4 Riders crossing into Pennsylvania from New Jersey, 2013

Developing Your Ask

The first step toward reaching your fundraising goal is to write to friends, coworkers, family, and other potential donors. The purpose of a fundraising letter is to tell people what you're doing (Riding 300 miles?! Hiking Glacier National Park?! What?!), why you're doing it (Conservation is awesome! Bicycles rock!), and what they can do to help.

What you need to do first is develop your 'Ask'. This is what will turn into your fundriasing letter and form the basis of your messaging. The ask can be tailored to meet your interests, and the interests of your potential donors. You can download some fundraising letter templates from your fundraising webpage as a good starting point, and then personalize away!

If you're having trouble getting going, here is how to come up with your 'ask' in 5-easy steps:

1. Identify the need you are trying to address. (Bike related example: my city has made big strides in being more bike-friendly, but we still have many streets and intersections that are unenjoyable, unfit, or downright unsafe for cycling.)

2. Explain why it is important to you. (Bike related example: I ride my bike to work every day, and I look forward to the day when I can do it without being on my guard.)

3. Share what you are doing about it. (Bike related example: This year, I will be riding my bike 300 miles while taking part in Climate Ride to raise awareness of the need for better, safer cycling conditions.)

4. Ask your donor to take a specific action. (Ex: Will you support me with a donation of $50?)

5. Stop talking! (Yep, that means, beeee quiet.) Let the person answer your questions, and ask some of their own. Try your best not to assume you know what their ability to give or not is - they may surprise you! Just wait - they can't say 'yes' if you're still talking! 

Remember, you're not asking for money for yourself. You're asking for a donation to support a cause that's really important to you, and will help make our world a better place.


Take a look at the calendar

Can you take advantage of that special occasion? There are plenty of great ways to maximize certain days of the year to your advantage, so have a look at the calender and see what works for you!

  • Take advantage of end-of-year giving! 40% of the year's giving happens in December, so time your campaign around the holidays. Donations make a great gifts!
  • April is a great time to host a tax-return party.
  • Earth Day is April 22nd, and Bike-to-Work day is the third Friday in May.
  • Memorial Day, July 4th, and Labor Day weekend barbeques are a great place to convene friends and ask for their support.
  • Have a birthday coming up? Rather than receiving gifts, ask for birthday donations.
  • Have friends who are interested in bike racing? The Tour of California, Giro d'Italia, Tour de France, and Vuelta de Espana happen in May, July, and September, respectively. Great excuse for a bike party!
  • Car-free day is September 22nd.