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Fundraising Lessons From China

I'm just back from a thrilling couple of weeks in China on a belated honeymoon.  Whilst I was on the trip we visited Huiling School in Xian, which the Intrepid Foundation (the tour company we went with) helps to fund.

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They gave us a textbook fundraising experience, that I wanted to share...

First of all we were introduced to the staff and made to feel welcome.  They then gave a brief talk about the ethos of care and the services they provide.

Next up was a performance by the drama group at the school, which we were asked to join in with.

We were then invited to tour the building and to ask any questions.

So after giving the rational case for support, the emotional performance, getting us talking with the children and finally inviting us to experience the work, I knew what was coming.  You guessed it - the ask, along with a promise that all donations made that day would be matched by Intrepid!

Textbook stuff and I'm sure it's something that has been honed after many such visits.

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The wish list of some of the kids

What I particularly liked about the ask is the homemade shopping list that they'd made and put on the wall.

It featured some of the people we'd just met and gave a little story about why they wished for the item requested (these ranged from a trip to the cinema to expensive computer software) and then also promised to follow up with an e-mail when the item had been bought.

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A close up of some of the shopping list items

You could see from looking at the wall, which items that had been bought in the past and the faded paper from where items had been removed.

As I left I had a wry smile on my face.  Every fundraising technique in the book had been used on me and you know what? I didn't care and was happy to donate to the ongoing work of the school, along with the rest of the tour group.

It simple asks like this that reminds me that sometimes we try and over complicate fundraising, when at it's heart it really isn't that difficult...

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