Effective Fundraising Guide – A Force for Good!
By Marty Miserandino
Fit Werx, Rider First Bike Fitting. Rider Matched Bike Sales.
Over the past nine years I’m proud to say that I have individually raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for various charities including the American Diabetes Association. As our clients and friends prepare for upcoming events, such as the New England Parkinson’s Ride in September, I thought it would be a great time to share some tips.
I’m always asked, “How do you effectively raise funds for a charity ride?” In my opinion, it’s easier than many people think. The number one reason people don’t get the support they hope for is that they don’t ask and/or they don’t ask enough. Here are a few low effort-high impact ideas that will help you reach your fund raising goals:
- First and foremost, Get Motivated! If you are not passionate about the cause your success will be limited.
- Second, answer the following questions in advance in your mind so that you have a good “script” when talking to family and friends about the ride:
- How has the thing the ride benefits impacted my life? Cancer? Diabetes? Hunger?
- Why am I involved in the event?
- How has the the thing the ride benefits positively impacted my life or the lives of my family and friends?
- What would I ask others do to help with this cause?
Now that you’re pumped, start telling EVERYONE you know that you’re taking on this awesome challenge, but DON’T ask them for anything…yet.
- Use Facebook, Twitter, etc. and start posting snippets/facts about the cause, the event, your training, etc. You want to make sure that your friends and followers know what you are up to. This is asking without asking! Here’s an example of a post: “What a great 25 mile ride today! I can’t wait for the NE Parkinson’s Ride on September 10th!” And then post the link to your fundraising site.
Think of this as getting your contacts ready for “the ask”. They’ll see your dedication and want to help you succeed.
- Personalize your fundraising link. This is very important!! A bland, cookie-cutter page just doesn’t cut it. Tell your story, post pictures and change it up from time to time. Show your passion!
If you have done the previous four tips, you’re finally ready to start asking… Here are some tips on how to ask effectively.
- Email: You’ll need to send your emails up to ten times! Yup, one or even two emails won’t do it. You may have to send up to ten unique emails to finally get the donation. If you get a donation after the first, great, take them off your list. If someone says they can’t donate, take them off the list, but otherwise, keep asking. The last email you send should be the week of the event with an impassioned plea to support a great cause that you believe in.
Not every “ask” email has to be a direct ask. As a matter of fact, sometimes it’s better to show how the cause touches you personally and that will remind people how important this is to you. For example, if you have friends or family who have been afflicted with cancer, write something like,
“Dear John Doe,
Two years ago my mother passed away after a fight with cancer. Although we knew cancer would take her eventually, her passing was unexpected. Please take a moment and tell the people you care most about that you love them. You just never know when that opportunity will be gone. Thank you for your support of the Prouty to benefit the Norris Cotton Cancer Center. We ride together for one cause.
If not, or if you want a more direct “ask”, try something like,
“Hi everyone…. This year I’m cycling 100 miles as part of the Tour de Cure to benefit the ADA’s fight against diabetes on July 13th. Almost all of us can think of people who we have lost or who have fought battles with diabetes. I’m riding in honor of my friend Julie, who was recently diagnosed with diabetes and is starting to manage her situation and making the changes she needs to in her life to take on the disease.
If you already donated this year thank you! If you have not, but want to support the person/people you know I encourage your support. It’s as simple as donating to my efforts or riding with us. Thank you for your past support and your consideration in supporting us this year and for Making a Difference!
- Facebook: Every time I get a donation I post a unique “thank you” on Facebook. An example is, “A gigantic thank you to Jane Doe for donating $100 to my ride. I couldn’t do it without you!” or “Jane Doe is a Rock Star for donating to the Harpoon Point to Point to benefit the Vermont Foodbank!” Again, include a link to your personalized fundraising site with each of these… This doesn’t take long and keeps your message out there constantly. Another Facebook technique… do the countdown. Post something like, “Only $575 left to reach my goal! I wonder who will bring me over the top? Thank you!”
- Set-up for next year! Thank people after the ride… Make sure you thank people with the same passion as the ask. A personalized note with a picture of you from the ride is a great way to say “thank you” and will often make it all the easier next time you ask.
Believe it or not most people want to help, but don’t feel they can do it themselves. You are their conduit to helping others and that is a great honor.
Thank you for making a difference and I hope these tips help you reach your goals!
Marty Miserandino is co-owner of Fit Werx. Fit Werx is a bike shop and bike fitting studio started in 2001 with locations in Waitsfield, VT, Peabody & Lexington , MA and Ridgefield Park, NJ (near NYC ). Fit Werx offers bikes, cycling products, service and bicycle fitting services for new and existing bikes. Contact information as well as a video that tells the Fit Werx story can found at www.fitwerx.com. Fit Werx invites you to reach out and ask questions and to always take a Rider First approach to bike selection; make sure that you have a bike fit in advance of buying a new bike and use that information to help you find the bikes that fit your individual needs best.