Foolproof Tips for Fundraising Follow-ups

susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk blog fundraising follow-up fridaySending out a fundraising email is one of the most commonly utilized fundraising tactics by Susan G. Komen 3-Day® participants, and for good reason: fundraising emails allow you to reach a potentially large audience quickly and easily, let you tell your potential donors about the Komen 3-Day and why you are taking part in it, and make it simple for donors to click through directly to your personal donation page. That’s why one of the first things the 3-Day® coaches will ask when a walker contacts them to lament the trouble they’re having with fundraising is, “Have you sent out a fundraising email yet?”

Well, have you? You have! Great job!

So now what?

The “now what” tends to be the same for most 3-Day participants: after sending out the first fundraising email, a flurry of donations will come in right away. You’ll feel great, inspired. For a lucky few of you, you’ll end up reaching your fundraising goal just from donations generated from that first email. But for most of you, you’ll notice that after a week or two, the rush of donations slows to a trickle, and you start wondering, “Is that it?”

I promise you, that’s not it. And that’s where the follow-up emails come in.

Here are my time-tested top nuggets of wisdom about working the follow-ups.

Always BCC – Just a quick word about sending out mass emails: always use the BCC (Blind Carbon Copy) function in your email program (or better yet, send your messages through the email function in your 3-Day Participant Center; you can BCC from there, too). This allows you to send a message to a large group of recipients without openly listing everyone’s email addresses in the To field. It’s important to be respectful of your potential donors’ privacy. That said, some email programs won’t let you see who was included in the BCC field once a message has been sent, so we recommend that you keep a separate list somewhere of everyone you sent your messages to.

A Gentle Nudge – When I was a coach for the 3-Day, I told people all the time that their initial fundraising email gets the word out about their 3-Day journey, but the real fundraising impact comes from the follow-ups. Yes, some people will be inspired to donate right away, but most of your donors probably file your message away under “I’ll get to this later” (especially if you’re sending your letters out months before your event). Sending a follow-up message to your original send list is a way to gently remind those folks who didn’t respond yet that, “Hey, I’m still here, and I’m still counting on your help.”

Time It Right – I think that, in general, 2-3 weeks is a good amount of time to let pass after sending your first fundraising email before you send out a follow-up. After that amount of time, it’s likely that your original message has been inadvertently forgotten or lost in someone’s inbox. So you give folks that gentle nudge, then subsequent follow-ups can be spaced out with the same amount of time, or up to a month apart.

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How to Tell Your Story – A Guest Post by Coach Susan

Susan Wynne, the Participant Support Coach for the Atlanta 3-Day, joins us today to talk about the importance that your story has in your fundraising efforts. susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk blog 60 miles how to tell your story fundraising coach susan

 

“Tales told from the heart reach the heart.” – Steve Sanfield

Who doesn’t love a good story? A really great story can draw people in, transport them to new and different places and move them to act. Stories are what connect us to each other.

Your story is an important way for you to share your message with potential donors. Your story is what will help you achieve the goal that you set out to reach, which is to help create a world without breast cancer.

When participants register for the Komen 3-Day, one of the first things that we as coaches suggest they do is customize their personal 3-Day® webpage. This is the place where you will tell potential donors YOUR story. What brought you to the 3-Day? What made you decide to walk 60 miles and raise $2,300? What will your friends’ and family members’ donations mean to you and to the fight?susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk blog 60 miles how to tell your story fundraising

Below I’ve outlined a few tips to help you tell your story:

  1. Make your story authentic. The people who are going to be supporting you will be drawn in because they know you, they want to support you, and they can empathize with your story. Don’t tell someone else’s story. Use your voice. Jot down a few thoughts about what you want to share: what made you decide to participate? Why is this cause important to you? Why did you choose the 3-Day? This will become the outline for your story.
  2. Speak from the heart. For most of us, making the decision to participate in the 3-Day was emotional. Maybe you were driven to participate because you were diagnosed, maybe because you lost a loved one, maybe you might not have a personal connection, but were drawn to participate because you want to do something to make the world better. Whatever the reason, it must have been powerful to make you decide to do something that many other people wouldn’t do. Share your reason with your donors. It is the stories, not statistics, that will help connect people to your cause.
  3. Remember that your story is powerful; share it with everyone! As the 3-Day gets closer, we have many participants who reach out to the coaches because they need some last-minute fundraising advice. As a coach, the first thing I do is go online and visit their personal fundraising page. I’m surprised by how often I discover that they had not personalized their page yet; they had not told their story. Many walkers make the mistake of thinking their story isn’t important, or thinking it won’t make an impact, so they don’t share it. But they couldn’t be more wrong! My first suggestion is to get that personal page updated, then share it with the world. It’s amazing the success that people have when they take this very important step.
  4. Make sure to include your donors in your story. Your donors are helping you achieve your goal by supporting you. Their generosity goes so far beyond the monetary gifts they give, because together with you, they have helped make a difference in the fight to end breast cancer. Share how their donations are helping, and thank them publicly early and often.

Sometimes getting started is the hardest step, so if you need a little help with getting your story out there, call your 3-Day coach at 800-996-3DAY.

Time Tested Tips from 3-Day Team Captains: Part 1

Whether you’re a super solo walker or part of a team, there’s no doubt that you’ll have an amazing time on the Susan G. Komen 3-Day®. But if you are looking to captain a team, a handful of our top Komen 3-Day team captains from last year have shared their advice for leading a  team to success. Check out what 3-Day® team captains Mary and Roxanne have to say about recruiting new teammates, keeping team members motivated to fundraise and train and engaging with their teams at all points along the way.

susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk blog 60 miles team captains maryMary
Team: No Walker Left Behind (Dallas/Fort Worth)

To recruit new walkers: Have a friendly get together with photos of past events. Put your walking pack, the pins you earned and your fun Komen 3-Day costume on display. Talk about why you do the 3-Day.

To encourage and retain long-time participants: Do something in the off-season. Short walks are a good time to ask potential team members to come out. Keep your training going and register for some fun runs as a team. Keep in touch with your team members; send Christmas and birthday cards.

During the event: Keep track of your team. Eat dinner together, check their tents, show you care. After the event, have an end-of-season get together with family members.

Training: Vary the time and place to keep things interesting, and to figure out what works best for your team members. Get some local running stores to provide water and a restroom stop. Keep the training walks as simple as possible with easy-to-follow directions or maps. Make sure everyone is walking at a comfortable pace and not having to keep up with fast walkers or having to hang back with slower walkers. Ask the faster walkers to sign off when they arrive at the finish if you are not there yet, and be sure you are waiting at the finish for the slower walkers.

Fundraising: When your team members get close to the $2,300 mark, encourage them to raise their goal to $3,000. Ask crew members to help with fundraising efforts to help walkers.

susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk blog 60 miles team captains roxanneRoxanne
Team: OB Walkers (San Diego)

If you have a small team of family and friends, it is important to keep in touch and help everyone stay motivated, especially if you have team members who live far apart.

Fundraising: Group fundraisers can be a lot of fun, but they can also be a lot of work, so it is important to delegate tasks to each team member. Realize that the bigger the “team” participation is in a fundraising event, the less each person can realize from the effort. So make it simple. Always decide first and foremost: What will our potential donors like to do, and what will bring them all together to support our team so that we can raise the most amount of money? This sounds simple but can get lost in the excitement to create a special event.

There are plenty of shops, markets and service providers that will donate to your event, so have each person ask five locations for food, raffle items or a donated space. Each team member should have a personal list of friends, family, co-workers and providers that they can draw from as donors. Even if you are a family team, each of you brings a different list of contacts into the mix.

Start fundraising now! November seems like a long way off, but training season starts in June (for our participation in the San Diego event) and you don’t want to spend precious weekend training time on fundraisers. I found it useful to tell donors that my participation is a HUGE commitment but I don’t tell them exactly when the walk is – not for a while, anyway. When you tell your prospective donors in February that you are walking in November, they think they have all the time in the world. So set mini goals and email donors, “My goal this week/month/day is to raise $X.” Set a high personal goal of $5,000 or $7,000 and tell your donors that goal, not that you have to raise $2,300 to walk. This way you will exceed your $2,300 goal more easily.

Training: Training is vital, not only to having fun on the event but also as a way to bond and meet new friends. Get out and try different training walks to see if they are a good fit for you and your team. Short walks can be team-only events where you can share information and ideas, but going out with a larger group for a training walk enhances the experience. If you are new to the 3-Day, training walks are a terrific place to get information about the event, gear, hydration, nutrition and stretching.

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