Start a Campaign

As I prepare to work on a fundraising campaign – whether it’s an annual appeal, a gala, or a restricted fund (specific project) - I always start with the same list of basic questions: who, what, where, when, and why. Using this template creates a certain level of structure and can be applied to all levels of fundraising efforts. So with this in mind, let’s fill in some blanks:


Who will benefit from the dollars you raise? How many lives will be affected? Quantify how small to large contributions will benefit your cause. Be specific when you share who will benefit from the funds you’re raising.

Your contribution will go directly to __ who will receive __.

All funds raised my PLEDGE IT campaign will benefit NAME OF THE ORGANIZATION that works to CAUSE OR MISSION.

For example: Your contribution will go directly to elementary school students in Seattle Public Schools who will receive winter coats.


What measureable things does the organization do? Communicate by creating a list.

What can you - the leader of the fundraising campaign - share with your network to help them understand how their dollars will be spent by the organization?

NAME OF THE ORGANIZATION works to __, __, and __.

For example: The New Balance Foundation works to eliminate childhood obesity, encourages healthy eating, and fitness.


This is often the toughest question to answer, but has the greatest potential to turn your list of potential funders into actual funders.

Where will the funds go? Quantify the various items or projects and initiatives the funds you’re raising will go towards. This includes sharing the number of people affected by the contributions you raise.

For example: Is your campaign focused on raising funds for a special project such as graduation gowns and food for graduates, medical care for children in a specific city or country, or is it to cover general operating costs for the organization to continue providing programs and services?

When it comes to defining the dollar amounts for items and activities, speak with your organization’s leadership and staff to determine the answers to these questions.

As you develop and enhance your case for giving, think about what you can share and how you can share it in a way that is compelling.

Here are a handful of examples to assist as you create and quantify where the funds you’re raising will go:

For every $__ donated, NAME OF THE SCHOOL will receive __.

For every $ __ donated, NUMBER of tickets will be donated for __ to attend a NAME OF THE TEAM game.

A gift of $__ will provide __ with __ for AMOUNT OF TIME/QUANTIFY.

For example: A gift of $50 will provide one at-risk youth with lacrosse lessons for one month.

For every $__ donated, NUMBER of scholarships will be given to __.

For example: For every $1,500 donated, one student will receive a scholarship for sports camp.

When the fundraising initiative is over

Participating in a PLEDGE IT campaign is an effective way to grow the donor base for your favorite nonprofit. But when it’s all over, how can your donors remain involved? Share a link to the organization’s website and social handles. Thank them for their participating and encourage them donors to follow them on social channels and see how their contributions continue to make a difference.

This provides an opportunity to include involvement beyond a one-time contribution. It allows you to ask your funders to join the organization at practices or coaching, tutor children, or proof college application essays.

Thank you for supporting NAME OF THE ORGNIZATION. Follow __ and watch the impact of your gift continue to make a difference. Get involved with __ by __.


Why are you raising funds?

Keep it simple. Make a personal connection. Why are you leading this fundraising effort? Share it.

I give to NAME OF THE ORGANIZATION because __.

My personal connection to NAME OF THE ORGANIZATION started when __.

NAME OF THE ORGANIZATION is important to me because __.

About Cindy

Based in New York, Cindy has over 18 years of experience in development and fundraising at national and local organizations across the country. She currently owns and operates a boutique nonprofit consulting firm and personal shopping business. She is a faculty member of The George Washington University’s Sports Philanthropy Executive Certificate Program. She’s always happy to chat about philanthropy via email or on Twitter @CGExperience.

Since 2014, PLEDGE IT has helped professional athletes in the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, MLS, and Olympics support their favorite charities, as well as countless colleges, high schools and youth teams.

PLEDGE IT has also worked with large charities such as The American Cancer Society, UNICEF, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Children’s Hospital Of Philadelphia and the Ronald McDonald House and has been featured on ESPN, USA TODAY, Fox Sports, MSNBC, Sports Illustrated and Ellen DeGeneres Show.