11 Tips to Elevate Your Fundraising

#6) Share Your Story With the World

All of the successful fundraisers stressed the importance of sending the message to everyone you possibly can. "Ask anyone and everyone...you never know who will give," said Moreno. For cancer-related causes, most people know someone who has suffered from the illness. It's impossible to predict who will relate strongly to your cause. "People always surprise you," says Leitner, who has received significant contributions from her landlord and even ex-boyfriends. Use email as much as possible because it's so easy to forward. However, don't forget snail-mail, particularly for your parents and people they may know. Also send to any association, network, or congregation to which you belong or used to belong. Frequently, they will forward the request to their entire membership list.

#7) Leverage Social Media

Tell your story on Facebook and Twitter. People will "like" and retweet your story to others who may donate. One friend of Leitner made a very large donation without even being asked, just because of her Facebook post. You can also use these sites as ways to document your progress raising money and preparing for the event.

#8) Keep People Updated in a Savvy Manner

Let people to follow your progress. As Abramson put it, "People want to live vicariously through you." You should create a blog or a Facebook page with lots of pictures that people can access when and how they want. Post photos on that page that show you training and participating in races. There was some discrepancy in the feeback about how to get people to keep coming back to your page. Some, like Jossem advises against sending update emails beyond the original message with a link to your blog . Abramson sent two to three emails to her contacts over the course of her campaign. A few other fundraisers sent notes every other week. Everyone agreed that the frequency needs to be right for the group you're targeting and you shouldn't flood people with emails.

#9) Create a Follow-Up System

"If someone promises to donate, put a reminder in your calendar and follow up within two weeks if they have not contributed," Jossem recommended. Moreno concurred. He says, "Follow up with people who said they want to give, but don't be too aggressive." Again, learn to anticipate what the most effective communication strategy is within your own network.

#10) Consider Conducting a Fundraising Event

If you hit walls raising money, think of creative programs to build excitement among donors. Given the effort this requires, first consider piggybacking off another similar event. Fabian Quesada, who raised $30,000 over the past four years suggested working with existing efforts. He talked to organizers of a business-related golf outing, built a program within their event and raised $10,000. If you do your own event, Leitner stressed the importance of making the event fit your personality. "Think about your strengths and go from there," she said. For instance, Hare is a musician and talked his friends into doing a benefit concert at a bar. He raised $1,000 that way. Miriam Weiskind who is in her fifth year of fundraising for TNT specializes in creative events. One year she took orders for brownies. One batch cost $50. The same batch personally delivered by her in a wetsuit cost $100. She raised $1,000. The next year, friends of the loquacious designer paid money to make her remain silent for an entire day. She raised $1,600. The third year, she committed to running a race in a small bikini in the middle of February. Friends paid $10 a word to have messages written on her body. Certain areas cost more than others. She raised a total of $3,000 for that single run. Bottom line, use your imagination and make your event fun.

#11) Send a Personalized Thank You Note to Every Contributor

Last but not least make sure that everyone who makes a donation, whether large or small receives a personal word of thanks from you. Some people send thanks via emails, some make a point of sending handwritten notes. The style is ultimately up to you, but the core message must convey the gratitude for and impact of their contribution.

Sign up for a race and start fundraising today.

Paul Tyler is an active triathlete in the New York City area. Through his writing, Paul hopes to help grow the sport and encourage people to adopt more healthy and active lifestyles. He founded Triessential.com, which offers an iPhone and iPad app with daily triathlon training tips and motivation for an entire year.

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