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The secret to successful fundraising is no secret! Here's 3 key tips to help you out:

3 Key Fundraising Tips

Participants who fundraise well in the RIDE generally have three common traits - they...

1. Personalize.

They spruce up their public fundraising page with a fundraising goal, a close up pic of themselves (or pet :), along with a sincere message that explains why they are participating. They keep it short, authentic but fun.

2. Use the system.

They use the online 'fundraising system' we call FundHub to email, track and thank their donors. People who ask for donations via email raise on average 30% more. Pledge sheets are fine, but not as good as email or other messaging systems.

3. Are brave.

If you personally ask 10 people, on average 6-7 will say yes. So just go for it, invest some time and watch the money flow in.

More Ideas

Click to expand the headings below for some more creative fundraising ideas. ("7 Days" and "Ask for $25" are our favorites.)

The Top Ten

The Top Ten Campaign

This approach asks you to identify ten specific donors you want to ask. Your job is to personally go after each one, but intentionally limit your list to ten people. Resist the urge to ask anyone else unless they can legitimately bump one of the others off of the list.

Grab your phone or a pad of paper and write down your top ten list. Use our idea generator below to prompt your brainstorming.

Remember - people like supporting people they know. Your top ten list should only include people you know, ok?

Favourite top ten list candidates might include...

  • 1 - You (always give to your own campaign if you can)
  • 2 - Mom (ask her during the day)
  • 3 - Dad (ask him after Mom goes to bed)
  • 4 - Grandparents (apply #2 and #3 above)
  • 5 - Sibling$ (they owe you for all the mean things they did to you growing up)
  • 6 - Boss (they love encouraging community in the workplace - ask her!)
  • 7 - Friends (the ones who like you especially)
  • 8 - Extended family (uncle so-and-so always liked you right? Why not ask him?)
  • 9 - That guy you know, what's his name... in accounting (in other words, ask a few associates who aren't friends but who you know)
  • 10 - Bill Gates (fine then, ask one really rich person you don't know - it's worth a shot)

PROs: This campaign helps you focus your efforts. You don't have to ask dozens of friends - just a few favourites.

CONs: You may be limiting your fundraising success, but if this approach gets you going, that's all that matters. Enjoy!

7 Days

The 7 Day Campaign

In this campaign, you commit to working hard at fundraising for one week only. That's it - that's all the time you can invest, but during this week, you will really work it. Here's what your week will look like...

Day 1 - draft a personal, passionate and short email with the link to your personal fundraising page, and identify all the contacts you want this email to go to. Now sit on the email overnight...

Day 2 - review email and make any necessary edits. Personalize the emails to your top ten contacts, and mass email or message the rest. Wait for the money to come in...

Bonus tip: make a donation or pledge to your own campaign before you email anyone. Enjoy being generous. Feel those endorphins swell in your big ol' heart. Nice eh?

Day 3 - respond to auto-replies and wrong emails and mop up an additional donors you just remembered. Sit smugly at your desk, knowing you are rocking the fundraising.

Day 4 - post a cute photo on you on Facebook or Twitter of you wearing a bike helmet with something that says, "Yes, I do look this good in spandex, now check your inbox and drop some coin ya'll" (or something nicer).

Day 5 - make sure you are responding immediately to donors who give. Thank them the same day, always using the fundraising system. Pat yourself on the back and go get a Starbucks.

Day 6 - circle back to your top-ten list and fire them off a quick, witty email with that picture of you wearing a helmet - they need to know you are serious.

Day 7 - count up your fundraising success. How many emails did you send? How many responded? How much have you raised? You've done great - and you are officially done your campaign. It's time to taunt a few of your other friends on your team and recruit a few more.

PROs: You register and fundraise all in one short week. Quick and painless.

CONs: Some people don't respond quickly or only respond on second emails or calls. It's possible you'll leave some money on the fundraising table by narrowing your campaign to a week but, if you are busy and just want to get this off your to-do list, this campaign will work well.

Ask for $25

The $25 Ask Campaign

The $25 Ask campaign is a staff favourite, and works like this - brainstorm a list of prospective donors you know, and ask each of them to specifically give you $25.

That's it - you don't care who they are or how much money they may or may not have - everyone will be asked to give $25 exactly.

Pros: Your ask is low but valuable, clear and understood to the donor, and an easy level for most to fulfill. "Well gee", they'll say to themselves, "I gotta at least have 25 bucks around here someplace".

Cons: You may get less than you should from some, but that should be offset by those who think you are worth more than $25.

The $25 Ask Email Template:

Dear __________

On October 3rd I'm riding / walking in the Ride for Refuge to raise money for ______________ (charity name) who does great work with ____________ (charity cause).

I'm emailing to ask you for a $25 donation in support of my efforts. Would you be willing to support me this much?

Click the secure link below to give via paypal or credit card - your $25 donation will be receipted immediately.

If you have any questions please ask - I'm excited to be doing this and appreciate your support.

Your friend,

Bill Gates**

**name inserted for irony

Monkey Tricks

The Monkey Tricks Campaign

The Monkey Tricks Campaign (MTC) is where you offer to do something special, fun, entertaining or sacrificial to earn donor buy-in on TOP of the riding or walking you'll do on RIDE Day.

It's a fun way to get your donors attention and personalize their support of you. For example:

  • SWEET TREATS - You could give every donor a dozen home-made cookies, or samosas, or whatever.
  • CONDITIONAL SWEET TREATS - Same as above, but you only give them the goodies if they give a minimum of $100
  • STUPID HUMAN TRICKS - You offer to wear something outrageous on RIDE Day like dressing as a zombie, or a clown, or whatever else would be fun (but not offensive - maybe zombie wouldn't be so kid friendly actually, but you get the point)
  • FREE WORK - You offer them physical services in exchange for their money at different levels (mow the lawn for $50, paint a room for $200, neuter their cat for $500 [kidding])

PROs: If nothing else, it will grab their attention and they'll almost always need to respond - especially if you contact them personally.

CONs: Some people won't get how funny or creative you are. That's fine, send them "Shake it Off" by Taylor Swift and move on.

The Blanket

The Blanket Campaign

The blanket campaign is a full court social media and digital communication engagement strategy.

It's called a "blanket campaign" because it covers absolutely everything. Your friends, family, workmates, school buddies, etc. will all know without a doubt that you are involved in the RIDE because...

  • They see your social media posts
  • They've gotten an email ask from you
  • You've got RIDE posters up in your bathroom
  • Your coasters are RIDE postcards
  • You wear a different RIDE shirt every Friday
  • Your email signature is a RIDE logo and something about caring for the poor / refugees / etc.

PROs: The shotgun approach works. People will respond and you'll have a ball doing this.

CONs: You will choke people's news feeds and people might get tired of your posts. You know the drill, shake it off...

Good Will Hunting

Good Will Hunting Campaign

The Good Will Hunting campaign is simple - it's from the "I scratched your back, now it's time for you to scratch my back" school of fundraising.

Remember all those friends you supported this year who were fundraising? Remember those? The one for cancer, ALS, their school equipment, church mission trip, etc.? Well now it's your turn to leverage all that good will you sowed with your generosity. This is reciprocity at it's finest. It's their turn to give to you.

So, brainstorm your list of friends. Search your email client for tax receipts and fire off some personal emails to all those you supported. Then watch the money come in.

Pros: It works.

Cons: It only works if you've been giving.

Bad Ideas

Rejected Campaign Ideas

Below is a growing list of campaigns we've heard of but flatly rejected - if you see yourself doing any of these, call us quick and we'll talk you through better options!

  • The Terminator - give or I'll de-friend you
  • The Passive Aggressive - give or I'll cry
  • The Ice Bucket Challenge - as if that would ever work... pfffft
  • The Co-Dependent - your mother fundraises for you
Fundraising TipsA quick one-pager with 8 breezy tips to jumpstart your fundraising mojo.
Video Fundraising TipsJoin Brian and some badly-drawn cartoons for a wild ride through 8 quick secrets to making fundraising not so panic-attacky.
Donor Letter TemplatesA bunch of handy templates to jumpstart your donor emails to relatives, friends, colleagues, or acquaintances.
Editable PosterThis editable poster is designed to be simple to quickly customize and print on standard 8.5 x 11 paper.
Pledge FormCollect your cash/cheque pledges with this form (includes a quick how-to guide too).
Video 2016So, you tapped a share button. Liked a picture. Left a comment. Retweeted an article. What happens now?
2016 Photo PackFresh new photos for 2016. Special thanks to our dozens of volunteer photographers for taking some incredible pictures!
RIDE LogosA pack of official Ride for Refuge logos in a whole bunch of formats.
LetterheadPolish up your fundraising letters with this official RIDE 2016 Letterhead.
Email LetterheadDrag and drop this graphic into your emails and presto! 100% slicker-looking.
Save the Date PostcardThis 6" x 4" (+ bleed) postcard design can be printed on thick coated cardstock and handed out like candy.
Powerpoint SlidesA gigantic collection of Powerpoint slides and templates to use for announcements at church, school or work.
StencilsPrint them, cut them out, and spray away. (Get permission first of course.)
Questions about this event or Blue Sea Philanthropy? | 1.877.743.3413


Edmonton participant survey result said: "I was blown away this year at how great the event was. *The route was... [link]Nov. 4, 2016 at 10:59 am


An event by Blue Sea Philanthropy

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A Registered Canadian Charity

CRA#: 819882655RR0001

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Kitchener, ON, N2G 2M4