Here are some tried and true methods for successful fundraising.
#1: Start early
The sooner you start asking, the more money you will raise. It takes time to ramp up your fundraising efforts. As soon as you register to become a fundraiser, get organized and start asking!
#2: Set a challenging but attainable goal
Your fundraising goal should be a stretch, but it should be doable. If you are getting close to your goal, then raise it so people continue to donate. You want to avoid the situation in which prospective donors decide not to donate because you have almost reached your goal.
#3: Develop an exhaustive list of prospective donors
Contact everyone you know. You'll be surprised who gives! Start with your email address book, then your regular address book and member lists from clubs and organizations you belong to. Check with your employer regarding soliciting donations in the workplace. Create a separate list of of people whose email address you don't have (Grandma?) and send them a letter in the mail, along with the offline donation form.
#4: Customize your emails
Make the email template yours! Include a personal story, why you're participating and raising money, why it's important to you, and where the money goes, and what specific action you'd like the recipient to take. Include key points such as what Climate Ride and the beneficiaries are all about, and how their donation will help. Include the link to your fundraising webpage. (Use a URL shortener, like tinyurl.com to make your own short and personal link). You can download some templates for fundraising letters from the 'Resources' section of your fundrasing page.
#5: Customize your personal fundraising webpage
The most compelling fundraising pages include text, a personal story about why you are participating, along with photos. Convey your passion in a way that motivates visitors to make a donation! Text on your page should be aligned with your email communications. Update your page periodically with information about training, progress, or challenges so that visitors can stay informed and engaged throughout your fundraising effort.
#6: Create an email schedule and stick to it
Set dates to send a first email announcing your participation, a second email thanking those who have donated, and asking others to still donate, an third update email thanking those who have donated and asking others to still donate now, and a fourth 'last chance' email. You can also segment your list of donors into groups (e.g. past donors, new list of members, family, fellow members of a club) and send different emails to each audience.
#7: Ask, ask, and ask again
In addition to following the email communication schedule, you will need to ask, ask, and ask again at every possible opportunity. People can only make a donation if you give them the opportunity. During face-to-face interactions or phone calls with friends, family, neighbors, or other prospective donors, mention your progress and your goal. Don't be shy about asking more than once. People need to be reminded! Of course, leave the ultimate decision up to them.
#8: Add social media to the mix
Use status updates in Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn to update friends on your fundraising and provide a direct link to your fundraising webpage. Social media is a great way to stay in front of people without making a 'hard ask'.
#9: Get creative
Add the URL for your fundraising webpage to your email signature. Give out "piggy banks" and ask people to save their change for a month. Create business cards or handbills to give out during face-to-face interactions. Hold an auction. Throw a party!
#10: Join a team
Need help staying motivated? Join a team for camaraderie, encouragement, and friendly competition. Teams aren't for everyone, but there's something to be said about power in numbers!
#11: Stay focused
At times, all this can seem overwhelming. Remind yourself of why you are participating in the event, and the how money you will raise will help others do important work. Turn to other Climate Riders for inspiration and ideas about how to raise more money.
#12: Send a personalized thank you
After you've completed your fundraising and the event is over, send your donors a note thank them for their generosity. Tell them how much you raised, and what your participation in Climate Ride meant to you. In addition to 'closing the loop', you are setting the stage for future donation appeals. Donors will be more likely to give again if they feel that their donation was appreciated and valuable. You might need their support for Climate Ride again next year!