How I Got 75 Friends to GIVE $10

By April 1, 2014 Uncategorized

MFA Executive Director Joann Vaughan shares her strategy for getting friends and family to GIVE $10 for MFA through the Great Give.

Last year the Community Foundation of Anne Arundel County unveiled the first “Great Give” – a 24-hour fund-a-thon that encourages county residents to support nonprofits and has various cash awards for nonprofits who succeed in doing so.

One of the top prizes was $10,000 for the small nonprofit (budget less than $400,000) with the most donors. For a nonproft as small as MFA – and as dependent on tax -deductible donations, I knew that this money would make a huge difference to MFA’s financial stability. And, with MFA’s database of more than 5,000 contacts, I knew we had a good shot – but only if I did my part.

The way to “win” the Great Give is to believe in your cause and work your network.

I believe in MFA. I believe that communities are made stronger through different forms of artistic expression. And I believe that art should be available to everyone. MFA does all this – and more.

So I identified my network – my friends and family. Luckily I have a big family. A week before the event I talked with my parents and emailed my children and asked them to support the cause. Not only did they say they would give, they all offered to email their friends. We all made our lists – and then the fun began.

I emailed everyone I know now – or ever knew. I told them why MFA is important to me and asked them to give MFA $10 to support me – and to support my belief that art builds bridges in communities. I was a missionary – not a solicitor – and it worked.

My friends were easy. It’s $10 and what are friends for! Family was easy – I have a big one – and we extended the idea of family. My children gave, my nieces and nephews gave, my in-laws gave, even my children’s in-laws gave.

Then the fun began. A friend of my 82-year-old mother gave from Paris. I emailed my high school class (it was a reunion year) and boys who would never have asked me out gave $10. A friend gave for herself, her husband, her son and her dog – anyone can give, as long as they have a unique email address.

In the beginning I was apologetic. “Sorry to ask you…” I would say. Then a childhood friend emailed “Never apologize for raising money to support the arts,” and emailed it to a big list – and the gifts added up.

It was fun to win last year – but more fun to tell everyone what I do and why it is important… and, in the end, fun to see how many people support the arts and support me.

Joann is making her list again! Are you making yours? Together artists and art lovers can GIVE $10 in support of art through The Great Give from 6 pm May 7 to 6 pm May 8. Get ready to give!

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