Charity PR: Fundraising Lessons from The Blues Brothers

Here in the U.S. It’s Labor Day weekend, a time to celebrate the last few sweet bits of summer.

Last night while I sat in a friend’s driveway watching The Blues Brothers on a 16′ x 14′ screen, I got inspired to take a new look at the movie. This time, from a fundraising perspective. In the movie, two brothers – Jake, John Belushi and Elwood, Dan Aykroyd – go on a charity-driven mission to raise the back taxes needed to save the orphanage where they grew up. Roger Ebert described the movie in his review of The Blues Brothers  as the Sherman tank of musicals. See for yourself . . .

Charity PR: Fundraising Lessons from The Blues Brothers

  1. Come up with a unifying and motivating tagline – “We’re on a mission from God” [movie’s taglines]
  2. See the light – look for guidance around you, what do you need to illuminate?
  3. Appeal to alums – who’s benefited from your organization and how can you get them involved?
  4. Set a target goal – in the movie, it’s $5,000 in 11 days
  5. Have a worthy cause – take up a piece at a time
  6. Get a band together – choose talented people who play/work well together
  7. Host an event – people love to get out and be together
  8. Pack the house – decide to fill the venue to the rafters
  9. Lead the chase – accelerate efforts to be visible and the first
  10. Ignore all obstacles – stay focused on what’s ahead, don’t look in the rear view mirror
  11. Mount a huge loudspeaker – blare your message out so everyone can hear it
  12. Don’t be afraid to mix with the high society crowd – drop in and fit in where they are
  13. Attract attention – entice people to follow you
  14. Be flexible – keep back-up plans ready to go
  15. Leave the stage with the show going on – let the crowd keep rocking your message for you
  16. Take advantage of opportunities – look for uncharacteristic places to reach out and connect
  17. Be a crossover artist – seek out people and places that might be part of your community
  18. Drive a cop car – supercharge your efforts to vault over obstacles and lead the pack
  19. Wear sunglasses – shade the glare so you can see the bright side

Your Turn

What’s your top Blues Brothers takeaway? What have you tried that works consistently?

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