So you’ve signed up for the Empire State Ride and you’re wondering, “how am I going to hit my fundraising goal by ride day?” Whether you’re planning on raising the $3,500 minimum or reaching for that $10,000 Excelsior status, your goal may look a little intimidating if you’re new to fundraising. But, with a little bit of time and effort, and with the tools at your disposal, you’ll find that reaching your goal is easier than you think.
To help you, we polled our 2015 riders to see what they did to reach their goals. Our first question was “Did you find it difficult to raise the minimum?” You’ll be happy to hear that two-thirds told us “not at all!”
Here are some of the tips and tools our riders used to help them reach their fundraising goal. Use them to jumpstart your fundraising!
1. Use Your Fundraising Headquarters
You’re given an online fundraising headquarters and a personal fundraising page when you register for the Empire State Ride. From your HQ, you can manage all of your online fundraising efforts. You can personalize your fundraising page, request donations via email, post links to your page on social media and track your progress. Eighty percent of our riders said they created a personal message on their fundraising page and uploaded a personal photo to go along with it. Another 60 percent said that they shared their page with others on social media.
2. Take Advantage of the ESR’s Tools of the Trade
We asked participants what fundraising tools they used and the personal fundraising webpage was by far the most popular. You can customize your personal fundraising page with the story of why you’re riding, upload a photo or video and share your fundraising goal and progress.
Here’s a look at a few other of our most frequently used tools:
-Business Cards: The business cards are an easy way to tell people about what you’re doing and a great “leave-behind.” Write your name on the back of the card so people can donate to your ride. Just call or email ESR and we’ll mail you a stack of cards to use!
-Donation Emails: We’re not all William Shakespeare when it comes to writing emails. The pre-written emails located in your fundraising headquarters are a good tool to use if you’re not sure how to get started. You can send them as-is or personalize them to tell your story.
3. Write Emails
The most important question we asked our rider is what tactics they used that were the biggest boost to their fundraising. The number one answer: email. Ninety percent of riders said that sending personalized emails to their contacts was the most effective tool they used. You can download and email your contacts right from your fundraising HQ. You’ll be surprised how many people will donate to your ride when you email them. But don’t stop at one. Your friends and family want to support your efforts, but life can be hectic and a follow-up email a few weeks later sharing your progress is a great reminder to donate.
Sending an email isn’t the only way to utilize your account. Include a link and a donation request in your email signature and out of office notifications as another reminder to donate to your ride.
4. Get Social
The second most popular tactic riders used to fundraise? Social media. Riders indicated that posts to Facebook and Twitter with a link to their fundraising page were another successful way to solicit donations. Use Facebook Messenger just like you would with email to ask your network of friends to donate.
After you’ve covered the basics, supercharge your efforts! According to our riders, the most successful way to boost your fundraising is to throw a party. There are lots of ways to do it — you can host a themed gathering at your house, or ask your favorite local bar or restaurant. A well-organized fundraiser with a basket raffle and 50/50 drawing is a great way to build on your donations and have fun while doing it!
6. Share Your Story
If there was one theme throughout all the answers we gathered from riders it was this: share your story. You friends, family, colleagues and loved ones all want to support you in any way that they can. So, don’t be afraid to tell them why you’re riding and what it means to you. And don’t be afraid to ask for their support. If you use the tools at your disposal to ask the people in your life to help you reach your goal you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how many of them do!