'Convince Them in 90 Seconds' by Nicholas Boothman

'Convince Them in 90 Seconds' by Nicholas Boothman

From the new book, Convince Them in 90 Seconds, by Nicholas Boothman on how a small fundraiser used celebrities:

“The directors of a small elementary school in Ontario wanted to move out of the church basement they’d been borrowing and into a building of their own.

They’d held fund-raisers before, but those hadn’t amounted to much, and were dependent on support mainly from the students’ families and alumni. Next, they tried silent auctions – selling off goods and services solicited from local businesses – but they still weren’t raising enough money. Out of tried-and-true ideas, they decided to change what they’d been doing and try something completely different.

The fund-raising committee enlisted the help of some local professionals – entrepreneurs, a PR agency, a golfer, and a few merchants – to look at their options. At the meeting they decided how much money they wanted and what was reasonable to expect. They decided that their goal would be $25,000 in the first year, and at least $3,000 more per year for the next ten years.

What came out of the meeting was the school’s first annual golf tournament. They wanted it not only to raise money but also to make enough of a splash that more people would become aware of the school. So, they called it Whole-in-One Golf Tournament, highlighting the school’s mission – to educate the whole child – as well as the tournament.

They knew they wouldn’t succeed if this were just another golf tournament, so they figured out how to make it look unique and professional, rather than like a glorified bake sale. They convinced the captain of the fire department and the police chief to take part. But these two distinguished gents weren’t enough to generate big-time interest, so they, in turn, convinced some of the local celebrities, including a famous rock musician who lived in the area, to take part.

When twelve local merchants each offered prices worth a minimum of a thousand dollars to anyone who got a whole in one, the fund-raisers knew that they’d made it.

From the day they started fund-raising, this group knew what they wanted; over the years, they found out what they were getting; and they changed what they were doing until they got what they wanted. Because they adhered to the KFC model, the tournament exceeded its goals in the first year. The directors gained feedback from the event and are already looking at a promising “second annual event.”

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