Rise and shine!
Inspired by yesterday’s Carrot Cake Muffins, I started my morning with a delicious bowl of Carrot Cake Quinoa with a big scoop of peanut butter in the middle. In the mix:
- 1/4 cup cooked quinoa
- 1/4 cup rolled oats
- 2/3 cup coconut milk
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ginger
- Pinch of nutmeg
- 1 tbsp ground flaxseed meal
- Shredded carrots
I also drank a glass of iced coffee with soy milk. It was a fabulous breakfast!
The other day, I received an email from a fellow blogger asking for tips and advice about raising money for an organization. I spent the last 5 months raising nearly $8,000 for Team In Training, so I figured writing a post on the subject would be helpful to others. Plus, with regard to races, sometimes raising money is more difficult than the training! My best advice: start early!
Here are some of the ways that I raised money for Team In Training that produced the best results:
I hosted a couple of raffles on CNC to raise money for Team In Training. I think these only really work if you have big-ticket items (like a juicer) or services (like a custom website banner) that your readers really want. Otherwise, not many people will donate their money. (I had a few blog fundraisers that raised $0!)
The juicer and the custom banner were donated by companies that I had worked with in the past through Carrots ‘N’ Cake. These people reached out to me, but it doesn’t hurt to ask for donations (as you will see below).
Basically, how the raffle works is for every $5 (or whatever amount you designate) that a reader donates to your fundraising page, they will receive one entry for a chance to win the prize.
- $5 gets you ONE raffle ticket.
- $10 gets you TWO raffle tickets.
- $15 gets you THREE raffle tickets.
- $25 gets you SIX raffle tickets.
- $50 gets you FIFTEEN raffle tickets.
Be sure to let your readers know how long the raffle will run. I ran mine for 4 or 5 days and reminded people about it a couple of times on CNC. Not all of my readers read everyday, so I wanted to give people the chance to enter/donate. I also asked readers to spread the word about the raffle via Facebook and Twitter.
To pick the winner, I listed everyone’s name in an Excel spreadsheet (one entry for $5, two entries for $10, fifteen entries for $50, etc.) and had Mal chose the winner using the Random Integer Generator. Then, we mailed the juicer to the winner, which we paid for out of pocket.
Mal and I also hosted a fundraiser at a bar in Boston. This took a lot of planning and coordination!
A friend, who similarly raised money for Dana-Farber, tipped us off to Cafeteria, who donated the space for the event and a bunch of appetizers for FREE. We couldn’t turn down that deal!
To advertise our fundraiser, Mal and I sent an email to all of our friends and family. I also mentioned it a bunch of times on Carrots ‘N’ Cake and invited local readers.
We asked attendees for a $20 donation at the door, which went directly to TNT and got them 5 raffle tickets to win one of 14 prizes, which included an overnight stay and breakfast at a nearby hotel, New Balance sneakers, Starbucks gift baskets, a Healthworks membership, and lots of other good stuff.
To obtain all of these donations, I simply asked. I’ve worked with a lot of different companies over the years, so I just emailed my favorites, told that I was planning an event to raise money for Team In Training, and asked if they would donate something. Almost everyone said ‘yes’!
The raffle was the highlight of the evening and we raised $700 for TNT!
Blog Bake Sale
If you’re willing to put in the work, a Blog Bake Sale is a great fundraiser!
Here’s how to do it:
First, announce on your blog that you are hosting a bake sale and ask readers for donations. Ask those who want to donate to provide you with the following information:
- Name of the baked good
- Link to the baked good
- Their name
- Link to their blog (if applicable)
- Whether the baked good is customizable
- Whether they are willing to ship internationally
Also, feel free to reach out to your favorite bloggers to see if they will donate something, especially those who are known for their special baked goods. Again, it doesn’t hurt to ask!
Be sure to give the bakers a deadline a few days before you want to host the bake sale. It takes several hours to create the post for it.
Before the Blog Bake Sale, make sure you talk it up on your blog, Twitter, Facebook, email, etc. I also did a couple of Bake Sale Previews to get my readers excited for it.
On the day of the Bake Sale, be prepared to sit in front of your computer to track the bids! (Personally, I don’t recommend letting the Bake Sale go longer than 24 hours! It can get pretty crazy!)
For my first Bake Sale, I sent up a new email account to keep the bids separate from my personal email. I didn’t like switching back and forth between my Gmail accounts, so for the second Bake Sale that I hosted, I had people send their bids to my personal account. Both ways worked; it’s just a matter of preference.
To keep track of the bids, I wrote all of the baked goods down on pieces of scrap paper with space below each one for the bids. Once someone made a bid, I wrote down their name, bid amount, and tagged their email (using Gmail labels) to have a record of it and save their contact information.
As people got outbid, I crossed off their names and added the new high bidder to my list.
Once the bidding closed, I emailed all of the high bidders to let them know that they won. In that email, I asked each person to make a donation to our fundraising page and then email me with their mailing address, which I sent to the baker of the item that they won. Then, the baker sent the goodies to the winner. (The baker pays for the ingredients and shipping out of their own pocket.)
Emails & Letters
Most organizations have a form letter that you can use to solicit donations. Mal and I used Team In Training’s letter, but we personalized it by explaining our motivations for training with TNT and running a marathon together. We emailed this letter with the link to our fundraising page to all of friends and family, which resulted in about a dozen online donations. (Tip: Give people a fundraising deadline. It encourages them to donate early on.)
TNT offers to pay for the postage on letters sent via snail mail, so Mal and I broke out our wedding list and sent the same letter to all of these people. We almost blew-off this fundraising method all together because we didn’t think we’d get a good response, but we were pleasantly surprised with how many checks we received in the mail from family and friends. I’m so glad we took the time to do it!
Question of the Day
Have you ever raised money for an organization? What are your tips?
P.S. For the locals: Be sure to enter my giveaway to win theater tickets and dinner in Cambridge!