HOW TO GO ABOVE AND BEYOND
Fundraising can be a challenge. We know you can be successful at our events when you are passionate about the reasons for your swim and the impact that SAA has had on cancer research. Whether you’re trying to hit a fundraising goal for the first time or attempting to become a WaveMaker, these are the steps that our best fundraisers take to become leaders on the fundraising scoreboard leaders. Remember that we are more than a swim, we are a cause.
STEP 1 Personalize your Participant Center
The best way to start fundraising is to personalize your fundraising page through your Participant Center (after registering). You can share your story about why you’re swimming and add a photo. Historically, the top SAA fundraisers always personalize their fundraising page.
From the Participant Center, you’ll be able to send emails to friends, family members, and coworkers asking to support your Swim. We’ve even included sample emails — all you need to do is personalize them, and then hit send!
Need help updating your personal fundraising page? Watch this video.
STEP 2 Start Fundraising Early
Begin fundraising 2-3 months before your swim. If you hit your goal early, increase it and see how high you can go!
The deadline for reaching your fundraising minimum differs depending on your event, but it is usually event day. Don’t worry if you get a late start, just be sure to utilize online fundraising as much as possible to catch up or download and use the Fundraising App.
STEP 3 Be Sure To Tell Your SAA Story
This is about YOU! When your donors contribute, they consider themselves to be supporting YOU more than Swim Across America. Everyone has been affected by cancer so sharing your personal reasons for swimming may help people understand how important the cause is. Know a bit about the beneficiaries your event supports so that you can answer questions and explain where the money is going.
You can also send or deliver handwritten notes of appeal to those close in your fundraising network, giving a personal touch that resonates with donors.
STEP 4 Email and then Email Again
Whether you use your personal email account, your Participant Center or the Good Move fundraising app, make sure to email your friends, family and coworkers asking them to support your Swim. Make your message personal by sharing why you’re swimming and why funding cancer research is important to you.
Send more than one email. Donors are often busy and have to be reminded many times before they commit to helping you. Remember that you can still fundraise after your event by sending emails.
STEP 5 Use Social Media
Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are great places to share your reasons for swimming and passion for Swim Across America. You can now directly link your participant center to your Facebook account in a few easy steps and reach donors in your network you might not email directly. Cancer has affected almost everyone and donors are sure to be moved when you post #WhyISwim.
Need help connecting your personal fundraising page to Facebook? Watch this video.
STEP 7 Double your funds with Matching Gifts
Matching gifts are an easy way to increase and even double your fundraising total. You should ask all of your donors if their employer participates in a matching gifts program. Use our matching gifts search portal to find instructions for your company and easily double your donations! Some companies require a paper form, while others complete the entire process online. You will often need our National Office address (8508 Park Rd. #389, Charlotte, NC 28210) and Tax ID # 223248256.
STEP 8 Get Creative
There are literally hundreds of ways you can fundraise for your Swim. Use your own creativity to come up with fundraising ideas that work for you! Here are a few more ideas — all tested by event participants like you:
Make a Video. Film yourself swimming or telling people why you're swimming and share online. The more they know about your story, the more likely they are to be touched and donate.
Office Challenge. Start an office fundraising challenge to stir up some healthy competition among colleagues or departments.
Restaurant Fundraisers. One of the best fundraisers ideas is to contact local restaurants, bars or other vendors and see if they’ll donate back part of the proceeds from a “SAA Night” or similar event.
Bake Sale/Lemonade Stand. Have one at home, work, school, church/temple/mosque and use a sign saying that all donations will go towards cancer research, prevention and treatment. Include a straight donation jar as well.
The Change Jar. Leave a change jar on your desk at work and ask people to contribute loose change that is left over from lunch. A little bit can add up to a lot. Ask for help.
Do you know a person or business that may be interested in giving a large sum? Feel free to contact SAA and ask us to help you close the deal.
LAST STEP Don't Forget to say Thanks!
Most importantly, make sure you thank your donors. Saying thank you means they’ll likely be more willing to donate again next year.
The Participant Center gives you the option to automatically send your donors a thank-you email when they give online. However, it’s always a good idea to personally thank each person who donates by sending them a handwritten note, an email, calling them, or giving them a shout-out on social media.