Three Reasons Why You Should Always Ask for a Specific Donation Amount

Quick poll: while fundraising for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day®, who among you has written a fundraising letter or email, posted a Facebook ask, or made an in-person request and used some version of the following statement: “Please donate whatever amount you’re comfortable with.”

It’s true that every donation made to the Komen 3-Day—no matter the amount—is important and will make an impact in the fight against breast cancer. But experience has shown us that asking your donors to give a specific amount is a more successful fundraising tactic than the “whatever you’re comfortable with” route. Here’s why:

An Unmistakable Call to Action – People like to be given directions. When you ask for 3-Day® donations in a specific amount, you give your donors a clear instruction to act on, which will make them more likely to donate right away. Putting a deadline on your request is another great way to motivate your donors to give without delay.susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk blog fundraising donations

Aim High, Land High – For the past several years, I’ve straight-up asked my donors for $100 donations in my initial fundraising emails. I make no apologies for it, and I remind my donors that my job as a 3-Day walker, first and foremost, is to raise as much money as I can for Susan G. Komen®. I make this request knowing full well that many of my donors will not donate that much. But what I’m really doing is setting an expectation. Asking for a large amount says to my donors, “This is important, and your part in it is important.” Sometimes it works and I see those hundred dollar donations hit my account, but even if the donor is not willing or able to give that much, they will still end up giving as much as they can. On the other hand, back when I used to say, “Any amount is okay,” I found that donors would often give far less.susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk blog fundraising donations

Attention-Grabbing Gimmicks Work – Last year, I sent out a fundraising email two weeks before my 37th birthday, challenging my supporters to help me raise 37 donations of $37 each before my big day. The amount I asked for was very specific, very manageable, and since the birthday angle tied to it was personal to me, it was highly appealing to my friends and family members. The response I got from donors was immediate and generous; I raised over $1300 in less than 2 weeks, based on this tactic alone. If I had thrown out a request that said, “Please make a donation in any amount in honor of my birthday” I can’t imagine the ploy would have been as successful. Click here to find some other fundraising strategies that incorporate specific donation amounts.

susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk blog fundraising donations

 

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.