Start a Campaign

Congratulations on launching your PLEDGE IT fundraising campaign! You’re well on your way to earning more funds than ever for your cause this season. So now you can just sit back, kick your feet up and watch the money roll in, right? Not quite. Come on, even an automatic car requires steering. The most successful campaigns are actively promoted throughout the community.

We’ve put together some fundraising tips and best practices to ensure your campaign maximizes its earning potential. Be sure to set aside time to read each section. These tips are designed to help you promote your campaign, turn casual fans into excited supporters, and ultimately maximize your earning potential. Good luck!

WHEN SHOULD I START PROMOTING MY FUNDRAISING CAMPAIGN?

Start promoting and marketing your campaign 2-4 weeks prior to your first game. Two to four weeks is enough time to build hype among your supporters and get the community to rally around your campaign. It’s also a short enough time period to ensure that hype doesn’t fizzle before the first coin toss.

One exception to the rule: local businesses. It’s never too early to visit local business and ask for their support. They may require a little more time to get their funds and promotional support in line. See the below section local business involvement for creative ideas to include them in your campaign.

WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO KICK OFF MY FUNDRAISING CAMPAIGN?

Make the first pledge yourself, and then ask your 10 closest friends and colleagues to pledge before you publicly announce your campaign. No one ever likes to see a zero on the scoreboard. Ensure that never happens with your campaign by making the first pledge.

WHO SHOULD I TARGET TO SUPPORT THE CAMPAIGN?

The more people who know about your campaign, the more you can raise. To help make your fundraising campaign a success, you’ll need to get plenty of people to show their support and pledge.

Target the following groups:

  • Friends & family (within and outside of local community)
  • Coaching staff (all coaches at your school)
  • Student clubs (other teams and non-sports teams)
  • Boosters
  • Faculty members (administrators, teachers, cleaning staff)
  • Alumni
  • Local businesses
  • Local Media (read How to Get Local Media to Write About Your Fundraiser)

Targeting these groups and any other groups with an interest in supporting your team is the easiest way to promote your campaign. Be relentless in your efforts.

HOW CAN I BETTER ENGAGE MY PLAYERS TO ACTIVELY PROMOTE THE FUNDRAISING CAMPAIGN?

Make them run laps until they agree to participate? Not exactly. The best way to get them excited about the campaign is to clearly communicate with them about the goal of the campaign, why it matters, and how it works. Players love the idea that their performance is directly earning funds for their team.

Want more ideas? Here are some additional incentives to engage players:

  • Invite players to become Fundraisers. Teamwork is always better than working alone. It's super easy for coaches to invite their players to create their own fundraising pages. Simply go to your Dashboard, go to the Funds section and copy your Fundraiser link. Next, send each player an email with instructions to create their own fundraising page. Every time someone makes a pledge to their fundraising campaign, they will receive recognition on the Fundraiser Leaderboard.
  • Set pledge goals. Ask each player to collect a target number of pledges. We recommend that they ask 10-15 friends and family members. Make each individual pledge goal attainable too.
  • Reward with swag. Players love swag of any kind. T-shirt, hats, and wristbands. If it has your logo on it, they want it. Incentivize players to generate pledges by rewarding them with swag for their participation.
  • Let them know what they are fundraising for. Players are more motivated to be active in a campaign if they know they are raising money for other children with cancer or to purchase new uniforms.

HOW SHOULD I PROMOTE THE CAMPAIGN?

1. EMAIL YOUR NETWORK

Email is an excellent way to reach a large audience of potential supporters (see our Coach Sample Email Template). But don’t limit your reach to just your own network. Make sure all of your players are emailing their networks as well! Supporters are most likely to contribute if the message is coming from a player. You can draft the email for your players (see our Player Sample Email Template) and just have them hit send!

Make sure your emails include:

  • A link to your campaign website or the players Fundraiser page link
  • A direct ask for support -- you won’t receive if you don’t ask! Support can be given by pledging or helping to share your message.
  • A personal message describing your campaign and why you are raising money.

Be sure to reach out to your alumni. There are hundreds of graduates from your school living outside your local community. PLEDGE IT campaigns offer them an opportunity to reconnect with the program and support your team.

Helpful Tip: Address emails individually to the each recipient. While sending a mass email addressed to “Whom it May Concern” may save some time, personally addressed emails are way more effective and will have better results in the long run!

Creative Ideas: Hold a pizza party campaign launch event with your team. Gather the team together in your school’s computer, gymnasium, lab or library and encourage each player to send your campaign email to his or her network. It’s extremely effective and could not be easier. Besides, what kid isn’t incentivized by pizza?

2. LEVERAGE SOCIAL MEDIA

Spread the word through social media with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and even LinkedIn. Social media is an extremely effective way to spread the message about your campaign. All of your players and the majority of your community have a Facebook or Twitter account – take advantage of it. Social media is the fastest way to reach a large audience today. Campaigns which are driven by your players, and which support your players will have a viral effect in your community through social media.

Helpful Tips:

  • Share early and often. Start promoting on social media two weeks prior to the first game. Provide updates on your fundraising progress after each game.
  • Keep followers and fans informed. Send with messages about how much is needed to reach your goals.
  • Include the link in your profile. Add your campaign link to all of your social media accounts so followers and fans can easily pledge to your campaign.
  • Encourage everyone to share the campaign link. Even if someone does not make a pledge, they can help tremendously by sharing the campaign with their network. Your player’s parents will have the most powerful networks to generate pledges -- Make sure they are posting as well!
  • Share stories and photos, and highlight sponsors or pledgers. The more you can create buzz around the campaign the more you will raise.

Use your social media accounts to encourage people to support your efforts. Update it often so that it’s at the top of your friends’ newsfeed (even if you just count down the days until your event). Thank your donors by posting a message on their wall so that their friends can see it.

Creative Idea: Tag people directly to your posts. This is the social media version of the direct ask. Why was the Ice Bucket Challenge so wildly successful? It was because it involved a direct ask by tagging people in posts. Tag your friends asking for their support – they will be happy to help!

3) PROMOTE AT THE GAME

When is your team at the forefront of everyone’s mind? During the game of course! So leverage that time to promote your campaign. PLEDGE IT campaigns are completely mobile friendly, allowing your supporters to make a pledge as they watch from the stands.

Here are some ideas for in-game promotion:

  • Announcements over the PA system. Have you PA announcer ask fans to pull out their phone and make a pledge today. They can provide fans with updates on your campaign progress and the amount needed until goal.
  • Utilize your concession stands. Have volunteers at the concession stands with an iPad showing people the campaign page and asking for their support, or have them distribute promotional flyers. The only place visited more often than the concession stands at a game are the restrooms…but we don’t recommend soliciting pledges outside of the John.
  • Ads in game programs. It‘s free to advertise in your own game program – use it!

HOW CAN I INVOLVE LOCAL BUSINESSES IN THE CAMPAIGN?

Receiving the support of businesses in your community can be a key for campaign success. There are several creative ways to involve businesses and incentives to provide them for participation.

Here are our top suggestions for getting local business involved with your campaign:

  • Make a Pledge. Simply ask the business to make a pledge or one-time donation to support your campaign.
  • Matching Pledges. By matching the first 50 (or any number) of people to pledge to the campaign, the business is helping to incentivize the rest of the community to make pledges. Pledges will know that their pledge is essentially being doubled because of the business’ support (the total donation can be capped at a selected amount). Not to mention the positive publicity this gives the business.
  • Giveaways to Supporters. This option works perfect with restaurants and retail businesses e.g. convenience stores, clothing stores. The business can incentivize higher pledge amounts from donors by offering giveaways or discounts for different levels of pledges (e.g. anyone pledging $1 or more per touchdown will receive a free slice of pizza from Johnny’s Pizza).
  • Make them a Featured Supporter. You can incentivize a business further by offering to include them as a Featured Supporter on your campaign page. You can also include a link to their website directly on your campaign page.

WHAT SHOULD I DO AT THE CONCLUSION OF THE CAMPAIGN?

Just wait for you check to come in? Well, yes. But there are some other actions you should take to ensure your pledgers feel appreciated and continue to support you in the future.

  • Thank Your Supporters. Send a personal email or handwritten note to your supporters thanking them for their pledge. Ask your players to do the same. Someone who pledges to your campaign believes in what you’re doing. They are your biggest fans. Spend an extra minute to write a personalized message about how their pledge made a difference.
  • Update the Community on Your Fundraising Total. You wouldn’t want your TV to shut o in the last minute of the game, right? Your supporters feel the same way about your campaign. Make sure to update and celebrate your fundraising total with your community via email and social media.

Still Have Questions?

Don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’re here to help. If you have any questions about how to ensure your campaign’s success, please contact us at support@pledgeit.org.

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.