If you know me, you know that I love participating in Walk MS every year. It’s a walk outside of our local AAA ball park to raise money for the National MS Society for people living with Multiple Sclerosis. The funding helps patients receive financial help they might need for medicine or maybe, a new Air Conditioner for their house. The National MS Society is also the largest private funder for MS Research. They want to find a cure. (Full Disclosure: I do a lot of work with the National MS Society. They are not paying me anything. This is just my opinion of the work they do for people living with MS.)
The first time I signed up for Walk MS was the year I was diagnosed with MS. 10 years ago, in the welcome email I received after registering, it said that the average first time walker raised $300. I decided that was going to be my goal. It wasn’t small but it wasn’t overwhelming either. It seemed do-able. I asked my friends and family if they would support me and started gathering donations. That first Walk, we raised $1,200. I was blown away. After we participated at the actual Walk and I was able to experience all the energy, I knew I wanted to aim higher for the next year. I had caught the fundraising bug but where do I start?
I get really excited to fundraise every year. It’s my passion project every January to April to fundraise. I put so much time and effort into fundraising. The last eight years, I have held a raffle to raise money for my Walk.
I hold the raffle at a pizza restaurant that donates a portion of that nights sales back to our fundraiser. I ask local businesses if they would like to donate an item or a gift card that we can raffle off, in return I will advertise their business on FB and IG leading up to the raffle. I also post their business information during our raffle and at the actual Walk. Leading up to the night of the raffle, I sell raffle tickets and collect monetary donations. Usually by the end of the night of the raffle, we have raised $1,500 to $2,000 for our team donation.
I’ve gotten better at organizing my raffle as the years have gone on. My raffle takes a lot of dedication, time and energy to pull off, so if a large raffle sounds to overwhelming, if you’re new to fundraising or not sure how to start, here are 3 simple ideas you might like to try to started.
#1- Ask 10 People if they will donate $5. When you hit that goal, ask 10 other people if they will donate $10. Then ask 10 people if they will donate $20. etc. I like to make a little game out of it to stay motivated but you don’t have to do it like this. You just need to start ASKING.
Call, Text, DM, etc. “Hi Bob! I am trying to raise money for my XYZ Walk. It is near and dear to my heart because _______. Would you be willing to donate $5 to my fundraising goal?”
This is the easiest thing to do but people often feel like its the hardest because it requires ASKING. I have found most people want to help you reach your goal and they will give you a donation if you ask. Any dollar is a dollar closer to your goal.
#2- “Donate from every State!”
Ask one person you know from every state to donate $10 to your fundraising goal, when you check every state off that gives you $500 for your cause! And hey, if more than one person from a state wants to donate to you let them. It just increases your total donation. Also, if you don’t know a person in every state, it gives you a chance to share your fundraiser over and over.
You could to word it something like this, “Hey everyone! As you have probably seen and heard, I am trying to raise money for my XYZ Walk! I love this charity because _______! I have been challenged to gather a donation from every state! I’m doing pretty good! So far I have gotten 32 states crossed off but I need your help! Can you please share this post if you happen to know anyone living in South Dakota, Rhode Island or Alaska? I don’t know anyone there. I appreciate your help!”
#3- “Can You Spare Some Change For XYZ?”
Upcycle that spaghetti sauce jar or an empty soda bottle that you’re ready to toss in the recycling. Or, you could pick some glass bottles up from the Dollar store. Put a label on it that says, “Can You Spare Some Change For XYZ?” Then ask a few people you know with offices or local businesses if you can leave the jar in their reception area for a month to collect change as part of your fundraising. After a month, (buy some coin wrappers while you’re at the Dollar store), sort the coins by denomination and start filling those wrappers up with all the accumulated loose change. You’d be surprised how much change fits in an empty soda bottle.
Bonus Tip: NEVER underestimate the power of a handwritten thank you note! (At the very least, a Word Doc that you personalize with the name of the person or business and sign your name in ink at the bottom!)
I love checking the mail! Yes, even now as a grown adult. When there is something in there other than bills and Ad’s, a big grin beams on my face. I’m not exaggerating. I get so excited! What it is?? An invite to a party? Announcement of some kind? Who knows until you tear that envelope open and find out!!
I’m linking my Walk MS fundraiser link below if you want to get an idea of what I say to ask for donations.
Have you ever done any fundraising? What has worked for you?