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Climate Ride Fundraising Best Practices

Author: Bike East Bay

Date: February 9, 2015

Customize your fundraising page

  • A photo of you
  • Why are you doing the Climate Ride?  Tell your story from the heart.
  • Why are you raising funds for the Bike East Bay?  Here are some examples (but use your own words – the more it comes from your heart the more people will respond)

Bike East Bay works for safe, convenient and enjoyable bicycling for all people in the East Bay. They are committed to improving access to biking, walking and transit for all residents of the East Bay, with particular attention to those communities and areas that have been historically underserved. Bike East Bay has done a lot for bike advocacy in the East Bay.

My organization, the Bike East Bay, is a beneficiary of this ride so over 60% of the funds that I raise will go directly to fund our work transforming the East Bay into a place that is full of people biking for their everyday trips, in safety and joy.

Ask and you shall receive

  • Make a list of your friends and contacts.
  • Identify how much you think each person will give.
  • Approach your highest potential donors first with a personal ask (in person, by phone, or a personalized email directly from your email account).  Make a connection with their interests and values.  Let them know you are asking them first to kick you off with at least 10% of your total goal.
  • Group your other potential donors and use the email tool in the Climate Ride donor drive site to ask groups of contacts for the same amount – for instance group all your potential $100 donors together and send them all an ask for $100.
  • Ask and then ask again.  It will take a few reminders for some folks to respond.  Just because they didn’t respond right away doesn’t mean they don’t want to give.  They just read your email and thought to themselves,  “I’ll do this later….”

Fundraising principles

  • Ask each person for a specific amount of money.
  • Appeal to your potential donors interests and values.
  • Ask according to each donor’s capacity to give.
  • You are not asking them for money – you are giving your friends and contacts a chance to make a difference and be part of something they care about.
  • Ask everyone – your chiropractor, your dogwalker, your co-workers, your school friends. You never know who will be touched by your commitment to this event.  You know more people than you know.
  • Social media is good to spread the word but doesn’t take the place of direct asks.  The best use of social media is when you are very close to your goal – it can help you get that last 10%.  Social media is also great at helping your donors feel a part of your ride – post your photos and stories along the way.
  • Thank your donors!!  Email thanks right away are great.  A thank you postcard from the ride – also awesome.  No such thing as too much thanks.

Rider Tips from a 2014 Rider

  • Make it personal. As the advice above says, customize your fundraising page with a photo and with a letter from you about why the cause is important to you. I also sent personal emails and letters or made phone calls to my list of potential donors (I did not, however, break down potential donors by what I thought they could give or ask for specific amounts. I left it up to individuals, and received gifts ranging from $15 to $320).
  • Start early. I signed up for the September ride in January and began sending my fundraising appeals immediately. This allowed me to do follow ups with people I had not heard back from (I sometimes got messages from people who said they were too strapped to contribute, and I responded to these as well as to the people who donated. One result of this was that as the ride got closer, a few of these friends were then able to contribute, and did). The early start also allowed me to raise my fundraising goal, step by step, first to reach the required minimum, then to reach the pre-ride transportation package, and then just to see how much I could raise for a great cause.
  • Don’t be shy. Ask EVERYONE you know. This cause – fighting climate change and supporting Bike East Bay – is a great one. No need to be shy about asking for support. I of course asked friends and family and people whose fundraising rides I’d supported over the years. But I also asked people I’d had professional relations with – former coworkers, my doctor, several real estate agents I’d worked with, and bike shops I do business with, for example.
  • Thank your donors immediately and personally. I wrote a personal email thanking each of my donors within a day of receiving the donation (Climate Ride sends you an immediate notification and also a thank you email to the donor, but you should be sure to write your own). I also sent donors occasional updates about my training, but I did this imperfectly.
  • Use social media (sparingly). I opted for a more personal approach to fundraising than I feel social media offers. But I did use Facebook to update people on my training rides. And in the last week, I made one final fundraising appeal to friends on Facebook. It was remarkably successful (but I still think I personally will only use social media sparingly for fundraising).

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