Newsletters and Fundraising
When being active for animal rights your newsletter broadcasts your reason for being. Your basic fundraising pays for it and for small everyday expenses.
A good aim at some point if you have a group is to produce newsletters about what your group is doing. An effective newsletter evokes a sense of common purpose and is a force for binding together individuals interested in your animal rights activism. A newsletter publicises your group to non-members and is of value for recruitment. The more well written and produced your newsletter, the more credible your group will appear to people. Impress them with your convictions and make them laugh at your good humour.
Give your newsletters to group members and ask them to distribute copies. Enclose a copy when you correspond with people about your group’s activism. Stand about town and give them away to passers-by. Leave copies in public places, the town hall and public libraries. Use your newsletter as a calling card.
A simple newsletter need only be one page of news. A bigger newsletter could consist of a larger sheet folded to make four pages. Depending on what activism you are doing you could write about:
- Aims and problems.
- Reports of past and continuing activities.
- Proposed activities and ideas for future events.
- Copies of newspaper stories about your group.
- Pieces about animal-human relations.
- Letters from members and what individuals are doing.
- Reviews of your group's financial situation.
- Dates or social activities for the group.
- Pinches of light gossip if you want to keep things lively and informal.
- Think of a catchy name for your newsletter's title. Tails Up! is better than Newsletter of the Grimstown Animal Rights Group. You can always append the longer name as a sub-title in small print below the pithy name to give your readers a better idea of what you are about.
- Find a volunteer to illustrate the newsletter and other people to contribute, whether members of your group or not (but sometimes it is simply easier to do everything yourself!).
- Key everything into a computer and print off from it as many sheets as you need, or print off a single master copy and photocopy it repeatedly.
- How often will your newsletter come out? Four times a year is ample, provided the newsletter is not too difficult to put together and the printing and distribution are easy and cheap. However, twice a year could be sufficient if your newsletter production is long hard work (although it gets quicker and easier with experience).
- The cost of the newsletter need not be much. Find a low-cost source of paper. Computer print-outs and photocopying are not prohibitively expensive. One way of paying for the newsletter is to ask members of your group for a small membership subscription, or do some basic fundraising (see below), or foot the bill from your own pocket.
- What ever you write in your newsletter bear in mind that you can be sued for libel. A way around this is to criticise people's actions rather than make claims about the people themselves. Be circumspect. You can make many points with witty jabs and satire.
Much of what your group does may not need funding. Nevertheless, you might require money to cover some basic costs. It is up to you to generate funds, so go out and get them.
Do not shy away from asking people for funds or for material you can convert into cash. The fundraiser's first rule is if you don't' ask, you don't get. Their second rule is ask frequently. So start asking. With the right frame of mind fundraising can be interesting and enjoyable - some people do it for a career - and for animal rights fundraising is a virtue. While out and about fundraising, double up by publicising your campaign and bagging new members for your group.
Methods of raising campaigning funds are diverse. Here are just three.
- Jumble Sale
- Selling jumble may be the number one time-honoured way of raising cash. Book sales are similar and might raise more money with less effort.
Make leaflets asking for jumble or books. Divide a normal size page into four segments. On each segment state the name of your group, that you are asking for jumble, and the date and time a few days later when you will collect it. You could ask donors to leave the stuff outside so that you need not knock on their door. Print or photocopy as many copies of the page as necessary and carefully cut out the strips. Post each strip by hand to the houses in your district.
Donors may want to know that their donations will be used to good effect. Then just tell them you are a voluntary group for animals (they might not agree with the rights bit) and that their jumble is to help animals (which it is!).
Hire a stall at a fair or sell your wares at a car boot sale. Adjust your jumble's price to something very reasonable and attractive for people to buy. Your income will depend on the quality and quantity of the jumble and on your expertise selling it.
- Sponsored Event
- Carry out an activity, like a cookie-making spin, a long-distance walk or bicycle ride, an all night dance, a marathon run, a litter clean up or something unusual, and get people to pay you for doing it. Search the Web for one of the many online fundraising web sites, one that suites your circumstances. They may provide you with your own personalised online fundraising page. Your friends, family, acquaintances and anyone accessing your page from anywhere in the world could sponsor you with a donation. The fundraising web site thanks the donor, collects their donated money and sends it to your financial account for a small cut.
- Sell Merchandise Online
- Some online companies, like CafePress and Zazzle, offer an online 'shop': pages of merchandise people can buy that you stamp your brand on. Most wares are clothing, favourite buys are T-shirts and sweat shirts, and there are also coffee mugs and other things. You characterise your shop with your logo and group details and select the wares to sell. When someone buys any of your merchandise the company sends it to the buyer and forwards you the purchase price minus a percentage. The company handles everything, even returns from unsatisfied customers (should there be any). If your group has its own web site, selling merchandise like this can make your group look more rousing and expert. However, you have to sell a great deal to earn more than just pocket money!
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