How to be a Rock Star Fundraiser 101

With Kiteboarding 4 Cancer quickly approaching, many of you are fundraising for Athletes 4 Cancer for the first time. Don’t fret! It’s not that scary. Be genuine in what you’re fundraising for, tell the story of why you’re participating in KB4C, and people will support you.

[ Need a quick blurb of what KB4C raises funds for? Here it is… ]

Kiteboarding 4 Cancer raises funds for Athletes 4 Cancer’s Camp Koru Survivorship program, which empowers young survivors to find healing, strength, and life-renewal after cancer through outdoor adventure retreats in the ocean and the mountains.


The content below was adapted from a blog post at GiveForward. It’s a long one, so I tried to reduce to just the CRITICAL points. 

How to be a great fundraiser 101

Tell your story: Why are you doing this event? Were you effected by cancer somehow? Do you just like the cause and want to deeply impact others’ lives? Do you love A4C? Tell your story!

Spread the word & don’t start with Facebook: Spreading the word to friends & family is critical to reaching your fundraising goal. But what you might not know is that there is a right way and a wrong way to spread the word to your peeps. These tips can make all the difference in whether you raise $50 or $5000 so take note…. see below.

The Wrong Way: Sending a mass email right after setting up your page. 

I guess it makes sense to first start off by telling you what not to do. What you don’t want to do is set up your fundraising page and then IMMEDIATELY send a mass email or shout out to everyone you know asking them to donate (like on Facebook). Sending a mass announcement/email to start off your campaign sounds intuitive, but in fact, this is a bad idea.

Sending a mass email should be the LAST step you take, not the first. Why?

  1. Mass emails are impersonal. People don’t feel as compelled to donate when they receive a mass email. People respond much much much more positively when they receive a phone call or a personalized email that is directed towards them.
  2. If you send out a single mass email to everyone you know, you have no control over WHO DONATES FIRST. Why does it matter who donates first? Well, it has to do with the law of monkey see, monkey do. When people come to your fundraising page, they check out the donor list to see the average donation size. Then they donate a similar amount. If they see that most people are donating between $50-$100, then they will likely donate between $50-$100. On the other hand, if they check out your donor list and see that most people are donating between $5-$10, then they’ll probably donate $5-$10 too.
    By contacting all your friends, family, co-workers and schoolmates at the same time with a single mass email, you’re leaving your fundraising campaign entirely up to chance, as you’ll have no control over who donates first. For all you know, your first few donations might be from people who give you $5 or $10 prompting subsequent donors to donate equally small amounts and making it hard for you to ever reach your fundraising goal.

To summarize, mass emails can be a very useful tool to reach out to lots of people. However, the mass email should always be the last step, not the first!

The Right Way: Categorize your contacts & start BIG.

Categorize your potential donors into different groups and then contact them over a period of weeks starting with your Big Guns (i.e. those likely to donate the largest amounts) first.

Big Guns: Parents, grandparents, spouses, aunts, and uncles, siblings. The people you know well and that know you best are most likely to be the most generous.

Friends PLUS +: More awesome than 99% of the world, but not as awesome as the Big Guns. This consists of more family, friends, family friends and co-workers. Most of these people will donate as well, but maybe not as generously as group 1.

Stretch Group: Consists of FB friends, friends of friends and other acquaintances. These people probably won’t donate the 1st or 2nd time you ask them, but with persistence, they will.

When approaching Big Guns and Friends PLUS+, pick up the phone and make that call! Or send a nice letter. For the stretch group, Facebook posting is fine, just make sure you tell the story that is specific to you, not someone else, as part of the StayClassy pages.

Don’t forget to tell people what where the money goes… (see Camp Koru, above). People donate to YOU, but you stand for something much bigger. If you have any questions about A4C’s Camp Koru program or Kiteboarding 4 Cancer, don’t hesitate to email info at or check out the Athletes 4 Cancer website.

Stick with the 3 Ps for successful fundraising – Personalization, Promotion, and Persistence –and you’ll be on your way! Thank you for your support!!


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