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So You’ve Signed Up for a Charity Run: How to Raise Money
Community engagement takes a variety of forms, from volunteering to fundraising, though the latter can be intimidating. If you’re interested in an event or campaign where participants are asked to fundraise for a cause and you’re unsure about what that even entails or how best to do that… well, we’re here to help.
Anytime you try something new, and especially when you’re asking for something from people around you, it can feel overwhelming. But whatever reason you have for wanting to support a cause, that conviction will come through. In letting people into your journey, you’re allowing them to support that cause themselves and this can be especially impactful for those who are unable to fully participate in the event itself.
Without further ado, welcome to your starter to fundraising! We’re so glad to have you.
The McGroarty family created a team to do a 5K run for their Activity Challenge Fundraiser.
Set Small Goals
Raising money can feel like a big endeavor. It can help to break a big goal into smaller weekly or monthly goals, which can be amounts of money or involve tasks like sending emails or setting up a fundraising page. Splitting a big goal — raising funds — into smaller tasks will make the big goal more manageable and can help you organize what needs to get done.
Finding someone (or a couple people) to participate in your fundraiser can help you raise more money, come up with ideas, split tasks up, and can be a lot of fun! Partners can also help motivate and keep each other accountable. If you don’t have someone in your life who wants to participate, see if the organizers of your event have a way to network with other participants.
Two supporters wave signs at the annual Yorkville 5K run.
It’s a good idea to start fundraising as early as you can. This gives you plenty of time to reach your goal and means you won’t be stressed as the deadline approaches. It’s also good to know whether your organization lets you continue to raise funds after the event is over.
Make It Personal
It’s important to be able to articulate why this cause matters to you. Is there a personal connection? Do you have a story you want to share? Can you include pictures of yourself? People want to donate to you so it’s good to be able to tell people why you’ve chosen this cause. It can also help entice people to donate money to your cause if you can tell them how their money will make an impact or what particular program or service their money will be funding.
Wing and Alex, pictured here, created Smileage, a clothing brand to raise funds and awareness about mental health
Don’t Be Scared To Ask For Money
It may seem silly to say not to be scared to ask for money in an article about how to ask for money, but it can be really intimidating! It’s OK if it feels uncomfortable or awkward. Most people, though, will be inspired by your passion and will be glad to have some guidance on how to help their community. They might even connect to your story or organization and want to participate, as well!
Use Various Methods To Publicize Your Fundraising
Try starting with close contacts by sending direct messages, emails, or talking in person. This way you can practice your story, build confidence asking, build up a solid donation base, and get feedback. Then, you can start to spread the word more broadly using social media. Use as many platforms as you have available but it’s OK to focus on those you’re most comfortable with.
Social media is a great tool to get the word out!
Don’t Pressure Anyone Into Donating
When you’re asking your community for donations, it’s important to not pressure anyone into donating and to make it clear that any amount someone can give is meaningful and appreciated. Always give people the option to donate or not and make it clear that any support, even just passing the word along, is important.
Make It Easy For People To Donate
If people want to donate to your cause, make it easy for them! Always include the instructions or link to donate in any e-mail or post you make and ensure that it works.
Include as much information as you can about the cause. Physical booths at events are a great way to do this!
Donate To Yourself
If you are able, donating to yourself shows that you care about and are invested in your cause and will inspire others to join you. Donating a larger amount may inspire others to do the same but any amount will demonstrate your commitment and set a benchmark for others to follow. It also looks good if you have at least one donation when people visit your donation page.
Vary Your Asks With New Pictures, Angles, and Updates
Instead of sending the same story or message over and over, think of ways to vary your posts and emails to keep people interested and updated. Adding new pictures, quotes, or fundraising updates will keep people, whether they’ve donated yet or not, invested in your cause.
Keep your audience engaged and interested with giveaways or awards! Pictured here, the McGroarty family gives out awards after their golf fundraiser.
Raise Your Goal If You’re Getting Close
If you’re getting close to your fundraising goal, you should raise your goal to inspire people to continue donating. If someone was planning on donating $50 but you are only $10 away from your goal, they may only donate $10. Similarly, people might not be inclined to donate if you’ve already reached your goal. Don’t be afraid to keep changing it!
There Is Nothing Wrong With Following Up
You may feel like you’re pestering people by following up, but people will appreciate reminders. Someone may have the intention of donating but simply forgot and will be glad you reminded them. And don’t forget to include the donation link every time!
Say Thank You!
Be sure to always say thank you when someone donates to your cause. You can say thank you at the time or at the end of the fundraiser. It doesn’t have to be complicated but a short message or note will go a long way.