Follow our step-by-step guide.
Starting a fundraising campaign can be quick, easy, and, most importantly, impactful by following the steps below.
1. Customize your fundraising page.
Adding a photo and personal note to your fundraising page lets your donors know they're in the right place and is your chance to explain why you joined Sleep Out.
- Login to your Sleep Out page.
- Find the “Your Page” icon on the dashboard.
- To add a photo, click or tap the pencil icon over the photo avatar and follow the instructions to upload an image.
- To change your fundraising goal, click or tap the pencil icon over the thermometer. Enter your new goal and click "Update Goal".
- To add a personal note, click or tap the “My Story” tab under your name and photo, then find the pencil icon in the right corner.
- To customize your page URL, click or tap the “Settings” tab (next to the “My Story” tab). Click or tap the “Customize” link and add your name or initials in the field provided. Use the blue button to save changes. If you’re a team captain, click the “Team Page” icon from the top menu and follow the same steps to customize your team’s page.
2. Make a list.
Decide who you want to ask for support by starting with a few basic categories and filling in a list for each (e.g. immediate family, cousins, childhood friends, college friends, current and former colleagues, neighbors, etc.)
Work to identify between 20-50 people. It's ok to include people you don't see regularly, like a LinkedIn connection. They may still want to hear from you! Consider the following questions when making your list:
- Would this person open an email from me?
- Would I want to hear from them about something they’re passionate about?
- Is this a cause that they could connect with?
- Is now an appropriate time to ask this person for a donation?
By reviewing your list carefully and sorting it into categories, you can feel more confident about sending a message that each group will find meaningful. Remember, many people are always looking for ways to give back.
3. Write a personal note.
Select a sample message to use as your starting point. Then add your voice! If you're not sure how to start, try asking or answering the following questions:
- What made you decide to Sleep Out now?
- What are you hoping to get from the experience?
- If you have done the Sleep Out before, what's different this year?
- Where exactly will you Sleep Out? The more details, the better.
Always include your personal fundraising page URL in your message. To find it, login to your Sleep Out page and click/tap the "My Page" icon. Scroll down to find the "Settings" page, and copy your custom URL. This will direct people right to your page
4. Find the right platform and hit send.
There are many ways to get your fundraising appeal in front of your friends, family, and coworkers. Here are just a few:
- Email - the most effective method!
- Texts - your page is mobile responsive, so people can donate directly on their phones.
- Social media - see our tips below.
- Conversations - in person, on the phone, or on video calls.
We recommend sharing your message at least 2-3 different ways. Think about where you talk to people normally (in a group text, Facebook Messenger, Instagram DMs, Slack, etc.) and take your Sleep Out appeal to them.
Keep these tips in mind when sharing on social media:
- Facebook: connect a Facebook Fundraiser to your Sleep Out when you register (or through your Participant Dashboard later) even if you don't use Facebook regularly. Facebook will automatically send a notification to your friends, so you're sure to make it into their feeds where they can donate directly.
- Instagram: add your personal URL to your bio in the "website" field to make it clickable. When you post, direct people to the link in your bio.
- All social media: use the hashtag #chsleepout to be part of the global conversation and tag Covenant House in your posts to boost visibility.
5. Send reminders and thank you notes.
Most people need 2-3 reminders before they take action! Think about how you can share your Sleep Out on multiple platforms and in different ways. An email reminder to people who haven't responded, a social media post with a statistic or graphic, and a follow up text are all great options.
As people donate, send thank you notes in real-time. You can mark a donation as "thanked" by clicking the "My Donations" icon in your dashboard.
For more ideas, review our sharable content and sample messages.