With the success of the Run for Boston 5k, a lot of you have been asking me for fundraising tips. Here are some things I learned while raising over $10,000 at the Run for Boston and over $6,000 individually for the JDRF.
1. Pick a cause you’re passionate about. This is THE most important thing to consider. When I raised money for the JDRF, I was passionate about the cause because I was running in memory of my Mom, a lifelong Diabetic. Run for Boston was near and dear to my heart because it was my chance to raise money to help a cause that I was emotionally connected to finish.
2. Create a contact database. Before you ask for donations, create your contact database. This should include almost everyone you know, both personal and professional.
3. Start early. As soon as you start your training and/or planning your race, start asking for donations. There is a certain energy that happens when you start fundraising and people will feel that and want to donate. Also- the more time you have, the more you can raise!
4. Set a lofty goal. Go big or go home. In my opinion, lofty goals motivate you to succeed in life. The same thing goes for fundraising.
5. Share this goal with your donors and challenge them to help you reach it. Every step of the way, keep your contact list tuned into how close you are to your goal- use percentages and dollar amounts to motivate them to donate. Saying “I’m $500 away from reaching my goal!” may inspire someone to donate $500 instead of the $400 they were willing to donate.
6. Be professional. Treat your fundraising project as professionally as you would a work project. Write professional letters asking your contacts to donate. Follow up. Set deadlines. Good business practices apply to fundraising as well.
7. Ask often, but not too often. When I raised money as an individual, I had five months to raise money so I sent out an email to my contact list on the first of every month counting down to my race. I created Facebook statuses on the first and fifteenth of the month giving and update and urging people to donate. (close to pay day) The week leading up to the race, I sent out daily reminders.
8. Say thank you to each and every donor. It’s important for your donors to know how much their donations mean to you. Every time I received a donation, I would send a thank you e-mail to the donor. If they were on Facebook, I would send out a status saying thanks and tagging them to spread the goodwill. After my marathon, I sent out thank you notes in the mail telling everyone I completed the race and how much I raised for the JDRF. (if you’re using an online service, they usually have a feature that will allow you to download your donor address list)
9. Hold yourself accountable to your donors. As important as it is to say thank you, your donors will also want to know that you earned the money and held up to your end of the bargain. For the Run for Boston, this meant sending out a recap of the event, the total amount raised and a thank you for helping us reach our goal. For my marathon, I started this blog to show my donors that I was actually training. (if you go back to 2011, you can see that my blog started out as simply posting my training runs!) I also sent out an email letting my donors know that I finished the raised and the total of how much I raised.
10. Keep perspective. Keep in mind everything you’re doing is for charity. If you don’t reach your goal, you’re still doing an amazing thing. The cause you’re raising money for will benefit from every dollar you raise. Do your best and have fun!
Have you ever ran for charity? Any other tips I missed?
Are you currently raising money? What’s the cause!?
Any questions for me on fundraising?