The Closer to Free Ride is first-and-foremost a fundraising event. The dollars that riders raise will provide essential support for the world-class research and patient care found at New England’s most comprehensive cancer hospital, Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven.
Each rider is required to raise a minimum of $400 to help support Smilow. That might sound like a big challenge, but in 2011 the average Closer to Free Rider raised more than $1,200! If you follow the tips below and dedicate yourself to meeting and exceeding your fundraising goal, you’ll be well on your way to meeting (and exceeding!) your goal.
Watch this fundraising workshop to become an expert fundraiser.
- Take advantage of your online fundraising page. It’s easy to set up and even easier to get your family and friends to click and donate. A recent study showed that participants who raise money online raise almost five times as much as those who only raise money offline.
- Develop a short “elevator speech” which quickly and succinctly relates why you’re riding and raising funds for Smilow Cancer Hospital. The clearer and more personal your pitch, the more successful you’ll be.
- Make a list of everyone you know. Really, everyone. Your family, your co-workers, your high school boyfriend, your barber, your mechanic, your daughter’s best friend’s mother, everyone. Send a Facebook message, an email, a snail mail or drop off a letter to every one of them. You never know where your greatest support might come from, because you don’t know who in your community has been touched by cancer.
- Use your social media network to spread the word that you’re riding. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have proven to be successful and easy fundraising platforms. Be sure to provide a link to your personal fundraising page.
- Remember that you’ll never raise a dime from someone you don’t ask.
- Merchants you patronize are always good resources for donations.
- Keep in touch with your donor base through emails as you get closer to the Ride.
- Make sure you thank each and every one of your donors after the Ride. That also helps seed the idea that you might be back to ask for their support again next year.
Throughout the ride season you will have an opportunity to take part in Fundraising Challenges. These great prizes will include free hotel stays, discount at local bike shops and many more prizes.