Everyone loves the idea of running for charity, but fundraising can be daunting for those who haven’t done it before. We talked to Andy John, one of Open Heart Magic’s top fundraisers, to get some tips on how easy it can be.
Andy committed to running the 2013 Chicago marathon, a bucket list item for him and many others, and decided to make his efforts even more worthwhile by doing so on behalf of a small non-profit. Open Heart Magic was fortunate to be the beneficiary of his time and energy as he managed to raise $7,550 to bring more bedside magic to kids in hospitals. OHM has one of the lowest minimum requirements of any charity, but you’ll see that reaching the minimum was never in question. These are his 10 best tips.
1. You never know from where money might come.
In addition to family/friends, send an email to former and current colleagues. Often work contacts account for more than 50% of donations.
2. Different people connect with different things.
You can’t know everything with which families are dealing. Your cause may be something dear to their heart. Casting a wide net offers others the possibility of finding a new organization that supports them.
3. Set your fundraising page up early.
You don’t have to start requesting donations five months before your event, but setting up your fundraising page is easy to put off. You’d hate to turn down support because your page isn’t up, so do that immediately. If you’re part of the Open Heart Magic charity team, we’ll gladly help you do it!
4. Invest in yourself.
People love supporting causes you truly care about. Show that you’re not just trying to earn karma from other people’s money by making the first donation yourself.
5. Keep emails brief.
Many assume they need to tell an organization’s whole story to convince people to donate, but most people are going to give because you care about it not because of what you wrote. Don’t shortchange the cause, but be concise with your message.
6. Ask for donations regularly.
Email solicitations for a good cause might be ignored, but they are never bothersome. Don’t feel bad sending updates and reminders when you know it’s to benefit kids in hospitals. When was the last time an email full of positivity actually annoyed you?
7. Leverage social media.
Asking friends on Facebook/Twitter is an easy way to get people involved. It’s also a great way to recognize those that have already donated. Public validation and 2nd-hand peer pressure are the quickest way to build your number of supporters.
8. Stress corporate matching.
Most companies match employee donations well beyond what people give every year. Turning every $50 donation into $100 with no additional effort is an easy way to make a huge difference for a small organization.
9. Have fun and go the distance!
Make a game of your asks. Challenge yourself to get more donors with each email. Just because you’ve surpassed the minimum doesn’t mean you should quit now. You’ve already shown that people want to support you, now make the most of it!
10. Ask one last time after the event.
Your friends and colleagues might be skeptical you can actually pull this off. One final update with your results, both time and fundraising, is a great last ditch effort and typically raises additional funds.
Andy ran on behalf of Ronald McDonald House in 2012, but using these techniques he raised 50% more for Open Heart Magic the following year. It just goes to show that there’s no reason to be intimidated by the idea of fundraising. People love supporting great causes about which others are passionate, you need only reach out and ask!
For more information about joining the Open Heart Magic Charity Team and helping in our mission to impact 10,000 kids at their hospital bedside every year, check out this link right here!