Fundraising 101 – Achieving A Fundraising PR

By Coach Larry DeSpain - Snowdrop Foundation

larry despain bling for bravery

More and more charities are becoming involved with various running events.  Runners are given the opportunity to raise funds for these charities, but there are usually requirements for the minimum amount to be raised by individuals.

Typically these minimums are between $300 and $1,000 but can be more depending on the terms of the fundraising agreement. Many runners are skeptical that they are capable of raising the amounts requested, but with a little planning and effort, these amounts can be reached and easily exceeded! Here are a few tips that I have used successfully to solicit donations for my charities:

  1. Prepare a list of possible donors – Include friends, relatives, and business associates. Make the initial list as inclusive as possible. My list has over 600 contacts.
  2. Personalize your donation request – Explain why you have selected the charity, your involvement with the charity and why you are requesting a donation. I do not use the “boilerplate” requests that many charities offer, and I have never been very successful using social media. I prefer originality and creativity!
  3. It is not a “one and done” exercise – After your initial request, send out updates on your training, activities with the charity, fundraising status and other activities of interest. Be creative; make them interesting to read. I include pictures of mine to indicate my involvement and even use lyrics from songs to introduce each update.
  4. Don’t be shy – Remember, you are asking them to donate to a charity, not give you money. Not everyone will donate, but do not despair. Of the 600 on my list, a little over 100 donate each year, but they are not the same people every year.
  5. Send out a final update after the event – Many people will donate after they know that you have given it your best effort, even if you don’t accomplish your goal, but many people stop fundraising before they even complete the event. Most events have fundraising deadlines which can me a month to two months after the event! I have tried to qualify for Boston three times and have yet to do so, but people still donated. In fact, I typically raise more after the event than before!

For your next fundraising event, follow the steps above and you will be amazed at the amounts you will be able to contribute to your charity. They work for me and they can work for you, too.

My Fundraising Biography
I started fundraising at the age of 12 by selling thin mints for the YMCA. I presold 100 boxes by typing a receipt form on my mother’s typewriter using carbon paper. I then perforated the sheets using her sewing machine. I went door to door taking orders before I received the thin mints. I easily reached my 100 boxes and got to go to summer camp as a reward.

During my working career, I was involved with various charities through the companies I was working for. If there were minimums for individuals on the team, I would raise enough to ensure that every team member met the minimum.

When I retired in 2007, I began training for a half marathon and met the Snowdrop Foundation through the Chevron Houston Marathon’s Run for A Reason program. I have been Snowdrop’s top individual Run for A Reason fundraiser every year since. I have been one of the top 3 individual fundraisers in the Run for A Reason program the last seven consecutive years. My first year in the program, I raised a little over $3,000. The last three years I have exceeded $25,000 each year and in total have raised over $150,000 for the Snowdrop Foundation through the Run for A Reason program.