Thank you for starting a Sleep Out! Use the Resource Center to plan a meaningful experience for yourself and your family, company, or group.
- Getting Started
I’ve never fundraised before!
Fundraising for Sleep Out is designed to be easy. And by making a small self-donation at the time you register, you’re already on your way! Once you complete registration, you’ll have access to an online fundraising page where friends and family can donate to your Sleep Out.
You also have access a suite of tools ranging from pre-written email and social media donation requests to flyers and posters. Most of our participants fundraise by posting a short note and link to their online fundraising page on social media (there’s even an option to connect a Facebook fundraiser to your page) and by sending out emails to friends and family.
How much do I have to raise?
You can set your own personal and/or team fundraising goal when you register. After kicking things off with a $25 (adults) or $10 (youth) self-donation, it's up to you to reach (and surpass!) your goal. The Sleep Out challenges you to go outside your comfort zone. Fundraising is a part of that, so we recommend setting a goal that feels like a slight reach.
Does my registration fee count towards my goal?
Yes! The self-donation you make when you register will count towards your fundraising goal. This gift goes directly to Covenant House and helps demonstrate your commitment to your fundraiser when you share your page with friends and family.
Where does the money go?
Every dollar you raise as a participant in Sleep Out goes directly to Covenant House, an international nonprofit that provides housing and supportive services to youth facing homelessness. When you Sleep Out, you’re paving the way for a young person in need to sleep in a warm, safe bed.
If you Sleep Out in a state or region where we have a Covenant House, the funds you raise will benefit young people in your community. If you do not have a local Covenant House, the funds you raise will be directed to one of our 31 shelters where they're needed most. Your fundraising also supports Covenant House's advocacy efforts to end youth homelessness at the systemic level. Contact us to see the Covenant House nearest to you.
Can I get sponsorships?
Yes! Asking companies to support your Sleep Out is a great way to raise funds and awareness in your community. In addition to our global partnership opportunities, you can customize sponsorship levels to your Sleep Out. Email us for additional support.
Click the link to download or view instructions.
"losing your sense of self" Post-It Activity (All Ages)
Put yourself in the shoes of a young person facing homelessness before they arrive at Covenant House.
Materials: each participant should have three Post-It notes or pieces of paper per participant and something to write with. You can download and print the instructions or follow along with this video.
Your Bed is Not an Option (All Ages)
Hold yourself accountable to an uncomfortable night's sleep with this activity.
Materials: not required.
Provide welcome kits of personal hygiene products to young people who have just arrived at Covenant House.
Materials: download and review the guide.
Click the arrow to download discussion questions. You can print these and write in answers before sharing, or simply use them to guide the conversation.
Articles & Stories
For the latest news and stories from youth, alumni, and staff at Covenant House, visit our Newsroom.
Resilience During COVID-19
Activities & Messages from Covenant House
About Covenant House
About Sleep Out
Post It Activity
Questions You Asked
Parents & Families
The Sleep Out is meant to be a challenging experience that sparks new conversations, and we know that those will look different for participants of different ages. Use the guide below to plan a meaningful night for your family.
Preparing for Sleep Out
- Create a schedule. Your Sleep Out should include more than taking a sleeping bag into the backyard. Use the template provided in the "Getting Started" section above to make a plan that includes an activity, watching a video, or reading an article together.
- Ask and answer questions. Helping kids understand the Sleep Out is important. Watch something from the Video Library, pick an article from the Covenant House Newsroom, or follow one of the Activities provided above as a starting point. Invite your kids to keep a journal during the Sleep Out and jot down things that they found interesting or confusing. If you get a question that you can't answer, we're here to help.
- Involve your kids in fundraising. Fundraising is a unique opportunity for young people to become advocates. Kids are tech-savvy, so set them up with their own fundraising page and let them customize it with a photo and personal message. Involve them in your outreach, asking them why they want to Sleep Out and what they think the night will be like.
After the Sleep Out
- Make time to reflect. Make sure you have time to debrief with your kids about their night, how it compared with their expectations, and if they feel any differently. A reflection guide is included in the Activities section above.
- Otherwise, have a normal day. One of the hardest parts of Sleep Out can be getting through the next day without having a good night's sleep. But those moments of feeling tired can also be moments of reflection and conversation. Young people experiencing homelessness have to go to school or work after far less restful nights, and being aware of the challenges that they have to overcome on a daily basis is important.
- Write your thank you notes together. Sleep Out is a chance to express gratitude in many forms: for the people who have taken care of you or been your safety net throughout your life to those who supported your Sleep Out. Practicing thanks is the best way to close out your Sleep Out experience, letting your loved ones know how much their support means to all you. Encourage your kids to share their gratitude, experience, and photos on social media. Include #chsleepout in the post to be connected to the global movement.