Running or Walking for Cures

8 tips on how to make charity fundraising fun!

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- Posted on Jul 29, 2009

So you’re doing a charity walk (or run or bike ride).

If you think the challenge will be that big hill at mile three, think again. The real challenge is in raising money.

Charity walks, like walkers, come in all shapes and sizes. Some events require a specific contribution for entry, but most just ask that you raise as much money as you can. Some charities offer elaborate websites with helpful fundraising features, but for most, you’re really on your own.

Especially in a tough economy, begging friends and family to part with their hard-earned dollars can be tough, so here are eight ideas for winning over wallets.

1. Remember people want to give.
Go into this with a positive attitude and your pitch will reflect it.

2. Keep it positive.
People will prefer an upbeat plea rather than one tinged with guilt or whining. Though disease is no laughing matter, keep your sense of humor about the fundraising process.

3. Personalize it.
Whether it’s you that suffers from the disease or if it’s a loved one, or if it’s someone who has already passed away, give a brief description of the disease or the person for whom you are walking.

4. Use your social networks.
Get to know Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn and Twitter to maximize the number of people you can reach.

You never know, perhaps a former co-worker or your 7th grade lab partner is generous. Don’t forget to include your personal story and photos.

5. Provide visual aids.
If you’re sending out an email, or a letter, or using Facebook, include a photo of the person who inspired you to walk, or one of you training, so the potential contributors can feel more connected to the cause. 

6. Send out friendly reminders.
Don’t feel shy about offering friendly weekly or bi-weekly reminders. Give updates about your training progress, fundraising success, or just a friendly, quick, funny nudge to send in those checks.

7. Don’t forget a thank you note.
Be sure to give a big shout out to the people who donate. If you can, include a photo of you at the finish line or with people benefiting from the charity walk.

A thank-you today will help ensure giving for next year’s event.

8. Have fun with it!
Don’t get stressed about asking for money or about meeting your goal. You’re doing a great thing and should feel proud of any amount you raise.

Alina Larson is a Guideposts.com senior online editor.

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