Becoming a Fundraiser

By Emily Reineke

I’ve always hated asking for money. The first time I ever asked for money was to help fund a service trip in college. Since I didn’t know any better, I sent short (and probably very cryptic) emails to my family and friends and awkwardly asked for a check. That was my first (and last) fundraising experience.

Since that fateful day 8 years ago, I have avoided asking for money. That is, until I became Board Chair of YNPNdc and we were awarded a match grant from the The Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation. This grant specified that if YNPNdc can raise $5,000 from individual donors, The Cafritz Foundation will match the $5,000 donation. While I was thrilled about this opportunity for YNPNdc and excited about expanding our donor base, the college kid inside of me was petrified that this venture would be a failure like the last time I asked for money.

Baring my hesitancy, and after soliciting advice from a few good friends, I decided that the only way I was going to get better at asking for money was to do it. So, I did, and after a year of talking about this match grant and asking for donations, I’ve learned a few things. The most important of which is that asking for a donation isn’t a burden, it’s a blessing. When you ask for a donation, you give others the opportunity to make an impact. I was surprised that a lot of people were happy to donate, and honored that I reached out to them to ask.

The other top 5 lessons learned include:

  1. Your network is larger than you think, and people are more generous than you think
  2. If you are passionate about your cause, people want to donate to help you succeed
  3. Each time you ask for a donation, it becomes easier and more comfortable
  4. If you don’t ask, you will never receive; ask and keep asking
  5. A lot of people will not donate, but you can still reach your goals

So with two months left and about $1,500 left to raise to reach our goal, I’d like to ask you to donate $10, $15, or $20 to help YNPNdc continue offering networking and professional development opportunities for the greater DC nonprofit community; your donation makes a big difference.


Emily Reineke finished her term as YNPNdc Board Chair on August 1, 2014. She currently works for NASPAA: The Global Standard in Public Service Education and is passionate about changing the world through service. Follow her on twitter @kroywen23.

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