A Strong Fundraiser’s Advice: Keep at it

When it comes to fundraising for AIDS Walk, the team at Cafe Trio is tough to beat. This year, they’ve managed to raise more than $10,000, including nearly $3,000 raised by one person. That would be David Maschmeier, and he sat down recently with Camp to talk about his involvement with AIDS Walk and share some of his fundraising secrets.

“The reason why I got involved with AIDS Walk,” he said, “is because I feel like it’s near and dear to me because I was diagnosed with HIV back in 2009. So it’s a way for me to give back to a great cause. I feel like without these kinds of organizations, I wouldn’t be here today.”

Maschmeier said that AIDS service organizations “help people figure out what they need to do next. … They set up plans for them. They’ve helped me tremendously throughout my treatment, and this is just the biggest way that I have been able to get the treatment that I was needing.”

Maschmeier joined the Cafe Trio team as an employee. “There are about 10 people on the team, I would say. … I feel like we have a pretty small team, actually, but we’re pretty aggressive in our fundraising. Cafe Trio as a restaurant is a really great restaurant. They love to give back to the community, they love to help us in our fundraising, so that’s a bit key. Without Cafe Trio as a restaurant, we wouldn’t be able to do this as well.”

He said that Jody Denny, as captain of the team, is a critical part of the effort. “I have to give him the credit for having our team be as big a success as it is. Because without him being captain, we wouldn’t be where we are in fundraising. He’s just as much as involved with AIDS Walk as I am, if not more. So he’s a really, really big supporter in the cause, and he is the brains behind the operation. And I just try to help him as much as I possibly can.”

Maschmeier said the team recently had its Movie and Martini Night fundraiser, where they raised about $1,500. “We’re hoping to get more people every year for that. That seems to be our biggest fundraising draw, other than online,” he said.

Online fundraising is one of the principal tools that Maschmeier uses to bring in donations. “I post on Facebook just about every day. I’m sure people are getting sick of my Facebook posts. But it’s shown to work, so persistence is the key.”

This year, he said, he went through his lists of everybody who donated to him last year and messaged them on Facebook to let them know that he was starting up his fundraising and had set up his fundraising page. He told each person how much he would appreciate it if they contributed.

“Every single person whom I messaged donated,” he said, “so that’s a really big key to my fundraising this year.”

When asked what he would tell a person looking to improve their fundraising, his answer is immediate. “Persistence, persistence, persistence. Just continue to post every day — if not every day, every other day — showing that you’re really involved and really dedicated to it. … Talk to friends and family, because my family has been really great in donating as well.”

In asking for donations, he said, “I just try to plant the seed, but don’t push. Because if you try to push people, then that makes them feel obligated. I always [want that> when it’s a donation, it’s people wanting to give, not feeling like they have to give. That’s the biggest thing that I’ve found key is: Don’t push.”

He is already planning his 2015 campaign: “I’ve been thinking — next year what I was going to do is, maybe I’m going to mail out a thank-you to all the people who donated to my page and just let them know that I was starting up my fundraising again.

“It’s really easy to email people. I’m going to try to get a little more personal.”

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