The most important part of fundraising: The Ask!
“I’ve tried fundraising by asking, and by not asking. I’ve always raised more by asking.”
An Ask in five easy steps:
Example: Each week, 30-40 Illinoisans become newly infected with HIV. It’s so important that these individuals have access to quality care so that they may live long, dignified lives. I am fundraising for the AIDS Run & Walk Chicago to improve the access to this care and support. Will you join my efforts by donating $50?
Dining Out for a Cause: Ask a local restaurant to donate a portion of one evening’s proceeds to your AIDS Run & Walk Chicago fund. Make invitations or fliers to get the word out to your friends and co-workers – you’ll bring business to the restaurant and make strides toward your fundraising goal.
Chili-off!: Host a party where your team prepares chili dishes (or other main course that can be made in a variety of ways). Invite other friends to be “taste-testers” – have everyone donate $5 or $10 to sample the chili.
“And the winner is …”: Use your charm and social skills to acquire raffle prizes from businesses that you frequent or brands with which you have a relationship. Sell raffle tickets for $2 each or 10 tickets for $15. That’s a bargain!
Benefit Show: If you know a band, dj or comedian, ask if he/she would be interested in doing a benefit for your AIDS Run & Walk Chicago fund at a local bar or coffeehouse.
Bake Sale: Hold a bake sale in your neighborhood to raise money for the walk. Everyone will enjoy an after work treat!
Host a Sports Tournament: 3v3 basketball, badminton or dodgeball – charge $5 for individual participation or $25 to form a team. Sell donated goods at your concession stand. Charge $1 for spectators.
Bake Sale!: Old or young, everyone loves a sweet pick-me-up after lunch. Set up a snack area in your office with a sign that reads “Suggested donation: $1”. This is a great opportunity to recruit co-workers to join as walkers/runners as well. You’ll be surprised how fast the goodies disappear and the donation jar fills up!
Corporate Matching Gifts: Ask your HR department if your company has a matching gift program. Encourage your donors to ask their employers as well.
Other Matching Gifts: If your employer does not have a matching gift program already established, ask your boss to match the proceeds from your next fundraiser. This may seem bold, but you cannot receive what you do not ask for. You never know who may become your biggest advocate and supporter.
Dress-down Days: Charge your co-workers $5 per day to wear jeans to the office – they get to be comfortable and support your cause! (Of course, be sure to gain corporate approval first.)
Lunch Fundraiser: Find a local restaurant to donate a catered lunch to your office to raise money for the AIDS Run and Walk. Anyone who pays the suggested donation of $5 or $10 is welcome to the feast!
Silly Supervisors: Have donors pay $1 or $2 to vote on the form of “torture” to inflict on your supervisors (i.e. wear clown shoes all day, dye their hair, shave their head etc).
Penny Wars: Create a competition between departments, the goal being to collect the most pennies. Pennies give positive points, silver coins or dollars give negative points. In the end, the team with the highest dollar amount wins! Solicit the donation of a winning prize that will motivate the teams
Pie Smash: Ask a supervisor to agree to be smashed in the face with a pie to raise money for AIDS Run & Walk Chicago. Staff can either pay $1 per pie smash or attempt to out-bid each other to throw a pie.
Lunch with the Boss: Employees who donate to the walk are entered into a raffle to have lunch with a top level executive.
Post to Social Networks: Update your friends and followers on your progress toward your fundraising goal; provide the registration link and ask friends to join you!
Give “Thanks” on Facebook: Thank your donors by writing on their Facebook walls. Also, update your status with your fundraising goal. This activity in the News Feed will inspire others to sponsor you.
Tweet and Retweet: Follow the AIDS Foundation of Chicago on Twitter and retweet any post that moves you. Bring your followers closer to the cause by keeping them current on events and news. Ask your followers for donations every once in a while – even small donations of $5 or $10 add up very quickly!
Logo Up!: Use the NEW AIDS Run & Walk logo as your profile picture. In the description of the photo, include the link to your fundraising page.
YouTube: Add a personal touch to your requests for donations or to your thank you messages by creating a video. Tell your story, relay your mission, compel your friends and family to donate and participate.
State the Facts: Include statistics and HIV/AIDS related news in your status updates and emails. Some great resources: AFC’s Inside Story blog and POZ.
Dress up your email signature: Add a link to your fundraising page in the signature of your email. Make it as easy as possible to become a donor. Branded email signatures coming soon!
Guest Bartending: Many pubs and taverns around town will be more than happy to let you get behind the bar for a night. All of your tips go toward your fundraising goal.
Sport the Red Ribbon: Wear an AIDS awareness ribbon or pin a couple of days a week – let it start the conversation for you. Each conversation is a valuable opportunity to ask for a donation.
Complete the Donor Checklist: People cannot donate to you if they don’t know you’re walking/running. Talk to everyone you meet throughout the day. See if you can get everyone on the Donor Checklist checked off!