Fundraising 101

It's surprising how quickly the donations add up once you put your heart, creativity, and commitment into securing them. The key is getting started now!

As you begin

Use the FundHub Often

We encourage you to use the FundHub to fundraise during your campaign. The system allows you to:

Go to top of the RIDE home page to log in.

Make Your Page Pretty

If you haven't already, please log in into FundHub and update your personal fundraising page.

First Steps

Make A Big List

Take 15 minutes and make a list of people you'll ask to give. The list should include close friends, family, work or school colleagues, etc. Click on our "6 Easy Fundraising Campaigns" drop down at bottom of this page for some fun, simple campaign plans.

Give To Yourself First

If you can, launch your fundraising campaign by self-donating or making a pledge in FundHub. Participants who self-donate often do better, because they have more skin in the game. At the very least, it shows you are as invested as you want your donors to be.

Write Your First Email

Take a moment and write the email template you'll send to your donors. Avoid sending mass emails - keep it super personal, and remember to include your personal fundraising page link so they can give easily. Use our Donor Email Templates to help you.

Ready To Go

Send Your First Email

Once you've written your email template, send yourself a test to make sure your page link is working well and you like how it looks. Then, send your first email. And then a second one. And so on - it's incredibly rewarding (and humbling) to ask your friends for support - enjoy!

Face-to-Face Asking

Many participants ask for donations face-to-face with one of our donation forms in hand. It works well because people don't want to say no... to your face. But they are limited to the cash they are carrying or whether they have a cheque on them. If you can, pull out your phone so they can donate online in the moment.

Be Sure To Follow Up

During the campaign - you'll email folks who respond pretty fast, but others won't. You know why? Because they are (1) busy or (2) forgot or (3) needed to speak with their spouse or (4) lost your email or (5) hoped you'd stop emailing them (just kidding... mostly). So, make sure you loop back around and ask them a second time - the response rate to these second emails is very high.

After the campaign - you'll want to make sure you say thanks. Use FundHub or send personal thank-yous from your own email. We all give for different reasons, but we all appreciate a simple, kind acknowledgment that our donation was received and very much appreciated.

8 Bonus Tips

Whether this is your first RIDE or you're a savvy veteran, here are eight great bonus tips to keep in mind as you fundraise this year:

1. Understand Your Donor > watch now

They aren't offended that you are asking them. Really. They've been asked before by other people they know and frankly, they get it - just like you.

2. Make It Personal > watch now

Don't spam your friends. If you send out a mass email, people can ignore it - and generally will. Write and send personal emails with your fundraising page link, and you'll do great.

3. Set Your Goal > watch now

Set a fundraising goal that is worth your time and effort and honours the charity you are supporting. Most participants raise $300 or more, so set your goal with that in mind. That's about 5-6 donors at most.

4. Be Your First Donor > watch now

The first donor you should email is yourself. Make a point of launching your campaign with a pledge or donation to your own campaign. It shows the world that both the cause and the event matters to you.

5. Share Your Story > watch now

Tell your donors why you are doing this. Why it matters to you. Why you think it's worth your love, sweat and sore butt/feet as well as their financial support. Stories are always better than data. Just tell them why, and they'll usually give.

6. Be Bold > watch now

To fundraise successfully, you've got to be bold. Don't answer for your donor - let them say yes (or no) on their own. Just give them the chance without being too pushy. They'll give. Don't give up after one ask though - circle back a second time if you don't hear from them.

7. Begin Now > watch now

The sooner you start, the more money you will raise, the more momentum your campaign will get and the more buzz and encouragement the charity you are riding for feels. Those who start 60-90 days out raise 3X more than those who start fundraising in the last week.

8. Say Thank You > watch now

When it's all over, make sure you say thank you personally to every donor who supported you. It encourages their giving, acknowledges your efforts and sets you up for next year's "ask" too.

Watch one of our RIDE team members share all these tips with you in our super-helpful, fun + entertaining Fundraising Training Videos here.

6 Easy Fundraising Campaigns

Are you ready to take your fundraising to the next level? Scroll down our list of fundraising campaign ideas and have a blast!

Whatever campaign you select, remember to:

  • 1. Use the online FundHub to email and thank your donors
  • 2. Update your personal fundraising page with a picture and short message about why you are doing the RIDE.
  • 3. Keep it simple, personal and short as much as possible.

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. Your top ten list should only include people you know, ok?

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 a 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 toque - 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 $25 Ask Campaign

The $25 Ask campaign is a staff favourite, and works like this - brainstorm a list of prospective donors you know, and 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 __________

On September 30th, I'm riding in 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 Gates

The Monkey Tricks Campaign

The Monkey Tricks Campaign (MTC) 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 home-made 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 [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 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 gotten an email ask from you
  • You've got RIDE posters up in your bathroom
  • Your coasters are RIDE postcards
  • You wear a different RIDE shirt every Friday
  • Your email signature is a RIDE logo and something about caring for those in need... 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 Campaign

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 good will you sowed with your generosity. This is reciprocity at it's 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 Passive Aggressive - give or I'll cry
  • The Ice Bucket Challenge - as if that would ever work... pfffft
  • The Co-Dependent - your mother fundraises for you
Questions about this event or Blue Sea Philanthropy? | 1.877.743.3413