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The Accidental Fundraiser: A Step-by-Step Guide to Raising Money for Your Cause

ISBN: 978-0-7879-7805-1
336 pages
September 2005, Jossey-Bass
The Accidental Fundraiser: A Step-by-Step Guide to Raising Money for Your Cause (0787978051) cover image


Are you a volunteer with an organization, school, or project that needs to raise money? The Accidental Fundraiser is a how-to resource that guides you through the process of raising money from your community. The book presents eleven proven fundraising strategies that are easy to carry out and don’t require significant funds, large numbers of people, or extensive knowledge of fundraising. The authors, Stephanie Roth and Mimi Ho, show how to choose the right fundraising strategy (from house parties to bowl-a-thons) and include step-by-step instructions for carrying out all of the activities. In addition, The Accidental Fundraiser contains a wealth of worksheets and practical tips.
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Table of Contents



How to Get the Most from This Book.

PART ONE: Fundraising ABCs.

One You Can Ask for Money.

Two Building Your Fundraising Team.

Three The Importance of “Thank-You”.

Four Beyond One-Time Fundraising.

PART TWO: Fundraising Strategies.

Asking People.

Five The Personal Ask.

Six Phonebanks.

Seven Door-to-Door Fundraising.

Social Gatherings.

Eight House Parties.

Nine Community Dinners.

Ten Bowlathons and Other Pledge-Raising Events.

Eleven Auctions.


Twelve Ad Books.

Thirteen Car Washes.

Fourteen Raffles.

Fifteen Garage Sales.



A. Volunteer Recruitment Form.

B. Who Can You Ask?

C. Tips on Asking Individuals for Money.

D. Tips for Making a Pitch at an Event.

E. Volunteer Tracking Sheet.

F. For More Information.

G. Blank Worksheets,Workplans, and Scripts.

The Authors.

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Author Information

Stephanie Roth, trainer and consultant in fundraising and board development, is the editor of the Grassroots Fundraising Journal and has written articles for a number of leading nonprofit periodicals. In addition, Roth was a founder of the Grassroots Institute for Fundraising Training.

Mimi Ho is the program director of the Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN). Previously, Ho worked as an organizer and codirector of Californians for Justice.

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"The Accidental Fundraiser fills a big gap on my shelf of indispensable books on fundraising. I've been waiting for years for someone to write this book, so I could stop hemming and hawing when people ask me how to raise money for their PTA or local theater group. Stephanie Roth and Mimi Ho have produced a common-sense, down-to-earth guide that's based on years of solid experience in grassroots fundraising. It's easy to read and full of forms and checklists that will show the most inexperienced fundraiser the path to success."
--Mal Warwick, Mal Warwick & Associates

"The Accidental Fundraiser is a quick and easy guide for the unsophisticated fundraising volunteer (like me!). The examples in each of the fundraising strategies were specific and realistic and the forms were quite useful.  Fundraising can be an uncomfortable and sometimes overwhelming task but the book gives a clear process to follow that will give confidence to even the fundraising novice."
--Susan Shub, PTA treasurer, Montclair Elementary School

"The Accidental Fundraiser is like a cookbook, complete with step-by-step recipes for fabulously delicious--and successful--fundraisers. It will turn the kitchen novice into a gourmet fundraiser."
--Robby Rodriguez, executive director, Southwest Organizing Project

"The Accidental Fundraiser is a testimonial that people find a way to make a difference--even if it only starts with a car wash or a garage sale. Buy it and remind yourself: anything is possible."
--Pilar Gonzales, president, Changemakers Foundation

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