Fundraising Ideas

Pick Your Favourite!

Scroll through our list of fundraising campaign ideas to find the one that fits your personality perfectly.

The get5 Campaign

The get5 campaign is the better, cooler, stress-free way to fundraise. Rather than setting a fundraising goal, set a goal of getting 5 donors!

Why five donors?

Because getting 5 donors makes you a fundraising hero. You're putting yourself out there in a big way and making your participation count. You can't predict what your donors will give, but chances are your results will be fantastic! And if everyone like you gets 5 donors, the charity you're fundraising for will do great and get 5 times the attention!

Yeah, but why 5 specifically?

Well first, it just sounds cool. But also, the average donation in the RIDE is fifty bucks or so - some lower, some higher - and so we think it's a great way to think about hitting your goal.

Where do I even start?

Update your personal fundraising page with two important things:

  • One sweet selfie of you smiling
  • One short-but-personal message about why you're walking + fundraising

When the donors you ask come to your personal fundraising page, they'll a) love seeing your face, and b) enjoy reading your 'why'.

Where can I find 5 donors?

Here is the secret to fundraising success. Ready? You'll need to ask some people. That's really it! Here's some stress-free suggestions to Get 5 donors, easy:

  • Yourself
  • Family
  • Friends
  • Love
  • Work

Donation #1: The easiest one - make a self-donation first! That takes you from merely registered to committed - people will see you're serious when they come to your personal fundraising page. Boom, you're 20% there!

Donation #2: Email your mom, dad, grandma, or favourite uncle, and ask for a donation. Explain why you are walking and why giving encourages you and helps your charity, which in turn helps your community. They love you - they'll give. Voila, 2 donors down!

Donation #3: Look your best friend in the eye, explain what you're doing, and ask for $50. They've got the money, you know they do - what are friends for?While you're at it, go ahead and ask them to join your team. Look at you - 3 donors already!

Donation #4: Cozy up to your crush/spouse/general bae all cha-cha smooth and ask them for a donation commensurate with their love for you. They might expect you to give too if they're walking, but hey, all's fair in love and fundraising, right?

Donation #5: Connect with your favorite work friend or boss, tell them how you are humbly making a difference in your community, and ask them for a donation. They'll give to you because they feel honoured that you're asking them, and because they're proud of you for being a world changer.

The Top Ten Campaign

This approach asks you to identify ten specific donors you want to ask. Your job is to personally go after each one, but intentionally limit your list to ten people. Resist the urge to ask anyone else unless they can legitimately bump one of the others off of the list.

Grab your phone or a pad of paper and write down your top ten list. Use our idea generator below to prompt your brainstorming. Remember, people like supporting people they know, so your top ten list should only include people you know.

Favourite top ten list candidates might include...

  • 1. You (always give to your own campaign)
  • 2. Mom (ask her during the day)
  • 3. Dad (ask him after Mom goes to bed)
  • 4. Grandparents (apply #2 and #3 above)
  • 5. Sibling$ (they owe you for all the mean things they did to you growing up)
  • 6. Boss (they love encouraging community in the workplace - ask her!)
  • 7. Friends (the ones who like you especially)
  • 8. Extended family (uncle so-and-so always liked you right? Why not ask him?)
  • 9. That guy you know, what's his name... in accounting (ask a few associates who aren't friends but who you know)
  • 10. Bill Gates (fine then, ask one really rich person you don't know - it's worth a shot)

Pros: This campaign helps you focus your efforts. You don't have to ask dozens of friends - just a few favourites.

Cons: You may be limiting your fundraising success, but if this approach gets you going, that's all that matters. Enjoy!

The 7 Day Campaign

In this campaign, you commit to working hard at fundraising for one week only. That's it - that's all the time you can invest, but during this week, you will really work it. Here's what your week will look like...

  • Day 1: Draft a personal, passionate and short email with a link to your personal fundraising page, and identify all the contacts you want this email to go to. Now sit on the email overnight...
  • Day 2: Review email and make any necessary edits. Personalize the emails to your top ten contacts, and mass email or message the rest. Wait for the money to come in...

Bonus tip: Make a donation or pledge to your own campaign before you email anyone. Enjoy being generous. Feel those endorphins swell in your big ol' heart. Nice eh?

  • Day 3: Respond to auto-replies and wrong emails and mop up additional donors you just remembered. Sit smugly at your desk, knowing you are rocking the fundraising.
  • Day 4: Post a cute photo on Facebook or Twitter of you wearing your bike helmet with something that says, "Yes, I do look this good now check your inbox and drop some coin ya'll" (or something nicer).
  • Day 5: Make sure you are responding immediately to donors who give. Thank them the same day, always using the fundraising system. Pat yourself on the back and go get a Starbucks.
  • Day 6: Circle back to your top-ten list and fire them off a quick, witty email with that picture of you in your helmet - they need to know you are serious.
  • Day 7: Count up your fundraising success. How many emails did you send? How many responded? How much have you raised? You've done great - and you are officially done your campaign. It's time to taunt a few of your other friends on your team and recruit a few more.

Pros: You register and fundraise all in one short week. Quick and painless.

Cons: Some people don't respond quickly or only respond on second emails or calls. It's possible you'll leave some money on the fundraising table by narrowing your campaign to a week, but if you are busy and just want to get this off your to-do list, this campaign will work well.

The 'Ask for $25' Campaign

The 'Ask for $25' campaign is a staff favourite, and works like this - brainstorm a list of prospective donors you know... then ask each of them to specifically give you $25.

That's it! You don't care who they are or how much money they may or may not have - everyone will be asked to give $25 exactly.

Pros: Your ask is low but valuable, clear and understood to the donor, and an easy level for most to fulfill. "Well gee," they'll say to themselves, "I gotta at least have 25 bucks around here someplace."

Cons: You may get less than you should from some, but that should be offset by those who think you are worth more than $25.

The $25 Ask Email Template:

Dear __________,

This fall, I'm joining the Ride for Refuge to raise money for ______________ (charity name) who does great work with ____________ (charity cause).

I'm emailing to ask you for a $25 donation in support of my efforts. Would you be willing to support me this much?

Click the secure link below to give via Paypal or credit card - your $25 donation will be receipted immediately.

If you have any questions please ask - I'm excited to be doing this and appreciate your support.

Your friend,

Bill "The Thrill" Gates

The Monkey Tricks Campaign

The Monkey Tricks Campaign (or MTC, as no one calls it) is where you offer to do something special, fun, entertaining, or sacrificial to earn donor buy-in on top of the riding/walking you'll do on RIDE Day.

It's a fun way to get your donors' attention and personalize their support. For example:

  • Sweet treats: You could give every donor a dozen homemade cookies, or samosas, or whatever
  • Conditional sweet treats: Same as above, but you only give them the goodies if they give a minimum of $100
  • Stupid human tricks: You offer to wear something outrageous on RIDE Day, like dressing as a zombie, or a clown, or whatever else would be fun (but not offensive - maybe zombie wouldn't be so kid friendly actually, but you get the point)
  • Free work: You offer them physical services in exchange for their money at different levels (shovel the driveway for $50, paint a room for $200, neuter their cat for $500 (just kidding)

Pros: If nothing else, it will grab their attention and they'll almost always need to respond - especially if you contact them personally.

Cons: Some people won't get how funny or creative you are. That's fine, send them "Shake it Off" by Taylor Swift and move on.

The Blanket Campaign

The blanket campaign is a full-court social media and digital communication engagement strategy. It's synergistic and shifts mega paradigms! We have no idea what that means.

It's called a "blanket campaign" because it covers absolutely everything. Your friends, family, workmates, school buddies, etc. will all know without a doubt that you are involved in the RIDE because...

  • They see your social media posts
  • They've got an email ask from you
  • You've got RIDE posters up in your bathroom
  • Your coasters are RIDE postcards
  • You wear a different RIDE short every Friday
  • Your email signature is a RIDE logo and something about caring for the poor... and you actually do!

Pros: The shotgun approach works. People will respond and you'll have a ball doing this.

Cons: You will choke people's news feeds and people might get tired of your posts. You know the drill, shake it off...

Good Will Hunting

The Good Will Hunting campaign is simple - it's from the "I scratched your back, now it's time for you to scratch my back" school of fundraising.

Remember all those friends you supported this year who were fundraising? Remember those? The one for cancer, ALS, their school equipment, church mission trip, etc.? Well, now it's your turn to leverage all that goodwill you sowed with your generosity. This is reciprocity at its finest. It's their turn to give to you!

So, brainstorm your list of friends. Search your email client for tax receipts and fire off some personal emails to all those you supported. Then watch the money come in.

Pros: It works.

Cons: It only works if you've been giving, so umm, yeah...

Rejected Campaign Ideas

Below is a growing list of campaigns we've heard of but flatly rejected - if you see yourself doing any of these, call us quick and we'll talk you through better options!

  • The Terminator: Give or I'll de-friend you
  • The Waterworks Threat: Give or I'll cry
  • The Ice Bucket Challenge: As if that would ever work, pfffft
  • The Co-Dependent: Your mother fundraises for you
Got questions about the Ride for Refuge? | 1.877.743.3413