Be a Team Captain

Thank you for your interest in being team captain for AFSP's Out of the Darkness Campus Walks! We hope you'll find your role both enjoyable and rewarding.

Our goal is to provide you with as many ideas and resources as possible so you can successfully lead your team to raise money for AFSP's important work. Please feel free to contact our staff with questions you may have. Following are a few tips and suggestions for getting started.

Building Your Team

  1. Remember why you're walking and why you're leading a team. Have you been involved with AFSP personally or professionally before? Have you lost a loved one to suicide? Have you or your family members ever struggled with depression or other mood disorders? Sharing your personal motivation for being a team leader (within your comfort level, of course) can be the most compelling way to involve others.
  2. Familiarize yourself with AFSP's mission and programs. You'll be able to recruit more team members and raise more money if you can share information about AFSP and what your team members are working for. (For more information visit the AFSP website.)
  3. Pick your team name. It can be a family name, a company name, a neighborhood name, or any name you think of. Your team may want to walk in memory of a loved one or in honor of someone.
  4. Set your goals. How many people do you want to have on your team? There is no minimum but the more people you have, the better. Also, set your team's fundraising goal. The suggested minimum fundraising goal is $150 per person. If you have four people on your team, your minimum team fundraising goal would be $600. Experience shows that most teams exceed their fundraising goals!
  5. Pick your target audience. Make a list of people you know and decide whether to ask them to join your team, make a pledge, or both. Be broad in your thinking about who might join your team -- it's the best way to raise funds because team members can ask their own family and friends for support. For people who you're approaching primarily for a contribution, make a "guestimate" of how much you think they would be able and inclined to give. Think about their connection to you and to the cause, as well as their financial resources and giving habits (if you know them). Think about people who have asked you to support their charitable causes.
  6. Ask people to join your team. Ask in person whenever possible. Explain the cause, what's involved in being on your team, and what support you'll provide for them. Have them register online and make sure they select your team name. When you get a "no" from someone you've asked to join your team, ask for a contribution instead -- they'll be more likely to give since they just said no to your first request.
  7. Ask people to contribute.

Remember, you should be able to clearly and concisely present your case for why the person you're asking should support you. To practice, imagine you're riding an elevator with a person you'd like to recruit and you have only the ride to pitch your cause. Tell them specifically what you're doing, for what cause, why that cause is important to you, and how they can support you in your efforts. Practice your "elevator speech" so you can use it at any time.

Additional Ideas for Recruiting Team Members

For workplace teams:

For teams of family and friends:

Leading Your Team


As a team leader, touch base with the walk coordinator or walk chair in your area.

Make sure all of your team members have directions to the walk and know where to meet your team once they arrive. You can meet before the walk if you like and carpool to the site, or meet at the walk site and have a flag or sign so you're easily spotted.

Make signs or banners to carry with you or wear something that distinguishes your group as a team.


Encourage your team members to write personal thank you notes to people who contributed to the walk on their behalf. You can have a "thank-you-note-writing" party to encourage team members to complete this task.

Send your own thank you letter to team members for participating.