Fundraising Tips

Ask and you shall receive…

“When I explain that the money supports women’s health and AIDS. Also, when I explain the atmosphere at the swim and the community of Provincetown, donors get very excited, as do I.” *

You decide you want to join the Swim for Life, you are excited by the challenge, you might even set up a personal training program for yourself on FirstGiving. Then there’s the raising of pledges! Ugh! This seems like the most difficult thing to do, more than swimming or kayaking.  Online fundraising helps. Your stomach starts churning at the thought.

Swimmer Mark Bastian’s wetsuit well-wishers! 

Swim MarkBastian

But guess what, there are a lot of people out there who are ready and waiting to support your commitment. If you are passionate about your reason for swimming – supporting a loved one who is ill, or deceased, or helping all the beneficiaries of this special community – people will see that and want to join you.

Or maybe it’s a personal challenge – recovering from a dramatic turn in your life or deciding to take your own health seriously. These are real motivations and your family and friends will sense your passion and join in. Ask yourself, How did you feel when you made a donation to a special cause?

“Talking it up! Providing info on beneficiaries of SFL donations. Multiple postings on Facebook, plus direct email to all previous donors. I made a trial swim, which my wife documented on video and posted on social media. People really responded to that.”

If you are afraid about asking, think about the many people who are living in fear every day, struggling with HIV/AIDS, breast cancer and other life threatening illnesses. To learn more about some of the benefit organizations visit Swim4Life YouTube page.

Develop a fundraising plan, inspire your family and friends to assist you in your commitment. Have them join your team. Maybe one can help with pledges, another could kayak with you, another could be on shore greeting you at the finish line. It’s about creating community and sharing the good will you are creating.

“I don’t need to decide to do the swim. I already have. I will do the swim every year. It is a very important day for our family. I swim in memory of my oldest friend who I spent many happy vacations with in town. I love, love, love that this is a fundraiser. I feel so happy to hit my friends up for money to aid people in this most beloved place.”

Some suggestions:

  • Organize a “Change Party” – give your friends banks to put their nickels, dimes and quarters into, then have them bring the banks to a party
  • Don’t rule out the old-fashioned way: a letter with a return postage envelope
  • Create a short, witty selfie video to send with your request, or to put up on your FirstGiving page
  • Have photos and/or videos taken of you practice swimming for the Swim for Life and send out with your fundraising requests, or link to one on YouTude or Flickr
  • Organize a “Jeans Day” at work to bring awareness to your participation and help raise funds (don’t forget corporate matching donations)
  • For those who are too far away or too young to swim, do your swim in a pool or other location before or during the event

“I use Facebook. Set up my page and keep refreshing all the time. Will change my photo to represent Swim4Life. I also dedicate my swim to someone that has passed away. This year I used my wetsuit as a way for people to write in remembrance of someone that passed or just a note. This gave it a personal touch. Very successful.”

And most important is a Thank You. We have postcards available, let us know how many you need.

“I made a thank you card on Snapfish with pix of me at the swim and sent them to all donors. I also posted a thank you with a link to my fundraising page on each donor’s Facebook.”

“I raised $1,700 this past year by asking more people mostly via email and making donations to the web site. I found that people are more willing to charge rather then write a check and mail it in.”

“Personally contacting people worked the best. I could answer any questions they might have immediately and help them to understand my reasons for my participation.”

“All the $ goes to the intended programs and stays in the community, and there in lies the meaning. Being thanked by beneficiaries of the programs as we get in the water always brings me to tears as does judging where I am by the glitter of the prayer ribbons.”


* Comments from a recent survey