Fundraising for the Out of the Darkness Walks is more than just raising money. It’s an opportunity to create a community that is smart about mental health.
The money you raise are critical to preventing suicide, and in the process of fundraising you will bring mental health and suicide out of the darkness in your community.
The key to fundraising: asking for donations.
That's it. Some people shy away from asking for money, but once you start, you’ll be surprised by how many people want to support a good cause. But it doesn’t happen right away: it can take as many as six reminders before someone donates. People are busy, they may not get your request at the right time, they may forget. People like being a part of a good cause, but to reach your goal you’ll need to be persistent
Reaching the Goal of $150 in order to earn an official Out of the Darkness t-shirt is easier than it sounds! Here's an example of how you can raise $200 in just 10 days:
|DAY #||WHO TO ASK||TOTAL|
|1||Put in your own $20 contribution||$20|
|2||Ask your significant other for $20||$40|
|3||Ask your mom or dad for $20||$60|
|4||Ask a friend for $20||$80|
|5||Ask your supervisor for $20||$100|
|6||Ask a co-worker for $20||$120|
|7||Ask a neighbor for $20||$140|
|8||Ask another family member for $20||$160|
|9||Ask another friend for $20||$180|
|10||Ask a business owner for $20||$200|
If each of these individuals give you $20 (not unusual), you've just raised $200 and exceeded your fundraising goal. We're sure you can think of more people to ask and soon you will be on your way to becoming one of our top fundraisers and qualifying for recognition gifts.
Get started today:
List Your Potential Donors
The first important step in a successful fundraising effort is to make your list of donors. Any contact you have throughout the day could be a potential donation. Next to each name, select the amount you will ask for and the method you will use to ask for it.
How to Ask
There are several ways to fundraise for the community walks. You will probably try a combination of all of these or come up with ideas of your own, because each donor may need a different approach.
- Email and Your DonorDrive Fundraising Webpage
Email is another great way to reach a large group of people quickly and easily. If you know a group of your donors who are internet savvy, email may be the best way to reach them. Sending out fundraising emails is made easy through your personal fundraising webpage. In DonorDrive, you can personalize your fundraising page with your reason for walking and a photo where donors can make an online contribution. You can also send out emails that include the direct link to your fundraising page to potential donors to make donating online as easy as possible.
- The Face-to-Face Ask
This is the approach you'll want to take when you're asking for a large amount. If you're approaching a potential big donor, take them to lunch or arrange a meeting one on one. Tell them in person what you're doing and how much it means to you. Ask for your big donation, then wait and be silent. Give the moment the seriousness it deserves. Then let them answer. A second face-to-face approach is the casual conversation. Talk to your dentist or your hair stylist. Most of them are not doing what you are doing and they will never know unless you tell them. Don't hesitate to talk to complete strangers when you are on an airplane or waiting in line at the grocery store.
- Fundraising Letter
Consider sending a fundraising letter to everyone in your address book. Many people are enormously successful with a fundraising letter campaign. It tends to result in a smaller donation than a face-to-face ask, but if you have a large number of people to ask, or most of them are out-of-town, a letter can be the way to go. When you sit down to write your fundraising letter, remember to personalize it as much as you can. Address each donor by name, and start out conversationally, as if it were any other friendly letter. Then talk about the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, explain this event, and mention your personal reasons for participating. Don't make the letter too long, but just long enough to inspire them. You want your enthusiasm to be contagious. You can also include an offline donation form and return envelope to make donating as easy as possible.
- The "Friend-of-a-Friend" Approach
You can expand your circle of donors even beyond that initial list of names. Every time someone agrees to make a donation, ask them if they will take an extra donation form and pass it on to someone else. Or ask them to forward your email to a friend. This way you can reach people you don't even know! Ask your spouse to take donation forms to the office, ask your mother to take forms to church or ask your best friend to give donation forms to their relatives. It's a great way to spread word-of-mouth, and to multiply your donations.
- Phone Calls
A phone call is somewhere between a fundraising letter and the face-to-face approach. For some people on your donor list, it may feel unnatural to send them a letter. But maybe you just can't get together in person. Pick up the phone, and just start talking. Talk about the event and ask for a donation. Similar to a face-to-face ask, be sure to leave a moment of silence afterward to let the other person consider their gift and answer you.
Follow Up and Give Thanks
Make sure that you follow-up with everyone that has not donated. Often times, people might be intending to donate and just need a gentle reminder. Let them know that every dollar counts in the fight to prevent suicide and there is still time to donate. Send them a note to keep them updated on your progress as you fundraise.
Once you have received a donation from someone, let them know that their contribution -- whatever the amount -- is important to you and that you appreciate it. Send them a thank you note or invite them to the walk. After the event, you may want to send out a newsletter or email with some photos and an additional "thank you" for your donors' support.
You could potentially double your donations with matching gifts. Many corporations will match any charitable donations their employees either raise or give. Ask your employer if they have any plan like this in place. Then also ask your donors if their employers offer matching gifts. For more information on matching gifts, please click here
Offline Donation Forms are available to download HERE.
You can also access an itemized donation form HERE.
(for tracking individual donations from various supporters)
All checks should be made payable to AFSP and sent to the address below.
Attn: OOTD Walks
199 Water Street, 11th FL
New York, NY 10038
You can also give online. All donations are 100% tax-deductible.
Register today for access to Walker Central, which contains even more helpful information and advice.