Start a Campaign

We’ve put together some tips and best practices to ensure your campaign maximizes its fundraising 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 fundraising potential.

WHEN SHOULD I START PROMOTING MY FUNDRAISING CAMPAIGN?

Start promoting your campaign 2-4 weeks prior to the 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.

WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO KICK OFF YOUR PROFESSIONAL ATHLETE FUNDRAISING CAMPAIGN?

Before the professional athlete you are working shares his or her campaign on social media, get 20-30 people to pledge or donate to the campaign. No one ever likes to see a zero on the scoreboard. Ensure that never happens with your fundraising campaign by making the first pledge and getting those close to your organization or the professional athlete to 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 outside of the professional athlete's followers.

Target the following groups:

  • Current donors, especially legacy donors
  • Internal staff and board of directors
  • Corporate sponsors
  • Charity partners
  • Media
  • Volunteers

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

HOW CAN I BETTER ENGAGE OUR VOLUNTEER NETWORK TO ACTIVELY PROMOTE THE FUNDRAISING CAMPAIGN?

The best way to get your volunteers excited about the campaign is to clearly communicate with them about the goal of the campaign, why it matters, and how it works.

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

  • Invite your volunteers 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 volunteer 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 volunteer 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. Volunteers love swag of any kind. T-shirt, hats, and wristbands. If it has your logo on it, they want it. Incentivize volunteers to generate pledges by rewarding them with swag for their participation.

HOW SHOULD WE PROMOTE THE CAMPAIGN?

1. EMAIL YOUR NETWORK

Email is an excellent way to reach a large audience of potential supporters. But don’t limit your reach to just your own network. Make sure all of your staff and volunteers are emailing their networks as well! Supporters are most likely to contribute if the message is coming from someone they know.

Make sure your emails include:

  • A link to your campaign website
  • 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.

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!

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 staff, donors, and volunteers 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 community, and which support your mission will have a viral effect on 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. Y
  • 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 DURING THE GAME

When is your professional athlete 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.

HOW CAN I INVOLVE CORPORATE SPONSORS?

Receiving the support of corporate sponsors can be a key for campaign success. There are several creative ways to involve a corporate sponsor and incentives to provide them for participation.

Here are our top suggestions for getting corporate sponsors involved with your campaign:

  • Make a Pledge. Simply ask the sponsor to make a pledge or one-time donation to support your campaign.
  • Matching Pledges. By matching the first 100 people to pledge to the campaign, the sponsor is helping to incentivize the rest of the community to make pledges. Supporters will know that their pledge is essentially being doubled because of the sponsors support. Not to mention the positive publicity this gives the sponsor.
  • 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 corporate sponsor 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 WE 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 staff and volunteers 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.

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.