My name is Tracy, I’m based in CT, and I’m part of the national team. My main role is to organize our fundraising operations and to coordinate our amazing team of fundraisers for Vote Mob.
I started volunteering for Vote Mob seven or eight weeks ago. I make sure the records are right so we know how much money there is (and how many hires you all can make), I talk with donors and potential donors, and I help to keep them part of the team by sharing what I know of your work. Your reports make my job possible. (And fun!)
I signed on to Vote Mob because like all of you, I think the outcome of this election will have a profound effect on this country (and on CT, where we have a super tight Senate race) – not to mention a profound effect globally. Like Billy, I’ve watched elections be won or lost on the smallest of margins. I’m also deeply aware of the ways that people in their teens & 20s can absolutely determine the outcome – not just of the presidential race, but of all races on all the ballots all over the country. I came on to this project as a donor initially. I was really inspired by the possibility of having more than a hundred organizers on campuses, so I also volunteered my fundraising time to help make that happen. It’s really, really inspirational to see you all make it sing.
Billy & I have known each other for about fifteen years; I met him back when I was starting an organization for young, wealthy, progressive women & men, called Resource Generation. Resource Generation is a community in which people with wealth in their 20s & early 30s can meet & share information about everything from respectful donor practices to serving on the board of a family foundation. It is not a grant-making organization. It is part of an effort to help build a lifetime community of progressive donors who use both their money and their access in alignment with their values. Resource Generation has groups meeting all over the country. Feel free to pass on the website if you know people who should see it.
I first fundraised in order to meet the budget for Resource Generation, and in the process I realized that 1) fundraising isn’t as terrifying as I thought and 2) I can raise WAY more money than I can give. Everybody can. Knowing that, after Hurricane Katrina, I joined a really amazing national fundraising effort that ultimately raised over four million dollars for Black-led organizations along the Gulf Coast. I met a lot of awesome people, spent some time in Louisiana & Mississippi, and learned a TON.
Billy asked me to share some tips on fundraising with you all, and I’d love to have a longer conversation with any of you about it, but here are some quick hits:
It’s a lot easier to ask someone else to support if you have already given. It doesn’t have to be a big gift. Someone said to me once that if I wasn’t getting the money I needed, it was because I wasn’t asking enough people. This is true. Ask EVERYBODY.
There are lots of ways to ask. The most low-key is to remind people that they can give a gift on the donation page of the website & that every gift counts.
Lots of people say no. That’s OK. It doesn’t mean bad things about you or me or the work. Lots of people say yes! (When someone says yes, or puts a dollar in a can, say thank you. It’s actually one of the most human & important things you can do as a fundraiser.)
It is a little known fact that most gifts come from individuals, not from foundations. Fundraising from individuals is actually just a form of good organizing, and involves the same skills. I can get really detailed about this, but when we ask for money for Vote Mob, we are essentially establishing what our common goals are (i.e. turning out the campus vote) and giving people a way to use their tools ($, time, access) in the service of those goals.
It’s great to be working with you all. What you do is both inspirational & crucial.