Asking for Pledges

This page is meant to help every prospective team member to become more comfortable and more excited about raising money for Columbus Audubon. Through each birder’s creativity and ingenuity, we can achieve a higher success in our fund raising efforts.

Are You Uncomfortable Asking for Money?

Many people are uncomfortable asking for money. But it helps when you can be proud and excited about your cause.

What attracts you to Columbus Audubon? Is it the conservation projects? The support for environmental education? The programs and speakers that we bring to Columbus? The field trips that introduce kids and adults throughout the region to nature? The amazing accomplishments of the Ohio Young Birders Club? The field trips local and out of state? Perhaps it is the grant funded research projects? When you ask people to support your Birdathon, you are asking them to be part of those great successes.

How to Ask for Help

Face-to-face contact can be effective, especially if you know the person well. A pure positive approach where you exude your own excitement and enthusiasm is most appealing and influential.

  • It doesn’t hurt to ask for a donation. The worst outcome is that they respond with a no. You will remain friends I bet!
  • People like to receive suggestions about where to donate money. When they know you are interested in birds, they often seek you out to relay an interesting sighting or discover ‘what that bird was they saw’. And when they know of your interest, they often say yes to a donation request.

Email also is a very effective fund-raising tool. It eliminates the direct personal approach which some people find uncomfortable. The prospective sponsor can read the email and respond in their own comfort zone. Also, think about how many email addresses you have: email becomes an effective way to communicate with many more people than we may be able to call or speak with personally.

Tips from Real Birdathoners

Here are some techniques that Birdathoners have used in the past.

  • One birder asks his sponsors what their favorite bird is and then asks if they would be willing to donate an extra $1, $5 or some greater amount if her team sees or hears that bird.
  • In a similar vein, another gets the feel of the sponsor’s comfort level and, without pushing too far, goes on to ask something like “if we see a Bald Eagle, would you add an extra $___?
  • Another birder asks “if we beat our goal of ___birds, would you add $___to your total?”
  • One birder offers her sponsors their own private bird walk. It’s become an annual event that these non-birders look forward to. Many of her sponsors all gather together with their children and friends and spend the morning looking for birds in a local park. Some of her sponsors have gotten “hooked” over the years and now go birding on their own. What a reward for both!
  • Many birders write a fun “ask letter” that piques the curiosity of their potential sponsors.
  • Even more birders write a fun “thank you” letter that tells of their escapades. This can be as much a tradition as the Birdathon itself. Indeed, one birder tells that some of her sponsors promise to sponsor her ONLY if she promises to email them the story for that year!