I’ve raised thousands of pounds for charity through my adventures and now I want to help you! Arguably, sponsorship collections are one of the easiest (and also risk-free) ways to raise money for charity. This is simply asking people to donate and support your cause in exchange for you taking on a challenge. It’s not uncommon for the donations to come to a standstill though. So follow these tips on how to get people to sponsor you to help you reach your target.
Is it a big enough challenge?
The bigger the challenge you set, the more likely you are to get donations. People want to see you suffer!
Creativity is also your best friend when it comes to fundraising. People have been shown sponsorship forms for marathon races a dozen times before. Try and make your challenge or adventure a little different to attract attention. If that’s not possible ask what you can do to make yourself stand out. Perhaps you could wear something unusual?
Have a story
The most successful fundraisers are usually people who have a story or reason for fundraising for a charity. Think about your motives and how you might make your fundraising journey more personal.
Online is best
Most charities will already have an online platform that they are signed up to for fundraisings like Mydonate or Just GIving. Having an online sponsorship page makes donating easy for your supporters and also eliminates any worry about the money going directly to the charity.
Get your page looking good from the start. Add photos and a description.
Set up a text option
A lot of platforms now also offer a texting service. Someone can simply text a donation amount to a set number and the donation will be taken off their phone bill. Use this option if it is there. It’s so quick and easy for people to donate this way.
Encourage Gift Aid
If you are a UK taxpayer you can easily increase any donation by 25% by claiming gift aid. You don’t pay for this 25%, the government does. And all you need to do is tick the gift aid box when you donate online. If someone has said they will donate remind them to gift aid it.
Be clear on where it goes
It’s become common for people to use sponsorship as a way to fund a challenge or adventure. Although some of the money goes to charity, people generally are not keen on supporting this kind of fundraising. You can probably understand why.
Be really clear on your sponsorship form and when asking for donations where the money is going. If all of it is for the charity then great….put that 100% of donations go to the charity. Make it clear that you are paying for the challenge yourself.
Don’t advertise an empty sponsorship page
If you are setting up a fundraising page, get your nearest and dearest to give donations before advertising it to a wider audience. Or you can even contribute yourself and set up a few fake donations. People support things that are successful. An empty fundraising page is a huge deterrent.
Most people need to see an ask or request 3-5 times before they act on it. It’s important to remember this when asking for sponsorship. You might feel like you are being too pushy or repetitive but it’s human nature to need to be reminded multiple times before responding.
It’s also worth noting that with social media, each time you post only a small percentage of your followers will see it. So even if you post 10 times, the chances of one of your followers seeing even half of those posts are slim.
Send an email out
As soon as you have committed to a charity challenge, send an email out to all your contacts asking them directly to support you and to follow your journey on social media. Send another email out a week or so before the event. And then a final one once you’ve completed it.
You can also ask if they would be willing to share your fundraising page on their social media platforms.
Make a video
Videos are the most engaging way to capture peoples attention. Make sure you keep it really short….or even better….get your kid to do it!
Share on social media
Use your training and preparation as a way to get people engaged in your adventure. Share photos and stories of the good times and bad times and always add a link with your sponsorship form. Try to get creative and use different styles of posting to keep it interesting. Using photos, try video and live.
Beyond your network
Getting your friends, family and colleagues to donate should be the easier part of fundraising. It becomes trickier with people you don’t know.
I like to print out a small card with the challenge I am doing and for which charity along with details of how people can follow and donate. Try and leave this with any new people you meet.
If you are doing a challenge where you will pass people you can also carry a collection bucket. Although most will only throw in coins, this can soon start to add up.
I would also ask the charity you are supporting if they would include your challenge efforts in their newsletter. You can also do this for any other network you might be connected to – parents groups, book clubs, WI, sports club etc.
Get in the papers
Try and get yourself in the local press, radio and news….or even national if you are doing a really big or unusual challenge. This is a great way to spread the word.
Even if I don’t get many donations directly, I found that sharing an article on my fundraising website or social media gives the challenge more weighting which will encourage donations from people who are checking your credibility online.
Check out: How to do a press release
Keep plugging post-challenge
Once you’ve completed the challenge your job is not complete. A huge chunk of donations come after an event….I guess people want to see you will actually do it first! You might also get some early supporters donating for a second time. So be really active with asking for sponsorship the week after your event.
It’s nice to send a personal message to people who donate. I would also encourage you to post ‘thank you’s’ on your social media pages as it’s a great way to encourage people to get involved and get their slice of gratitude too.
Resources: how to get people to sponsor you
Regardless of how your sponsorship efforts go, you should feel proud. A lot of charities rely heavily on income of this kind and even the small donations can really add up.
For inspiration from others who have raised a significant amount through sponsorship check out these websites:
A book that really changed my life when it came to fundraising is The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer. Such a great book! It will help you get over your nerves about asking for money and will teach you confidence techniques to make you a more effective fundraiser.
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