1. Set your fundraising goal. It’s a great idea to set your goal higher than the minimum amount. Some donors may donate on a percentage of your goal. If you set your goal higher than the minimum $2500 (for example, $4000), your minimum donations may increase from $20 or $25 to $40 or $50.
2. Start early. As soon as you register, use your excitement and enthusiasm to get started immediately. It takes time to motivate donors, and waiting to start a week or two before your ride will not result a successful fundraising campaign.
3. Develop your list of potential donors. Don’t be shy! Include everyone you know on your list. Create a list of contacts for those with email addresses and another list for those who may require a mailed letter. Be sure to include a donate by mail form in your letter. Get creative!
4. Create and customize your personal fundraising page. Use this page to share your personal story and engage your donors with pictures and/or videos. Include information about why this ride is so important to you. Keep your page updated with personal messages, your training progress and challenges. Thank those who have already helped out and challenge those who haven’t yet but are still considering a donation.
5. Create a customized email. As above in #4, use this opportunity to personally engage donors. Be sure to include a link to your fundraising page.
6. Develop a strategic email plan. Calendar a date to send out your initial email announcing your participation in the California Dream Ride and to ask for their support. A second email should go out in two weeks thanking those who have donated and reminding those who have not yet given that you are still seeking donations. Monthly emails should be sent to keep potential donors engaged in your progress. With one month to go, consider sending a weekly email. You may want to tailor your list into groups such as past donors, family members, cycling friends, business associates, etc.) and send a different message to each group. Sometimes a last-minute email to those who already gave, asking for one more gift, can work wonders.
7. Follow up!!! Don’t rely on emails alone to work your magic. Use every opportunity to interact with friends, family, neighbors, clients and other people in your life. Just because someone didn’t donate the first time you asked doesn’t mean that they will not donate. Persistence is your best tool.
8. Use social media. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are fantastic tools to reach out to potential donors. Keep people posted on your progress and training. You can easily share your fundraising page on Facebook or Twitter.
9. Refer to our list of ideas for fun and creative ways to generate enthusiasm for both you and your potential donors.
10. Send personalized thank-you notes to your donors. Everyone wants to be appreciated, so be sure to thank everyone who donated to your fundraising efforts. Let them know the total you raised and how important their participation is to you. It’s a great way to get donors to consider helping out next year.