You can do this! You can reach your fundraising goal. And we can help. In addition to your personal swimmer page and email tools, we've put together several tips to help make fundraising easier. The key is to think big, remembering why you've made the commitment to swim and sharing your story with potential donors.
Start early. Start now. Your fundraising should start at least 2-3 months before your swim in order to leave enough time for people to respond (and for you to send reminders). If you get a late start, don't panic. Just get started right away and take advantage of the online fundraising tools we've provided now.
Make everything personal. Starting with your swimmer page, make sure you tell people how cancer has affected you, what you're doing to make a difference and what you've set as your fundraising goal. The swimmer page is set up for you to easily modify the copy, add photos, and create a unique URL. Then do the same with your emails and posts. Use your own words and people will respond. The more personal it is, the better.
Make it local. One of the unique aspects of Swim Across America events is that proceeds from each event go straight to local cancer research or care facilities. Local beneficiaries are listed at your Swim Central. Take a few minutes to read about the hospitals or organizations that benefit from your swim. It matters when people can see where their donations are going.
Be fearless. Remember, you're doing the hard part - swimming to help fight cancer. People expect you to tell them about it and ask for donations. They will want to know what your fundraising goal is and suggestions on how much to give.
Be social. You probably have one of the most powerful fundraising tools at your fingertips. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and other social media sites are perfect for spreading the word, sharing photos, asking for support and linking to your swimmer page. Use them!
Ask. And ask again. People are busy. Your friends and contacts expect you to remind them more than once.
Take the easy way. You have tools at your fingertips to help make fundraising easy. Use what we've provided here along with Facebook and other sites you already use to stay in touch with friends, family and colleagues.
Aim high. Set your fundraising goal high. If you reach it, bump it up again. This swim is a challenge. But you'll be surprised by the support and generosity of people you know.
Ask you employer about matching opportunities. Many companies, small and large, have matching donation programs for worthy causes, particularly when one of their employees is involved. Be sure to ask.
Appreciate all donors, large and small. Although it's a good idea to ask larger donors first, every contribution matters. Whatever people can give is more than enough. Be sure to personally thank each donor for their support.
Update often. People want to know what's going on. Let your donors and potential donors in on your progress with updates on your training and fundraising. If you're close to your goal, someone may chip in a little more to take you over the top. Others might even be inspired and choose to join you in the swim next year. When you keep donors informed, they feel that they have invested in a worthwhile cause.
Get creative. There's a reason why so many nonprofits do bake sales, change jars, raffles and other activities. They're fun and they work. While much of your fundraising efforts can be done easily online, come up with additional ideas to raise money. For example:
Try hosting a dinner party where guests make a donation.
Ask your monthly poker group to donate a portion of the buy-in one night to your swim.
Change your outbound voicemail message to include your swimmer webpage address and a quick request for donations.
Set up a table and banner at your next swim meet.
The point is to keep it simple, make easy for friends to participate and have fun!