When you ask people to donate to the Going the Distance Ride (GTD), you are giving them an opportunity to do something good for others, and, in turn, feel good about themselves. People readily donate to support participants in events like GTD because they have three good reasons to donate. By donating they can support you and also the significant effort you are making for the Boys & Girls Club and at the same time support an organization that has a great local and national reputation.
Here are some steps to having a successful fundraising campaign:
1. Start early, don’t leave this for the last minute! Start fundraising by May 1st or sooner.
2. Register for the Ride and set up your personal FirstGiving (FG) page for online donations Do that now. If you’ve set up your FG page and want to edit it, the full instructions are under “Registration/Fundraising” on this website.
3. If you rode with us in past years, you can use the email you used before and the text from that year’s FG page, with some updates and changes. You don’t have to create a new email or FG page. Tell people about your past GTD ride(s), why you’re riding again and thank all those who have supported your effort in the past.
Always solicit previous year’s donors first. In your email, thank them for their donation of $xx in the past and ask them to support you again. Previous donors are very likely to donate to you again, often at a higher level, when they see you are committed to the Club and are riding again. Right after you Register on FG, the Club will email you a list of those who donated to you in the past and the amount they donated.
4. Edit and personalize your FG page with a photo of you (on your bike if possible) and some text about why you’re doing this ride for the Club. Look at other rider’s FG pages (listed at the bottom of the GTD Home page) for suggestions. Copy and paste what is appropriate. Look at has the sample appeal email, under the Fundraising tab and Facts and Figures about the Club on this website.Use that information in your email appeal and on your FG page as you wish.
5. Set a fundraising goal on your FG page.We suggest starting with a goal of $500 – $1,000 or more. It can always be changed. If you rode previously, put in the amount you want to aim for this year.
6. Make a list of people who you will ask for donations. We all know some of the same local people so it’s good to solicit people who know you and will NOT be solicited by other riders. Think of family, out of town friends, friends from high school and college, people you work with, neighbors, your satisfied customers and suppliers, people you know through church, other activities or sports you’re involved in. Look through your Christmas card list, your email addresses and your Facebook friends for possible donors. Think of people YOU have supported for runs or rides. Don’t be afraid to ask!
7. Create a short appeal that can be sent by email or mailed if you don’t have someone’s email address. You can use some of that text on your FG page. Let people know you’re excited about doing this Ride to support a great local organization. Don’t apologize for asking. Suggest a donation of $25 or more. Close your email by thanking people for their support. Ask them to share your email with others who might support your effort. Look at the sample email under the Fundraising tab for suggestions.
8. Include the link to your personal FG page in your appeal letter or email. Have the information about donating very clear and easy to find in your text, in a separate paragraph, in the middle of your text and consider making it in bold type. Tell people they can easily donate online by using the link to your FG page OR by writing a check to the Boys & Girls Club of Brattleboro, with your name in the memo line, and mailing it to: Boys & Girls Club, 17 Flat St., Brattleboro, VT 05301. Remember, donations made by check save the Club the FG processing fee.
9. Don’t send your email out as a “blast email” to many people. Donors appreciate a personal approach. It’s much more effective to send your emails one by one. Send the first one, with a personal salutation, then click “resend”, change the email address and salutation to the next name on your list and send it off. Consider a short personal sentence or two for each email. The more you personalize your appeal email the better. If you’re organized, you can easily send 25-50 emails in a short time.
10. The Club will notify you weekly of checks that have been received to support you. When you set up your FG page, check off: “send me a confirmation email”. Then FG will notify you immediately when someone donates online. If donors give you checks or cash, don’t hold on to them, please send them to the Club ASAP so the donations can be entered and the donors thanked in a timely fashion.
11. All donors will get a thank you and tax deduction receipt from the Club. Those who support you through FG will get an automatic “thank you” email that you can personalize. It’s also very easy to make a short “thank you” email that YOU can email to your donors as soon as you know they have donated. All donors really appreciate being thanked by you in a timely fashion!
12. How to use Facebook (FB) to help with your fundraising: In our experience, people respond to personal emails and very few people donate because of your FB posts if they have not received a personal contact or email from you. But FB is a good way to let people know what you are doing and it reminds them that they received your email but have not yet donated. Post something about the Ride frequently on FB; why you’re doing it, how close you’re getting to your goal, something about your training, etc. Always include the link to your FG page. And make sure to “like” and comment on the postings of other riders and “share” their posts if appropriate. Everyone benefits from all the traffic there is on FB about the Ride.
We want this to be a fun ride for you and a successful fundraiser for the Club, so don’t hesitate to ask for help. Contact any of the Planning Committee members if you have questions and concerns about your fundraising.
If you have questions about fundraising, feel free to contact one of our GTD Planning Committee members:
Bob Nassau, Jim Robinson, Ellen Martyn, Moss Kahler, Chris Chapman, Lisa Ford, Cindy Howes, Spencer Crispe and Linda Rinder.