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Supercharge your fundraising with febfast champion John Albrecht

John Albrecht has fundraised for febfast each year for 15 years, often raising over $10,000. Here are his top tips for boosting your fundraising efforts.

When it comes to charity fundraisers – think febfast, Run for the Kids etc. – it’s often the money-raising bit that’s the hardest. We diligently clear out the booze from the house, or head out for 6am runs before work. Then, at the last minute, we remember we’re supposed to be raising money. Whoops! We fire off a message to the family group chat and sheepishly walk around the office asking for gold coins. By the end, we’re chuffed if we’ve raised a few hundred dollars. And don’t get us wrong – every dollar really does count. But if you’re keen to raise a bit more next time, you need to hear from John Albrecht.

For his day job, John Albrecht runs Victoria’s oldest auction house, Leonard Joel. It’s a pretty big job, but in his spare time, he’s managed to raise over $10,000 for YSAS each year for 15 years, through our febfast fundraiser. febfast involves giving up alcohol for February. The money goes towards our programs supporting young people in Victoria dealing with drug and alcohol use, their mental health and the criminal justice system. John says he was initially motivated to pause alcohol after a “busy, fun summer”, but the added benefit of raising money for YSAS fuels his efforts. “As I am a father too, I really connect with their work with youth,” he says. “That I find tremendously inspiring.”

So how has John managed to raise so much money, year after year?

Reach out far and wide

Thanks to his work in the auctioneering world, John has a pretty unique list of contacts. He’s quick to point out that it’s an unfair advantage, but boy, does he use it well. “The business interacts with thousands of people,” he says. “I made a decision early on to reach out to clients and friends and tell them that I’m raising funds for a great cause.” He says even if you don’t run a business, everyone has people – in their family, at work, in the broader community – they could be reaching out to. 

Make it personal

John doesn’t just send through a generic email using the febfast email template. He writes his own emails throughout the month, including personal updates and celebrations of generous donors. He tries to keep the copy and imagery engaging and also throws in an incentive: if you donate more than $100, you get a free subscription to one of Leonard Joel’s publications. “No disrespect to email templates, I think they’re a great starting point,” he says. “I’d encourage febfasters to use that as a building block to then make their fundraising much more personal, much more about them, much more about their community.”

Make fundraising fun

John insists he’s not competitive, but he does get a kick out of setting – and beating –  his own fundraising goals. “I get a buzz out of the random and unpredictable nature of donating over the month, “ he says. “I find it really inspiring when the donations come in.” Getting a bit competitive with yourself is a great way to make fundraising a bit more…well, fun. He also loves the challenge of giving up alcohol. “There are practical health benefits to this fundraiser, and once I’m on board, I know I’m committed.” Plus the more people you tell, the harder it becomes to break the fast!

It feels good to do good

Of course, knowing the money will help people who need it is the biggest motivator. “I find fundraising really nourishing,” he says. John recently visited two of YSAS’ sites: headspace in Frankston, which supports young people with their mental health, and the Bunjilwarra Koori Youth Healing Service, a safe space for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people struggling with their drug and alcohol use. “I’m just profoundly moved by the human beings that occupy these organisations and work with human beings who are struggling,” he says. “That’s what motivates me.”

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