Fundraising Tips

Never fundraised before? Does the thought of asking for money freak you out?  Or are you a seasoned fundraiser looking for some new ideas on how to make "the ask"?   Read these fundraising tips -- if you follow at least the basics, you will raise money!

Below is also a sample email you can use as a starting point to send to your friends and family.


The Basics

  • Personalize your fundraising page:  Take the time to add a photo(s) to your fundraising page and answer the questions you are asked in your own voice.  Use humor and tell stories.  Be yourself.
  • Save the hyperlink for your fundraising page:  Copy the link for your page somewhere you can easily access it.  That way when you send out emails and post on Facebook, you have it handy. 
  • Make a list of everybody who you think will, should, and might support you:  Write it down, create an excel file -- whatever works for you.  Parents, best friends, cycling buddies, special co-workers, etc.  You know who should be on this. 
  • Ask everybody on the list above:  For some people, a personal email might be enough.  Others you may need to ask in person or on the phone.  Keep track of when you asked and if you received a response.  Make your ask personal!  The extra time it may take will be worth it.
  • Regularly post on Facebook and other forms of social media about your experience:  Post about your rides, your goal, and how far along you are.  This will remind people on the list to give to you and you may pick up some surprise donors.  Those are the best!
  • Review your list and make a second round of asks:  Don't worry about being a bother.   People need to be reminded.  Maybe the email came at a bad time, or they are just terrible at returning calls. 
  • Thank, thank, thank:  This is super important and fun.  Send thank you's to people and even thank them publically (e.g. tagging on Facebook).  Emails, personal note cards.  Again, thank in a way that's authentic to you.  Be yourself.


Fun Ideas

  • Host a fundraising party:  turn your July BBQ into a fundraiser for your ride.  Is your birthday in July?  Awesome - ask people to donate to your ride (unless you are really banking on birthday gifts for yourself)
  • Barter:  Maybe some people in your life will give you a service/item in lieu of a donation.  You can then use that to help you reach your goal -- by donating to your own goal since you received something for free, or by using it as an incentive for new donors.  For example, if you regularly see a massage therapist, and he/she offers you a free massage, you could donate what you would have paid for that massage to your campaign, or you can donate a free massage to the first donor who give you $50 or more.
  • Incentivize Giving:  Give your donors something special.  Art, a song you record, a simple bracelet you braid... think about what you could offer!
  • Ask a business to sponsor you:  Maybe you're friends with the owner of your local bakery and they'll make a special cookie for you for a week and donate the proceeds to you.  Or your local watering hole offers you 10% of the sales one night.  Think about who you know who might be able to help you out in an extra-special way.
  • Do you have any fun ideas?  Send them to us and we'll post!  Email


Sample Email

Here's a sample email -- it is best if you use this as inspiration and write your own message, in your own voice.  Add photos, use humor - make it totally "you!"


Dear NAME,

For the month of July, I am challenging myself to ride my bicycle only for XXX days and fundraise $XXXX to help stop climate change.   Can you help me meet my goal?  (INSERT LINK TO YOUR FUNDRAISING PAGE)

I'm doing this because I believe that we need to do everything we can to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.  For me this means I am riding my bike instead of driving my car.  I am also a big supporter of 350VT, the organization that will receive the donations and translate them into action to stop climate change.  Here in Vermont, there is the threat of tar sands oil from Canada flowing through the NE Kingdom.  Organizers around the state are trying to get our institutions to divest from fossil fuel companies.  There's lots of good work happening and your donation will help us make Vermont a model of a resilient, thriving community that's lessening its dependence on dirty oil.

Thanks for supporting me and what I care about.  Here's the link again:  (INSERT LINK TO YOUR FUNDRAISING PAGE)