Take Action FUNDRAISING 101



Want to get to travel to a state to support death penalty repeal efforts, attend a conference or meeting, raise money to help a local anti-death penalty organization but just don’t have any funds?  Just because you don’t have the funds today, doesn’t mean that you can’t raise it.  Below we have compiled some helpful tips that may assist you in raising money to be a powerful advocate for abolition.

Get Started!

Know what you Need – First, assess your costs, create a budget and set fundraising goals. Figure out how much it is going to cost for you or your group to travel or support abolition efforts.

Write a Proposal – Put together a written proposal. Focus on how your help could make the difference to help a repeal campaign or how your participation will benefit your college/university, church, or community. Emphasize the importance of civic engagement and how you will be learning lessons that can be shared to encourage others to become engaged.

Create a Fund- It is important to make contributing to your cause an easy and straightforward process. Make sure your community knows exactly how they can help you. Tell them where to mail checks and what to write on them. There are a number of websites that streamline the fundraising process, while also providing promotional help. Here are some of the most effective websites for crowdfunding campaigns. They are free to use, although they often charge a percentage of the funds. Gofundme is particularly well renowned, and Youcaring allows you to waive the fundraising fee.

  1. Gofundme: https://www.gofundme.com/
  2. Youcaring: https://www.youcaring.com/
  3. Crowdrise: https://www.crowdrise.com
  4. Razoo: https://www.razoo.com/us/home/
  5. Causevox: http://www.causevox.com/


Make a Personal Sacrifice -If you want to really raise funds you have to start with yourself.  Make a small sacrifice so that you may donate to your own fund.  It doesn’t have to be huge—Give up one latte a day, or put all your loose change in your fund, perhaps you will eat out only three times a week instead of four, or even drink water instead of soda when you go out to a restaurant.  Whatever you decide make sure that you set stick to it.  Instead of keeping track of the money in your head, try putting it in a jar or envelope.  Seeing results will help you stay strong.  Feel free to let people know when you are raising money that you are giving up something you like.  This shows commitment!!

Track Success – Keep track of your progress and goal as you fundraise—this builds momentum and excitement for you and your delegation.

Thank donors – Be sure to thank your donors! Putting together a photo collection of you in action—even wearing a 90 Million Strong Tee-shirt is a creative and informative way of doing this.

Spread the Word– Write a blog or article in your local paper about your participation in in efforts to end the death penalty. Be sure to talk about community support.

Just You?

Check out these tips for individual fundraising!!

Just Make the Ask- Send a fundraising letter/email out to 25 family and friends explaining why you want to go to travel to help abolition efforts and let them know that you need their help.  Ask them to make a donation no matter how small.  Be sure to send them thank you notes and a summary of your trip.

Get your Flight Donated– Do you know someone who flies all the time?  Friends, parents, a professor, uncle, aunt, cousin, community leader— ask them to donate their frequent flyer miles to you.  This will really help out given that flights can be very expensive.

Get Sponsored– Meet with a local community leader or leader of your local or state anti-death penalty group and ask them to “sponsor”.  If your state doesn’t have the death penalty, what better help could your state provide than to send willing workers to a death penalty state that needs your help?

Research Local Scholarship Programs– Research your community scholarship programs for funding options.  Be sure to pay close attention to deadline and requirements.  Many of these resources go untapped!!

Inquire with your Student Government– If you are a student, request funds from student government or student activities. Remember to request funds early in the semester, and ask for more than you think you’ll get (they’ll give you less than you ask for). Many have special funds earmarked for sending students to national events.

Talk with Professors– Request meetings with the directors of academic departments like Women’s Studies, Political Science, African American Studies, Criminal Justice, Latina (o) Studies, Queer Studies, Sociology, and other progressive disciplines to see if they can help to fund your trip.

Make a Speech about the Movement and Raise Funds– Ask your church or local community group to allow you to come in and talk about the movement, your involvement in the movement, and the importance of your participation and becoming more active and involved in ending the death penalty. Take a look at our online resource for abolition activists: Meeting in a Box Toolkit. We provide talking points and model speeches. Then ask them to send around a donation basket.  Send a thank you note to the group!

Use Social Media Tools to reach supporters- Many people are having success using social media tools to tell their stories and solicit support from friends and family. Social media is a great tool to involve your community in your fundraising process. If you make a crowdfunding website, share it regularly on social media with updates about your progress.

In a Campus Group or Church Group?

Perhaps one of these activities could help your efforts!!

Conduct Joint Fundraisers– Partner with a local anti-death penalty group to do a joint fundraiser. Split the proceeds – half can go to them and half towards your trip for abolition. Doing joint fundraiser will allow your group to get to know other progressive leaders and it will also maximize your turnout and profit!!

Make it a Budget Line– If you are a registered student group on a campus or community group, remember when you submit your group’s operating budget for approval, to include a specific request for travel/lodging for abolition efforts.

Create a Sponsorship Program– Ask progressive community groups to sponsor one person.  Give them a rough estimate of how much the trip will cost per attendee. Create a sponsor program and one organization’s members can put money towards sending one or more activists to a state to help abolition efforts. Be sure to go back and report to the sponsoring organization.

 Research Campus Discretionary Funds– Discretionary funds are funds that are set aside and can be used at the discretion of a department head, board member, or even the SGA president among others.  The word resembles “secret” and like the word it resembles these funds are not very public…but they do exist.  You just have to identify them and follow the process of getting approved for them.  There may even be campus budgets that are reserved for student travel to for social justice advocacy or other events- Remember to share information about the educational value of participating in citizen advocacy.

Collaborate with other Groups– Ask other progressive campus groups to help sponsor members of you or your group that are also members of their club.  These members should report back to their group or write an article for their group newsletter/e-letter.

Work with Community Businesses– Ask local small businesses or your congregation to donate fundraising items to  that you can sell or auction or to sponsor you to travel to end the death penalty and expand civil and human rights.

Need Some Creative Ideas?

Try one or all of these fun projects for your fundraising drive!!!  

Showcase Talent– Host an “Art in Resistance” Talent Show and charge for admission and snacks.

Organize a Benefit Show– Ask a local band or artist to put on a Benefit Show and allow proceeds to go towards your delegation.  If your group does not have enough funds to front a show, try asking the band donate a percent of proceeds from a local show or allow you to sell refreshments at a show.

Table, Table, Table – Table at local events including music shows, forums, and parties.  Be sure to have lots of info about the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, and our 90 Million Strong Campaign. We have more online materials in our Meeting in a Box Toolkit.  Here you will find resources for community members who want to involve themselves with the campaign. Give people a flyer with the details of how they can donate.

Partner with a Vendor– Invite a vendor or artist to sell her or his products or books on campus and ask for 20-25% of the proceeds.

Host a Community Bake Sale– You can bake cookies, cakes, pies, or other items.  Ask each member of your group to donate the items and then sell them for a profit.  You can even ask supporters in your community who are really good at baking to donate a cake or pie for your drive.  You can sell one cake for up to $25.00!  Be sure to target places where your items will sell like malls, grocery stores, churches etc.

Wash Cars!!–  This is a classic—enhance your profit by canvassing at stores, meetings, and churches for pre-orders.  Taking orders will guarantee that folks will show up!

Showcase and Sell Activist Art– Hold an activist art show in a school/community gallery and charge admission. You can also host a silent auction during the show.  Get local artists to donate art work to the event.

Party with a Purpose– Who doesn’t like to party? Throw a party at a local club or your school and charge admission.  Proceeds will go to your abolition travel fund.  Remember to cut costs by getting volunteers to DJ, make flyers, and staff the event.

Host a Tournament– Everyone loves to play cards, Playstation, basketball, etc.  What’s popular on your campus or community? Host a tournament and charge a $25 dollar fee for teams.  Be sure to have food and drinks available for players as an extra incentive.  Winning teams could win bragging rights, cash or items that local businesses donate!!


For more information on how you can fight against the death penalty or for assistance action against the death penalty, contact the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty by visiting www.ncadp.org