Golden lessons learned raising $5,000 with IM for charity...

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I just got back from a trip to Haiti with a group of 21 other volunteers, and each of us raised $5,000 to help build a community centre to house orphans, educate them, provide microfinance loans, and feed them from a fish pond in the yard.

It was an eye-opening experience -- both the trip to Haiti and the tremendous effort it took to get there.

I'll be upfront: I've been in and out of IM. I've made more than enough to cover my bills on a consistent basis for some time, and I've done nothing for other stretches of time (especially while in school). I'm not a millionaire.

But I think it's worth sharing these nuggets, because someone might just benefit from them... I'm also putting in examples of my own stupidity for the fun of it. :p

And another note before I start: you might not want to, or might not be able to, donate all the money you make to charity. That's perfectly fine. I'm not waving my hands and being all, "everyone should be a poor monk" here. We all need to pay rent. That's why I'm going to try to keep these tips general and not fundraising-specific.

Selling is selling, whether you're selling yourself or the cause.

1. Set a meaningful goal!
Dennis Becker and Michael Gunn taught me this, though they might not even know it.

When I got to a point with my academic career where I could handle working alongside it, my goal was simply, "Get back into IM." Am I a moron?!?! Quite possibly. But this is probably the reason I've struggled to get back into it. "Get back to where I was" isn't much of a goal.

Having to raise $5,000? That was a concrete number, and a scary one. To make it even more scary, I pledged to donate 100% of my income until I reached the goal. While you might not be able to afford that, if you're earning money for your own cause (yourself ), donate all your income to yourself. Don't "reinvest" it unless what you're doing is ACTUALLY making you money, not buying you courses on how to maybe make money.

The goal also included the "why I really NEED to" component; I needed to raise that amount to qualify for the fundraising team, and I needed to be one of the first forty to do so. It turned out that fewer than forty qualified, but it was still the pressure of a competition.

I motivated myself by focusing on each $50 raised as another 1% towards my goal. I even kept a dorky "thermometer" in my forum sig files and on my computer.

Now that it's over, I have to come up with another compelling reason why I should be doing this. It has to be something emotional -- something that makes me energized immediately, sick to the stomach thinking about not doing it.

Since I'm moving out of school rez to my own place soon, it's probably going to be something along the lines of: "Earn [enough to pay my bills every month], because I need to not get kicked out or leave my roommate to pay all the bills... and I don't want to ever work for a corporation that will screw me over, depress me, and suck up all my spare time again."

Oh yeah, that could work. I'll probably refine it more, but that gives you an idea. (And yes, I'm doing this real-time as I post this thread.)

2. Give yourself money-making tasks.
Screwing around on Twitter won't make money. Simple enough idea, hard in practice.

I spent way too much time trapped in info overload AGAIN... even though I've already been through this stage and broken it to achieve consistent success.

Yep, slap that moron label right here, please.

I generated ideas, went to forums for advice and more ideas, and made a list of the ones that would work. I picked my favourites and ran with them. Simple as that.

No, I didn't spend endless time generating ideas. I just wrote down what came to mind, picked my favourites, and used them. I didn't focus on perfecting them, either.

I'm going to strive to keep doing this.

I've come up with my huge to-do list so I can "store" those little tasks that matter and complete them on a regular basis along with the rest of my to-do list, forget about the ones that don't matter, and balance stuff that doesn't immediately make money with stuff that does.

Also, I have some more ideas to try out, and one big thing in progress. I NEED to stop being paralyzed by fear and push myself to keep doing money-making tasks.

3. Cut that noise!
Coming up with plans to do stuff other than troll Twitter is awesome. Now try reminding yourself about them every single day.

Oh, the embarrassment. Just like before, I fell into the same traps of making a plan, thinking about it, and deciding to start it after I checked Facebook.

I had no time to sit around twiddling my thumbs. I used Leechblock in extreme cases to prevent myself from accessing Facebook and my favourite forums easily (I could open another browser, but I regularly use Firefox so it would take extra time to open, during which I could go "what am I doing?!" and close it again). I downloaded Vitamin E, a program for Macs that's been the best productivity program EVER for me.

When I had a task to do, I cut that noise until I finished the task.

I'm keeping this up! Vitamin E has been great for me, so I'm going to keep using it for work segments. I'm also going to be cutting back once again on social media, and I've already come up with that list of stuff to do.

When something occurs to me, I'll write it on the list and keep doing whatever I was doing to generate income.

4. Follow through every time.
I still struggle with this more than anything else. It's possibly the one thing stopping my business from growing madly.

Ooh, awesome method. Hey, let me see if I can do this. La de da. Hey, it's kind of hard, and there's this other method that takes a shorter time...

There's one big project I didn't follow through with, because it wasn't guaranteed to make me immediate money like the method I chose and did follow through with. One big idea I came up with could have helped, if I followed through. Overall, my follow-through was better, though.

You can bet I'm picking up that project again, dusting it off, and getting it released! After that buy button is floating out there, I can concentrate on the other great idea I had. One thing at a time, and I will improve my follow-through.

I'm also getting an accountability partner, since I noticed that the public humiliation of not crossing the $5K line after I'd sworn to would be quite great. (PM me if you're interested and we can ask each other questions -- I'd like to try it out for a week so I can find the perfect one without offending you if we're not compatible.)

This is probably my weakest point, as I've already said, but the people who master it go on to be gazillionaires. Or at least make plenty of money. Jason Fladlien and his "sit down and don't get up" method in particular is what I mean.

Maybe this helped you out... or maybe it just sounded like a lot of guilt-tripping. Either way, when you simplify what worked for you to its bare bones, what tips do you come up with?
#charity #golden #learned #lessons #raising

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