world in ways you never had before? Has anything changed since this film was released a year ago, that makes it any less important for it to be seen all over the place? Has anything changed in the last year that makes it any less important for millions of people to know who BA is and what this movement for revolution he is leading is all about?

Remind them: Having this meeting with you – very soon – will matter tremendously and can be part of filling an urgent need.

2. Starting the Meeting -- Begin with a short presentation telling the person why you are there: that the world is intolerable and that fundamental change is needed. This is what people everywhere need to be considering. There is a way out of the madness. That is why we are raising funds to make BA’s work known everywhere.

There is no script for this. Rather, use the approach of the materials that have been developed for the campaign, in particular, the BA Everywhere national brochure (brochure PDF, insert PDF,) which makes the case powerfully for what this campaign is and why people should contribute. Start with who BA is and the significance of the work that he has developed (even if the person already knows about BA). The discussion should be rooted in a passionate scientific digging at the reality that humanity faces and that flows from the system of capitalism-imperialism and why it will take nothing short of a total revolution to deal with all that. Bring materials to get into: You can show excerpts from the film Revolution—Nothing Less!, or use the national BA Everywhere brochure, quotes from BAsics, etc. Describe what it would mean for BA's work to be known to millions throughout society. Let the person know about the national campaign and the plans for this spring. Bring in inspiring examples of what the campaign has done thus far. We want to hear what they think – about BA’s work, its content and their questions about the campaign.

The beginning of the meeting is an opening – an initial exchange of views, wrangling and struggle getting into what the person is thinking about the problem in today's world and BA's work as the road forward to radically changing that, and why having this out in the world will change the atmosphere in society -- with people debating the big questions, like the future of humanity and the planet.

3. Make the “Ask.” Around one-third of the way through the meeting, reiterate very briefly what this campaign is, and do a specific “ask” for money – in an amount that would make a difference.

It's important to think about and plan the “ask” ahead of time. Begin the meeting with a clear sense of how much time the person has to meet, and make sure to do the “ask” after the initial exchange and wrangling over the objectives of the campaign – but be sure to do this before your time is half up.

Know how much money you plan to ask for. The amount should reflect a serious assessment of what's needed and an expectation that the prospective donor will want the opportunity to make a real difference by giving generously. A handful of change could mean a great deal coming from someone whose change jar buys food when funds run out – especially when amplified by people like them all over the country doing the same.

Those with more money can donate hundreds or thousands to things that they come to see matter – which is the argument we are making. Be prepared with information on how contributions should be made to the Bob Avakian Institute, RCP Publications or the Prisoners Revolutionary Literature Fund. After you make the specific “ask,” be quiet and let them take their time to answer. For example: “Would you consider a contribution of [a specific amount – in the hundreds or thousands for someone with means] towards the BA Everywhere campaign?” Then: say nothing until they answer, even if it takes them a minute to really think about it.

4. Getting further into their thinking and wrangling through the biggest questions: The “ask” may provoke the person's deepest questions, and this is when we begin to get more seriously into why it matters that there is a way forward and that BA’s work is contending out in the world.

After you do the “ask,” it is important to learn more what the potential donor's thinking is. Remember, this is someone who you think, based on their convictions, would want to contribute to BA Everywhere. Yet, to help them see why that is so will take struggle over problem and solution and how they are looking at both aspects of this, to convince them that having BA known, and his work out in society, will make a difference.

If they have decided to donate, walk through how to get the donation. Will they write a check on the spot, or send it in the mail, or donate on line.

If they have not decided to donate or even declined, what led them to that response? What questions are they weighing? Listen to the ways the person you are meeting with understands or appreciates what they have heard, and address only the most important issues that concentrate the big issues of problem and solution. Do not chase everything that you don't agree with. Stick to why approaching the world from the largest perspective of the problem and the solution and how the analysis and the road forward that is concentrated in BA's work corresponds to that reality. We should reveal and insist that what matters is what's true in reality, and that is not determined by what people think at any given point in time. It often can help to compare and contrast different ways of looking at the world – check out this short piece from Revolution a few weeks ago that talks about this.

Even as we want to draw out and get into the big questions, again, we are not trying to get into every difference – effectively putting off the question of donating to some indefinite time in the future when there is agreement. Bring people back to the importance of the campaign and the difference it would make for millions of people to get to know BA and learn about and be debating his vision for a radically better world. It would be good idea to read BA's Invitation piece before the meeting and employ this method of having big arms for people as we struggle with them to be true to the outrage and conviction that led them to meet with you in the first place.

5. Coming Back to the “Ask” - After you have had the opportunity to dig more deeply into how people are responding to learning more about BA and the BA Everywhere Campaign, return to the “ask” and encourage them to make their decision if they haven't already.

People can recognize the importance of BA’s work and the campaign without agreeing with everything or even while having substantial differences which get clearly delineated in the meeting. They should be encouraged by the kind of engagement you are having over real problem and real solution, and be able to see why it's important that this happen on the much bigger scale that would be made possible by the funds to support the campaign. After you have had the opportunity to dig more deeply into how they are responding to learning even more about BA and the BA Everywhere Campaign, return to the “ask” and encourage them to make their decision if they haven't already. Again, be quiet and let them think about it and respond.

Whatever their response is, thank them for meeting with you. This is important – if they have agreed to donate, they are part of making a big difference. If they have said no, and told you why, they are contributing to the campaign by helping us know more about the questions and thinking of many people who are concerned about the acute problems confronting humanity right now. These meetings are the beginning of important exchanges – in a world where the system will reassert itself again and again with opportunities to revisit all of this. We can learn now how this is taking place – what events and ideas are impacting people - so that we can reach ever broader numbers of people.

Be sure to send a thank you and follow up note after the meeting.

Once Again: Involving Many, Many People in Contributing to the Campaign

Once again on who we are reaching out to, to donate to BA Everywhere:

"BA Everywhere should involve all who see, or can be won to see, that it is very important that what is represented by BA and the new synthesis of communism he has brought forward become a major point of reference, and subject of discussion and debate, throughout society. An atmosphere and the means should be forged so all these people can participate and contribute to the campaign." [From “Spring Into BA Everywhere! A plan to make a leap in changing the world!”]

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