While studying at the University of Maryland, Melissa Frankenberry raised more than $30,000 for Students Helping Honduras. She did it mostly through letter writing fundraising. In this episode, she breaks down her process step-by-step and talks about facing her own fears when making the ask.

Show notes for Melissa Frankenberry

  • Melissa Frankenberry first heard about SHH at UMD’s First Look Fair where 500+ clubs on campus try to recruit members
  • She was actually looking for Habitat for Humanity and instead joined SHH!
  • She knew very little about Honduras
  • She remembers the upperclassmen members like Nahal, Kristin, Peter, Brandon
  • Melissa still remembers the first meeting still
  • She volunteered in Honduras four times while at UMD
  • Honduras was Melissa’s first exposure to a developing country
  • She worked at Balsamo village during her freshman and senior year
  • She worked hard selling grilled cheese in front of bars during weekends
  • Melissa used www.fundaround.com to create an online fundraising page
  • “It’s really scary asking people for money.”
  • The first thing she did was craft a long email message to her family and friends that she sent out as fundraising letters
  • She sent the fundraising emails and letters out to her immediate circle
  • It wasn’t as bad as she had imagined
  • Her father’s business clients got involved and donated
  • She customized the messages of each letter to personalize them
  • Photos and videos were critical
  • At first she wrote it “straight from the heart” but it ended up being too long
  • She placed the link to her fundraising page at the very beginning of the letter and not at the end
  • The subject line of the emails was important. For example, saying Students Helping Honduras instead of SHH was helpful
  • Follow up phone calls and emails after each campaign was critical
  • There is a Fundaround “hack” that Melissa did. She used a photo collage for each of the photo boxes, to increase the number of total photos she could post!
  • Showing your passion is critical for fundraising success
  • “Don’t just half-ass on the fundraising.” -Melissa Frankenberry
  • “Don’t be afraid to ask for donations. People want to help.” -Melissa Frankenberry