Fundraising Tips

A little creativity and fun can go a long way. In embarking on this adventure to raise funds for a good cause, you are choosing to do something, great not only for yourself, but for others. If you can be original and plan ahead, the fundraising can be as rewarding and enjoyable as the adventure challenge itself.

3 STEPS TO FUNDRAISING

Whether you have experience or this is your first Adventure for Charity challenge, the following three steps will help you raise money for your chosen cause:

  1. Set up an online fundraising page.
  2. Leverage social media.
  3. Always thank your sponsors.

 

FUNDRAISING IDEAS

Here are a few tips and ideas to spark the imagination (please note: if an activity below includes alcohol, you must be of legal age and secure required permits for your activity).

 

DEDICATION NOT PROCRASTINATION

Fundraising demands dedication and depending on the amount, often means a commitment of several months, so be prepared and start early. Remember, the charity must receive 80% of the sponsorship funds at least eight weeks before you leave for the challenge so the earlier you begin, the better. When fundraising, keep the “why” behind your efforts in mind – the positive impact you will make and the amazing adventure that awaits you.

What is your fundraising strategy? This is the HOW:

  • Whom are you going to approach?
  • What will you say?
  • Why should they sponsor you?
  • How much are you asking for? Why?
  • How will you make the “ask”?
  • What is the cause? What is the impact of the charity?
  • What other questions may they ask?
  • How will you overcome objections? (ex.: Is this just a vacation?)
  • What’s in it for them, for the sponsor?

Pause, think about it, prepare, write it out, then execute. A strong delivery mixed with passion and drive will bring the magic.

*Tip* Ask your donors to give their funds when they pledge it. Funds are required by the charity eight weeks before your departure. You will have far greater success in working towards your goal when you can get the actual donations up front.

top of page

THE CHARITY

People/organizations will want to know why they should sponsor you. Create an “elevator speech” related to what you are doing, why, and what impact you hope to create.

What is an elevator speech?
(adopted from Inc. Magazine: http://www.inc.com/geoffrey-james/how-to-give-a-flawless-elevator-pitch.html)

Most people confuse elevator pitches with sales pitches, but they’re different. A sales pitch is a formal presentation. An elevator pitch takes place within a casual conversation. Proverbially, the elevator pitch is supposed to take place in an elevator, but that rarely happens.  More typically, you use an elevator pitch when you run into a potential sponsor at a restaurant, office, gym, or social event.

Example: Let’s suppose you’re at the “open bar” mixer at a trade show and somebody who doesn’t look like another vendor asks: “So, Jill, what do you do for a living?” If you reply “I’m in sales” or “I work for ABC,” the conversation will devolve into chit-chat. Boring! Instead, you use your elevator pitch to segue into a conversation that might eventually lead to a sale.

3 Parts to an Elevator Pitch

  • The Benefit. That’s the reason the customer (potential sponsor/donor) might be interested in what you’re doing.
  • The Differentiator. That’s the reason the customer (potential sponsor/donor) might want to support YOU.
    • The Ask. That’s where you ask to meet them, if the they show interest, to discuss in more detail (NOT trying to “close” the deal on the spot – in other words, ask for money). This may be tricky, especially with larger sponsorship amounts, but may be possible with smaller donations.

Sample elevator speech:

My name is Jill, and I am embarking on a difficult x-day adventure challenge in the Grand Canyon to help support ABC Charity’s work related to XYZ.

Supporting this challenge offers a great opportunity for my sponsors to (examples: help us increase ABC Charity’s impact, leave a legacy, support an important cause via tax-deductible donation, etc.) The challenge raises funds for this important cause and pushes me to the max, so I have to earn it. 

I am seeking a financial donation (think about the amount carefully based on who you approach) in sponsorship of my effort to support this cause and would appreciate your consideration. Can we set up some time to discuss this in more detail?

*Tip* Let them know who benefits from their donation. Learn as much as you can about the work and impact of the charity. The more you know, the more passion you convey, the more convincing you will be to potential donors! Keep the charity informed of your efforts and ask for any help you need. They may provide you with collateral material to support your efforts. The charity may also help with further fundraising ideas.

top of page

ADMINISTRATION – do it with a smile

The fun stuff – keep accurate records for yourself and the charity of where all your sponsorship funds come from. If you use one of the online platforms, it will do it for you! There are many tools to make fundraising easier on the web. We prefer Crowdrise and recommend it to our clients to manage your fundraising efforts and help get your message out!

top of page

FUNDRAISING = sales = the numbers game

When fundraising, ask as many people as possible for help. It is often the people you least expect who will surprise you with their support.

Think of everyone you know:

  • Friends
  • Family
  • Classmates
  • Colleagues
  • Companies
  • Local small businesses (branch of an insurance company, dentist, doctor, restaurant), those who want to play an active role in their community
  • Members of church and other organizations/clubs you belong to
  • Who else can you think of?

Make a list and come up with a game plan, as outlined before:

  • Whom are you going to approach?
  • What will you say? (see the elevator speech)
  • Why should they sponsor you?
  • How much are you asking for? Why?
  • How will you make the “ask”?
  • What is the cause? What is the impact of the charity?
  • What other questions may they ask?
  • How will you overcome objections? (i.e. is this just a vacation?)
  • What’s in it for them?

No sales tricks, no gimmicks. Just speak, act with sincerity and passion and success will follow.

*Tip* Mention how much training are you doing and what you will be doing on this adventure challenge. They need to understand this is not just a cool trip/vacation. It’s a challenge! You will work hard; you will earn the sponsorship on behalf of the cause.

And where possible, offer something in return. Why not offer to take a photo of yourself with a banner of the sponsor’s company name at the Grand Canyon to go with planned newspaper coverage for your return home?

Always remember to say “thank you” and acknowledge every contribution, large or small.

top of page

CORPORATE SPONSORSHIP

Corporate sponsorship can prove to be a key source of funding. Key considerations include understanding what benefits and value sponsors are looking for, sponsorship as a business relationship, and communication alignment with both, the sponsor and the charity. Communication alignment and clarity are key in order to assure that sponsors obtain the benefits they seek in line with the objectives of the charity sponsored.

Key questions to address before approaching a company: 

What does the company do?

Why would the company care about your cause?

  • Is it related to the consumer base the company serves?
  • Is it related to the geography/communities in which they operate?
  • Is it their chosen charity?
  • Does it help with PR or cause marketing?

How does the company accept sponsorship/funding solicitations?

  • Website?
  • Personal contact?
  • Corporate charity?
  • Marketing or PR department?

Where are the decisions made? Locally or at the headquarters?

Is it a local/regional/global company and where is the challenge taking place?

Does the company fund non-profit organizations?

If so, do they do it via product support (free plane tickets, water, etc.) or financially?

 

top of page

CREATIVITY

While the interest in charity adventure challenges is growing especially in the US, people/organizations from whom you will try to attract sponsorship, will likely have been asked to support other causes.

Do not send fundraising requests randomly! And don’t just send requests (so many do that). Come up with something creative to get their attention and engage them.

For companies, do you research, per above. Some of the more popular ideas you can try to engage people:

Birthdays and Special Event nights

Invite friends to a birthday party and ask them not to bring a present but to sponsor you instead. Add a bartender or a DJ (you can find them for free), and with good support, you might be surprised how much you can raise in one event.

Themed evening

Halloween, casino night, St. Patrick’s, birthday bash? Excite everyone, sell admission tickets, dress up, live it up and fundraise. Again, you may even secure a DJ and bartender for free. Imagine what a fun-filled evening with a cause could do to your fundraising efforts.

Murder mystery

This is simple to arrange and lots of fun. If you have never played or don’t have a murder mystery kit, you can buy one online. There are many themes and storylines to choose from. Dress up, enjoy great food and beverages, solve that mystery (or not), and raise sponsorship funds. Money is raised from advance ticket sales plus donations on the spot. We are sure you can come up with items to auction :-).

top of page

NETWORKING

Today, we are more connected than ever. Put it to use for a great cause. Make a list of potential sponsors and supporters:

  • Relatives
  • Friends
  • Neighbors
  • Sports and social club contacts
  • School and college friends
  • Work colleagues
  • Business contacts
  • Fellow church members
  • Local pub, bakery, coffee shop
  • Anyone else comes to mind?

Craft a compelling note, forward them to the cool page from your online fundraising platform and go for it.

Tips for your school or work environment:

Sending a mass email to everyone in the address book may not be well-received. Spread the word virally with your colleagues or classmates. Speak with your superiors, professors, corporate foundation, HR, PR/communications, sales or marketing department. Peak their interest, post something in the company newsletter, intranet, cafeteria, TV monitors. Only where appropriate, ask your customers.

Find out whom to contact and arrange a meeting. Their advice will be valuable, whether or not sponsorship is given.

Many companies will match money raised by you. Smaller companies are also great targets as opposed to large corporations, where no personal contact is available. Try asking family and friends for any contacts they may have.

Remember, in life, every inch matters. In fundraising, every penny counts. Every contact counts, because it may lead you to a sponsor. Never leave home without your elevator speech in mind, positive attitude, and a quick way to get them to sponsor you – link to your fundraising page?

top of page

PUBLICITY

Now is the time to broadcast to EVERYONE what you’re doing. It’s cool, it’s brave, it’s challenging, it’s noble, and it will make a difference. Word of mouth is the best form of advertising.

You can also try contacting local newspapers, radio, and television stations. They may want to pick up a story about a local person doing something great. Local media is often interested in hearing about what its followers doing. Adventure challenges are newsworthy. Try to find an angle that will particularly interest them.

You might get footage for them during the challenge and follow-up after. That way, you will get more publicity, and they will get more mileage out of the story.

To help you get your story out there, consider sending a press release to local media.

Key components of a press release:

  • Who you are.
  • What you are doing: not a vacation, a challenge you are earning on behalf of a great cause.
  • Why you want to go: a cause or reason others can relate to. Personal desire for adventure is not enough nor newsworthy.
  • How much you need to raise: how much and for whom.
  • Information about your charity: explain why the work of your chosen charity is important to inspire potential sponsors, without overdoing it.
  • Your contact information (link to your online fundraising platform?) and how interested readers/viewers can sponsor you.

Contact the media outlet to learn to whom to address your press release. And follow up with a phone call. This will remind them of you and give an opportunity to ask clarifying questions.

top of page