Now that you have created your list of potential donors, it’s time to think about your approach. Create fun, informative and engaging emails and snail mail letters tailored to your individual groups. For example, your appeal to people on your list of cycling friends may have a different tone than that sent to your list of family members or business associates.
Include information about what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and how they can help.
Some key steps to consider in your approach:
1. Identify the need you are addressing. (Example – California has made great strides in creating a better environment for people who ride, but we have a long way to go to make it so that our streets are inviting to people who want to ride bikes, but don’t feel safe on our streets.)
2. Explain why it is important to you -- what's your personal connection to the issue? (Example – I ride my bike to work every day and it’s what keeps me in shape. I’m lucky that I have a great bike commute. My hope is that someday everyone in California will have a safe, fun route to ride a bicycle wherever they need to go.)
3. Share what you doing about it. (Example – I am riding with the California Bicycle Coalition’s “California Dream Ride,” a fundraising bike ride to support their Bikeways to Everywhere Initiative to make California’s streets better for bicycling.”)
4. Ask your donor to take a specific action. (Example – “Will you support me with a donation of $50, $100, or even $250?” Or – “Will you support me with a pledge of 25-cents per mile?”) Asking for a specific amount produces better results than an open-ended question like “Will you consider making a donation?”
Here’s a sample fundraising email -- of course you can customize it with whatever you care most about, amounts you feel comfortable with, and your own story (or feel free to just use it as is!)
Dear Friends and Family,
I wanted to let you know about a really wonderful fundraising ride that I’m doing, in support of the California Bicycle Coalition. It’s called the California Dream Ride (you can find out more about it on the website, cadreamride.org). I’ll be riding for 5 days -- for a total of 285 miles, going from Folsom to San Francisco.
You know how passionate I am about bicycling. I ride my bike to work every day [or, I love to ride on the weekends] and it’s what keeps me in shape. The thing that’s exciting about this ride is that it will support making California a better place to ride! My hope is that someday everyone in California will have a safe, fun route to ride a bicycle wherever they need to go.
Over the next two months, I’ll be aiming to raise $2500 to support the California Bicycle Coalition’s “Bikeways to Everywhere” Initiative, which advocates for safe, comfortable, connected bikeway networks for all Californians. Having great networks of bike lanes and bike paths will encourage more people to ride bikes, and will help our communities become safer, healthier, and more prosperous.
Will you support me with a donation of $30, $75, or even $100?
Thank you so much for your support! I really appreciate your helping to make California better for people who ride bikes -- and for everyone!