How Nonprofit Board Members and Donors Can Fundraise from an Exercise Bike

Nonprofit board members get all tied up in knots when it comes to fundraising. But fundraising is easier than it’s ever been! In this short video, Fundraising Coach Marc A. Pitman shows you how he spread the word about his favorite nonprofit’s campaign for a new van.

You’ll discover how you can:

  • make your post more compelling than the nonprofit’s ever could be;
  • make the already good story even more compelling by using information already on the nonprofit’s website; and
  • fundraise for your favorite nonprofit at your convenience without irritating your friends!

This video contains actual screenshots of the process and the actual words and phrases he used!

You can read more about Embracing Hope Ethiopia’s van on their site at:

The Fundraising 101 class for board members and “accidental” fundraisers is filled with even more extremely practical ideas on how you can help your nonprofit. Check it out at:

Complete Transcript of the Embracing Hope Ethiopia video

Hi, this is Marc Pitman with with a quick tip for board members and volunteers on how you can fundraise for your favorite nonprofit without leaving your exercise bike.

This is the exercise bike I was on this morning. And I was reading through my screen of my social media stuff on my phone, which I always do while I’m on my bike, and I found a post from one of my favorite nonprofits, Embracing Hope Ethiopia. You can see here that Jerry Shannon had posted this particular image of a van and saying, “Help us buy our van.” Being a good supporter, we’ve been donating to them for years, I wanted to just share it, and I was going to share it with a message.

I was going to write something nice about it. But before I did that, I realized I’d better click on the link just to see what does it say. It’s just a good habit to do. So I clicked on the link, and I was reading through about how the van is going to help them in all the work that they do and the 200 kids in the project, and it reminded me why I love this particular cause.

So I did this on my phone in Facebook, but I started writing this letter. It may seem like just a van, but your donation’s really helping prevent orphans in Addis Ababa Kore’ slum. And I went through about how Embracing Hope Ethiopia has successfully been helping mothers, giving kids, giving moms, etc. I went to paste it into the timeline here, into my post on my phone, but then I just decided to check their home page. I’m so glad I did.

Look at these stunning pictures. Look at this. When on your phone, these pictures here are all individual. They’re lined up vertically. And I saw a “Sponsor Yeref’s Family.” Oh my goodness. What a great picture of a kid.

So then I went through, and I took a whole different approach to their fundraising. I went from Embracing Hope Ethiopia, just a van, Embracing Hope Ethiopia’s doing all this great stuff to, “It may seem like just a van, but your donation is helping prevent 2-year-old Yeref from becoming the next orphan in Addis Ababa Kore’ slum.”

And I talk about Yeref and his mother Tarik, which is already on the Embracing Hope Ethiopia website, and I talk about giving these mothers a peace of mind. You can just see Yeref, Yeref, Tarik. Yeref and Tarik already have enough instability in their lives. Yeref and his mother, don’t just give them the gift of safe transportation, but give Yeref and his mother the gift of safe, dependable transportation.

Gave the two giving links. They have it on their own page, on their own donation page, as well as on their Crowdrise page. And then I had something that I found in the article that was already on the nonprofit site. It was maybe having a youth group devote some fundraising to this cause or a yard sale to support this.

So I put that in there, and it was hard. I had to keep it focused on the van, because people only can take one call to action at a time, and although I’d love them to support the entire nonprofit, I needed to have them just support the van. So once you’ve done that, you can tell others about little Yeref and his mother. Would you tell them about little Yeref and his mother Tarik? Isn’t that more compelling than just telling them about a great nonprofit? Tell them about this 2-year-old and his mom.

You could inspire a youth group to raise additional support, to help kids like Yeref, or a neighbor to dedicate her yard sale to help mothers like Tarik. Do you see how personalizing it made it so it was something that you could actually share?

But then I wanted to make sure people remembered to give their own gift first. Right now. So that’s what I ended up typing, all this on my phone. I’m doing it on my desktop now because it’s even easier, but I typed it on my phone, made sure it was all in there. I wanted to put Yeref’s comment or his picture here where the van is, but I couldn’t because I couldn’t also add a picture at the same time. And then I just clicked Share Link, and it was shared to my timeline.

Isn’t that an empowering way for you as a board member or a volunteer to just be a donor to a cause, to help your nonprofit? It took me maybe 30 minutes on my stationary bike. If I were at my desktop, it would take even less.

Your passion is what makes the connection. The nonprofit has all their stuff out there, but they don’t necessarily communicate it as well as we can. We can because we’re not so close to the details. We don’t know why vans cost so much in Ethiopia. We don’t know all the different ins and outs that they do. That’s why they’re there. That’s why they’re doing such good work.

But we know why we give. We know it’s because they’re keeping families together, or you’re conserving land, or you’re spaying and neutering animals. Whatever it is that drives you to a cause is what your friends want to hear about when you share it on social media. And when you do that, make sure to drive them to a link to actually give the donation. I almost forgot that in the original. I almost expected them to know to click through to the blog. Doesn’t work that way. People can’t read our minds.

So make sure you include the link to the actual giving page in your update. But if you do that, you’ll be supporting your favorite cause and helping them fundraise and get all the funding they really deserve. You can do that right now. In fact, why don’t you do it right now?

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