Ah, fundraising. Without it, non-profit organizations like Avalonia couldn’t carry out our mission and yet, fundraising seems to make everyone nervous. The good news is, it’s easier than you think! At the Great Avalonia Trail Trek, we are asking everyone to fundraise to help support our work to conserve land, protect habitat and watersheds, and fight climate change. To help you, I have written down my Top Seven Fundraising Tips – these are guaranteed to get results!
Fundraising Tip #1 – Set a goal. Setting a clear goal is really effective in encouraging people to donate. People like to be a part of something successful, so when they see that you are working towards a goal they will donate because they want you to succeed. I always recommend a goal of at least $250 – check out my “Pathway to $250” below and set a goal today.
Fundraising Tip #2 – Donate to yourself! When you register, you will have the opportunity to donate to yourself and I HIGHLY recommend that you do so. Even if it is a small donation, it will send a message that you are serious about this cause. Also, people love company – have you ever been to a buffet and nobody is eating and then one person goes up to the table and the next thing you know, the line is out the door? That’s because people don’t like to be first, so get a headstart and make the first donation yourself.
Fundraising Tip #3 – Personalize your page. First, add a picture – your friends will love to see your smiling face! Then, add a few lines about why you are participating in the Great Avalonia Trail Trek. People like to know that their donations will support a great cause.
Fundraising Tip #4 – Ask your friends and family to donate. This seems obvious, but you would be amazed at how many people don’t actually ask for donations. They just post their fundraising page with ZERO explanation on Facebook and hope for the best. You will get MUCH better results if you ask! I generally recommend sending three e-mails – one when you sign up, one about a week or so before the event, and one the day before. This is because you can basically divide people into three different categories.
The Instant Donors – These people spend their days organizing their underwear drawers and cutting their kids’ vegetable snacks into recognizable animals, so we don’t really understand what make them tick, but we are impressed. However, they will IMMEDIATELY reach for their credit card when they get your e-mail, and for this, we consider them the GOAT (Greatest of All Time).
The Gentle Reminders – These folks read your e-mail, thought about how great you are, promised themselves that they would donate, and then promptly forgot. But they really did mean to support you, so if you send a gentle reminder along with the link to your personal page, they will happily donate.
The OMGer’s. You know who you are. These friends wait until the last minute to do everything. They file their taxes at 11:50 pm on April 15 and aren’t afraid to roll into the gas station on nothing but fumes. For them, a deadline is really just a strong suggestion, so these friends will wait until the absolute last minute to donate. However, these are good people with big hearts, so if you send an e-mail to them the day before the Great Avalonia Trail Trek, they will smack their forehead and say, “OMG! That trek thing is tomorrow! I need to donate!”
Fundraising Tip #5 – Ask for $10. If you are nervous about asking for donations, ask for a specific, small amount. Ten dollars is a great place to start, because pretty much every adult can donate $10. They think, “Sure, I can donate ten bucks.” Once they are on your personal page and they see your smiling face (because you followed tip #3 and added a photo), they think, “Weeeelllll, so-and-so is really great – I can give more than $10.” Before you know it, you have raised hundreds of dollars!
Fundraising Tip #6 – Use social media. Definitely take advantage of social media. While I do post some “Please support me” type of asks on social media, I mostly use social media to thank my donors. For one thing, everyone likes to be thanked and being thanked publicly is awesome. Second, it’s a good way to remind people that you are doing a fundraiser without constantly asking them for money. I’ll write something like “Wow, thanks to generous donations from Tara, Mindy, and Adam, I have now raised $750 – I’m 75% of the way to my $1,000 goal! Thank you – you are amazing!” I tag my friends and I include the link to my personal fundraising page in the post. This way, the link to my page shows up in my newsfeed, their newsfeeds, and the newsfeeds of all our friends. It’s a really effective way to nudge people to donate without being annoying, which is good – we want them to support you, not unfollow you forever.
Fundraising Tip #7 – Remind your donors to get matching donations – it is a terrific way to boost your fundraising total. Many Connecticut companies, like Pfizer and Travelers, will match their employee’s donation. When people donate to the Great Avalonia Trail Trek, they have the opportunity to look up their company and apply for the match, however, make sure you follow up with them, too.
Pathway to $250
Donate $20 to yourself – $20
Ask three family members for $20 – $60
Ask seven friends for $10 – $70
Ask five co-workers for $10 – $50
Ask four neighbors for $5 – $20
Ask your spouse for $30 – $30
CELEBRATE YOUR SUCCESS! $250