Fundraising Tips


The top five things to do after making a fundraising page

Start by making a donation to your own fundraising page. Other people are more likely to donate to your page when they see that someone has already contributed. Donating some of your own money also demonstrates to potential supporters that you are serious about helping the cause.

Personalize your fundraising page, by adding your own text, pictures or video. Remember, your potential donors will be interested in the cause, but they are primarily interested in you. Make sure you tell them why you are getting involved and what your connection to the cause is (it doesn't have to be long). You can also personalize the photos and videos on your page. If you have a lot of images or videos you want to share, feel free to delete the City of Hope images on your page. Remember to add a profile picture, too!

Set a realistic fundraising goal, and surpass it! The suggested fundraising amount is $500 but feel free to set your goal to $100 or $100,000. Every amount is absolutely appreciated!

Set a fundraising deadline. Give yourself a timeframe in which to raise your goal and communicate your end-date to your friends and family.

Send individual emails to your five closest contacts and ask them for donations first. Getting your "inner circle" to donate to your page will help you build up some momentum. It's also good to start with the people you are most comfortable with!


The best way to reach out to friends and family

Think about your fundraising strategy like peeling an onion from the inside out. The best fundraisers start by asking their closest contacts first (the core) and progressively working outward to more distant contacts (the outer skin).

Why would you do that?

  • Your closest contacts are the ones most likely to donate; more remote contacts are less likely to donate.
  • Studies show that as you make progress toward your fundraising goal, people become more and more likely to donate to you (success breeds success!).
  • When you start with your closest contacts and work outwards, you ensure that you build up progress from your core supporters before you reach out to the people who are less likely to donate.
  • This means maximizing your chances of successfully meeting (or exceeding) your fundraising goal!


Getting Started Action Items

A good starting point plan usually looks something like this:

  • Day 1Email #1: Personally email 10 very close contacts (family and your closest friend or two).
  • Day 2Email #2: Send to 10 to 50 close contacts (your entire circle of good friends).
  • Day 3Email #3: Send to as many other contacts that you feel comfortable sending a message to (co-workers, friends of friends, distant relatives, your entire address book, etc.).
  • Day 4Social Media and Beyond Promote via social media to anyone who will listen.

And, don't be afraid to send follow up emails! Remember, many people check their emails on their phone and may read your message while on the go. Your close friends and family won't mind hearing from you a few times and will probably appreciate the reminder!


How to write your emails to friends and family

There is no perfect formula for writing an email asking family and friends for donations, but there are some best practices to guide you:

p Writing a General Email

  • Start by explaining your connection to City of Hope and why it's important to you. Describing how City of Hope has touched your life is probably the most important element of your message.
  • In a sentence or two explain the good work you see City of Hope is doing to advance cancer research and treatment. This helps potential supporters understand where their money would be going and what it would be used to accomplish.
  • Be clear to potential supporters about what you are looking for; make a direct ask for financial support.
  • Include a link to your fundraising page.
  • Thank your contacts for their time and support.

. Writing to your Closest Contacts

  • You know your closest contacts better than anyone does. Don't feel like you have to stick to a predefined formula.
  • If a one line message is going to work, go ahead and do that. If a longer personal message will work best, do that.
  • Just make sure you include a direct request for support and a link to your fundraising page at the end of your message.

Always Remember

Our most successful fundraisers are the ones that write personalized emails to their friends and family.


The best ways to use Facebook and Twitter to fundraise

Start fundraising through Facebook and Twitter after you've sent out your initial batch of emails.

  • Get started on Facebook by tagging the people that have already donated to you and thanking them for their donations. When you tag someone, your post gets shared in your activity feed, and the other person's activity feed too. This also sets the frame that people are already donating to your page (remember success breeds success!).
  • Set internal goals (e.g., $200 by the end of week two, $400 by end of week four, etc.). Use your social media accounts to give updates of your progress toward each goal and ask for people to help you get over the next hurdle.
  • Don't make every post an "ask." Share inspiring news stories or other positive anecdotes about the cause, too!
  • Consider offering your own gifts to friends and family who help you reach your goal. It doesn't have to be anything extravagant, just a token of your appreciation.

Sample Facebook Posts:

  • My [birthday age year, e.g., 40th] birthday is coming up this year and I'd love if you could give me the best gift ... a donation to help save someone's life! Please check out my fundraiser for City of Hope and make a donation of $[birthday age year, e.g., $40] to fight cancer and find a cure. Thanks! [LINK TO YOUR FUNDRAISER]
  • Help me honor the bravest woman I know - my mom. She's five-years cancer free thanks to City of Hope! You can save the life of someone else just like her. Please donate to my fundraiser today [LINK TO YOUR FUNDRAISER]
  • Thanks to the amazing people in my life who donated [tag them]! I've raised $[amount] so far! To anyone who hasn't given yet, please help me out and make a donation to my City of Hope fundraiser to fight cancer. Thank you! [LINK TO YOUR FUNDRAISER]

Sample Twitter Posts:

  • I'm fundraising to fight cancer on #ourHope. Check out my @CityofHope fundraiser [SHORT LINK]
  • Just launched a fundraiser on #ourHope to fight cancer with @CityofHope by raising $XX by MM/DD. Plz help me out, donate today! [SHORT LINK]
  • It's my bday and I'm raising money to fight cancer on #ourHope. Help me raise $XX for @CityofHope and donate today. [SHORT LINK]
Learn more about Social Media Fundraising

How to follow up with people who don't respond initially

By setting internal goals (e.g., $200 by end of week two, $400 by end of week four, etc.) you accomplish two things. First, you create more urgency when you ask friends and family for support. And second, you give yourself a built in reason to follow up.

  • Reach back out to nonresponders when you're approaching one of your internal goals. If you set a few internal goals, you can plan on sending a couple follow up emails. Remember people can easily miss or skip over your initial outreach!
  • Include progress updates in your follow up messages and consider including any inspiring stories or personal anecdotes you have about the cause.
  • Remember to continue using social media! Social media is a softer medium for communicating with your contacts and it's more acceptable to frequently post updates in those channels.

How to thank your donors

When someone makes a donation to your page, you will receive an email notification. It's a great idea to reach out quickly and thank that person. You can also show your appreciation when you:

  • Give them a shout out on social media - tag them in a Facebook post or Tweet at them.
  • Send them a personal email to thank them.
  • Give them a call or even send a card via snail mail - everyone appreciates that extra personal touch!

What it takes to be a successful fundraiser

  1. A belief in the cause
  2. A commitment to following through
  3. And a dose of individual creativity

Good Luck and Have Fun!

Questions? Contact Emily Parris Sandler, assistant director of development, at


Are you Ready to Find a Cure?

Great! Get started now. Got a specific fundraiser in mind? Running a marathon, honoring a loved one, forgoing gifts on your birthday? It's all here. Select an option below and click "Next Step" to create your fundraiser.


Want to add more meaning to this year's festivities? Pledge your birthday to find a cure. Instead of gifts, ask friends and family to donate to your fundraising page.


Training for an endurance event or climbing Kilimanjaro? Dedicate your next athletic endeavor to City of Hope, and help fund a cure.


Have you lost a loved one to illness? Honor their memory and help City of Hope discover a cure.


Want to pay it forward? Give back to your doctor at
City of Hope and create a page to fund his or her lifesaving research and treatments.


Celebrating a major milestone? Create a fundraiser for your survival anniversary, wedding, bar/bat mitzvah or other major life event.


Have your own idea for a fundraiser? Choose your own adventure, and let your imagination run wild.

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