Follow our step-by-step guide.
Starting a fundraising campaign can be quick, easy, and, most importantly, impactful by following the steps below.
Customize your fundraising page.
Let people know they're in the right place.
Adding a photo and personal note to your fundraising page makes it immediately clear that this is your fundraiser. It is also your chance to explain why you joined the Sleep Out, what it means to you, and why you need their help.
- Login to your Sleep Out page.
- Find the “Your Page” 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 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 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.
Make a list.
Decide who you want to ask for support.
Start with a few basic categories and fill in a list for each.
For example: immediate family, cousins, childhood friends, college friends, current and former colleagues, neighbors, etc.
Include people whom you see less regularly, like a LinkedIn connection, but still may 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?
- Has this person been especially affected by the pandemic? (e.g. have they or their family fallen ill, are they facing any uncertainty with their job?)
Work to identify between 20-50 people.
- Now may not be the right time to ask some people to support your Sleep Out, and that's ok. 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 looking for ways to give back during this difficult time.
Write a personal note.
Now that you know who you're talking to, you can draft your message.
Select a sample message to use as your starting point. Then add your voice!
Taking time to add personal details to your fundraising page and appeals will not only help your fundraising, it will help you gain a deeper understanding of what connects you to this mission.
If you're not sure how to start a personal note to a person or group, try asking or answering the following questions:
- How has the person or group you're asking been affected by the pandemic? How are they holding up?
- How have you been affected and how are you doing?
- 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. (Finding out you can Sleep Out at home may inspire someone else to join the movement!)
- What's something that has made you feel hopeful recently?
Keep these tips in mind:
- Always include your personal URL! 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 fundraising page.
- Most people need 2-3 reminders before they take action, so think about what your next message will be! 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.
Find the right platform, and hit send!
The final step!
While email is the most effective fundraising tool, social media, text, and even in-person or phone conversations are all great options to talk about your Sleep Out. 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:
- 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.
- Texting? Your page is mobile responsive! When you share your page link over text, people can donate directly on their phones.
Remember, 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. For ideas, review our shareable content and sample messages.