Effective Fundraising How To – A Force for Good!

This is a guest post by Marty Miserandino, Owner of Fit Werx, Road and Triathlon Cycling Specialists.  This post is especially for Harpoon Point to Point riders who need a little advice on meeting their fundraising goals – all of which benefits the Vermont Foodbank August 10th!

Over the past seven 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 a result I’m always asked, “How do you do it?” In my opinion, it’s really simple. 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 fundraising goals:

1. First and foremost, Get Motivated! If you are not passionate about the cause your success will be limited.

2. Second, answer the following questions so that you have a good “script” when talking to family and friends about the ride:

  • How has hunger impacted my life?
  • Why am I involved in the Harpoon Point to Point Ride?
  • How has the Harpoon Point to Point Ride/VT Food Bank 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.

3. Use Facebook, Twitter, etc. and start posting snippets/facts about hunger in Vermont, the Harpoon Point to Point Ride, 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 Point to Point Ride on August 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.

4. 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 dealt with hunger, write something like,

“Dear John Doe,

“Two years ago, following Hurricane Irene, I saw many of my friends and neighbors lose much of what they had when the storm washed away homes and businesses and changed lives in my town. Following the storm, people I never thought in need found themselves starting over and some even found themselves hungry as they tried to support their families through this trying time and loss of income. Basically, it made me realize that you just never know when you might be in need. Every person living in America who is willing to work to support themselves and their family should not go to bed hungry. Thank you for your support of the Harpoon Point to Point Ride to benefit the Vermont Foodbank. We ride together for one cause.  Best wishes,”

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 Harpoon Point to Point to benefit the Vermont Foodbank on August 10th. Almost all of us can think of people who have been affected by hunger. I’m riding in honor of my friend Tom. Uninsured, Tom lost everything a few years ago in a fire, including his business. With the help of places like the Vermont Foodbank he was able to feed his family during this most trying time and get back on his feet.
“If you already donated this year thank you! If you have not, but want to support the person/people you know or in your community 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!  Best wishes,”

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 Ride 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. If you’d like more tips or suggestions please feel free to contact me through the Fit Werx Facebook page!

Thank you for making a difference and I hope these tips help you reach your goals!

Note: Harpoon Point to Point Riders are eligible for $25 off bike fittings at either Fit Werx location (MA or VT), just mention this article… Fit Werx has a charity team with great benefits that most anyone can join – just contact marty@fitwerx.com for information. All bike, equipment and service purchases at Fit Werx qualify for the Fit Werx Gives Back program which will donate up to $100 a year in your name to your ride.

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