How a Campaign Works:
A Campaign is simply an organized way to achieve your fundraising goals. STF believes that the best source of donations for a patient are found within that patient’s own network—friends, family, co-workers, etc. Many patients find it difficult to solicit donations on their own behalf, especially when stricken with a life threatening disease. A well-organized campaign will allow you to distribute the fundraising burden among those who love you and are willing to devote time to helping you get the treatment you need. This Guide will give you some tips and ideas for organizing your campaign so that your can have consistent success in your fundraising efforts.
Starting Your Campaign
Having an organized, dedicated fundraising campaign is crucial to meeting your fundraising goals. Experience has shown that a patient’s friends, family, and members of their community are the best potential donors because they have the biggest stake in the outcome of your treatment. They care about you and want you to get well. A successful campaign will transform that desire for your well being into actual donations that will help you meet your goals. Here are some steps you should follow in organizing your campaign: .
1) Set Up Your Personalized STF Profile Page.
This will serve as one of your primary vehicles for driving donations to your campaign. Tips and instructions for setting up a successful profile page can be found below. .
2) Choose a Campaign Chairperson.
The Campaign Chairperson is someone appointed by the patient to correspond with STF, manage volunteers, and coordinate fundraising activities. The campaign chair- person should be someone close to you (the patient) who has the time and organizational skills to devote to raising funds so that you can focus on getting well. STF recommends AGAINST the patient serving as his or her own campaign chairperson. The purpose of having a campaign chairperson is to take the fundraising stress off you and allow you to focus on getting well. However, the campaign chairperson should report to you regularly and get your feedback on fundraising activities. .
3) Identify Volunteers.
Volunteers are the key to any successful campaign. You should identify and recruit volunteers within your own network of friends and family to conduct the campaign within your community and your volunteers’ community. Volunteers will perform such tasks as publicizing and staffing campaign events, soliciting donations from their community, and generally raising awareness about your treatment and progress. You should make a list of possible volunteers that can help you in your campaign. You may want to choose volunteers based on specific skills they may have which may be helpful in your campaign. .
4) Set Fundraising Goals.
Before starting your campaign, you should request cost estimates from your medical providers so that you can plan your campaign accordingly. Your fundraising goal should reflect the true cost of your care, including treatment, medications, travel, lodging, and any other miscellaneous expenses associated with your care. Before beginning your campaign, you should sit down with your campaign chairperson and determine what your . treatment will cost so that you can set goals. Your goals should be incremental. For example, if your treatment is going to cost $20,000 and last 24 months, you might set an initial goal for $5,000 to fund the first six months of your care. Setting incremental goals will allow your donors to see the success of your campaign without exhausting all possible donations right at the outset of your campaign. .
5) Plan and Execute Fundraising Activities.
Fundraising Help Ideas You and your campaign chairperson should plan various fundraising activities to actually raise donations. STF will provide education and guidance to assist you in where to begin, but the success of your fundraising will depend on the organization and dedication of your campaign chairperson and volunteers. A successful fundraising activity might include anything from a silent auction to a benefit dinner. STF has experience in various fundraising activities and will provide you with ideas, but patients are always encouraged to think independently about activities that would be successful in their own communities. .
6) Solicit Donations.
You may see soliciting direct donations as rude of an imposition—don’t. Your best source of potential donors is those that care about you and have a vested interest in the success of your treatment. If they understand the seriousness of your situation, they will not be offended when you ask them to donate. Also, many individuals look for charitable giving opportunities throughout the year to offset their income for tax planning purposes. These individuals will be more eager to donate on your behalf than to a cause which is not as personal. You should emphasize that all donations made to STF on your behalf are tax deductible and have a direct impact on patients.
After organizing your campaign, you will want to create your personalized page, complete with a picture and written profile. Your profile page will be the first time many donors will learn about your history and financial needs. It’s important to write an effective profile that will help maximize the success of your campaign.
Tips for Taking a Great Photo:
Photos posted on your profile page can help get your message out and show your progress to your supporters. It’s important to take a quality photo so that your potential donors can relate to your campaign. Here are some tips on how to take a quality photo for your profile: Make sure you use a quality camera. It doesn’t need to be super expensive—just make sure it’s 8 mega pixels. If you don’t own a camera, ask your friends or family to borrow theirs. . Choose an area with good lighting. Avoid dim indoor lighting or outdoor pictures with the sunlight directly behind you. . Choose your location. Avoid any cluttered areas or busy backgrounds. Solid walls are a good choice, as are out- door areas with nothing behind you for 15 to 20 feet. . Have a friend or family member take your picture. Try to avoid using automatic timers, if you can help it. A tripod makes for the best picture, but a friend with a steady hand is usually good enough. Once you’ve taken your photo, up-load it into your profile page. (More on this later). Along with your photo, you’ll need to write your “patient profile.” How Can My Patient Profile Help My Campaign? Your patient profile page can serve various purposes in your fundraising campaign, including the following: • Your profile is a simple way for you to update your friends, family, or donors on the status of your treatment. • Your profile page will help you collect donations. Each profile page includes a “donate” button which allows a donor to easily make donations to your campaign. Your profile page provides a quick way to tell your story to potential donors. By sharing on Facebook or other social media, link to your profile page, you can easily explain your campaign and need for assistance to friends, family, and other potential donors. Tips for Writing Your Profile
- Your patient profile should talk about who you are as a person and a patient. You do not need to provide overly personal information, but you should provide details that may appeal to potential donors. You should mention things like family, spouses, children, etc.
- You should describe the reason for your treatment. While you do not need to discuss specific symptoms, you should provide your diagnosis and some details about your treatment history. This will help potential donors to understand your need for assistance.
- You should discuss your specific fundraising goal. This will help donors understand the cost of your care as well as your campaign’s specific needs.
- You should discuss any improvements in your prognosis or positive developments in your treatment. Donors appreciate the opportunity to see the positive impact they are or could be making in your health.
Once you have written your profile, copy it to your profile page. Also, you can update your profile at any time.
Planning A Fundraising Activity Once you have organized your campaign, you are now ready to begin the actual fundraising work of planning and executing fundraising activities. In STF’s experience, the most successful fundraising activities are ones that bring in donations while providing some kind of value to donors. A silent auction, for instance, provides an opportunity for donors to bid on items of value for less than full value, while at the same time bringing in money for your campaign. Here are some steps to follow in planning any fundraising activity: .
1) Choose An Activity.
In choosing an activity, you and your campaign chairperson should consider the interests of your potential donors who will be invited to the activity. You should choose an activity that will draw the maximum number of donors. You should also consider the abilities of your volunteers to plan and execute the activity. Your activity should play to the strengths and talents of your volunteers. Remember, the majority of the burden of the activity should rest with the campaign chairperson and the volunteers. .
2) Set A Date and Stick To It.
Setting a date will ensure that the activity actually happens, and will prevent any procrastination. In setting the date, you should take into considerations the type of the event, as well as any potential known conflicts. For instance, does your activity take place outside? If so, you may want to avoid dates where inclement weather is likely. Is your date near any holiday or local community event? If so, you may want to reschedule to maximize the number of donors that will attend. Regardless, the date you pick should be firm so that your volunteers understand the need to accomplish all tasks necessary to putting on the event. .
3) Set a Fundraising Goal.
You should set a goal as to how much money you wish to raise in each activity. This will allow you to make decisions with regard to costs of putting on the event and how many potential donors should be invited. .
4) Set A Budget.
Often, fundraising activities will require a certain amount of money to get started (such purchasing food, in the case of a benefit dinner). You and your campaign chairperson should set a budget for each activity so that you can effectively plan your budget and make sure your activity is worth the potential donations it might bring in. Your campaign chairperson should be responsible for making sure that the activity sticks to the planned budget. . .
5) Delegate Responsibility and Form Committees.
You should identify the various tasks that need to be completed for a successful event. After doing this, your campaign chairperson should gather all the volunteers who have agreed to help in the event and delegate responsibilities among the volunteers to make the tasks more manageable. Your campaign chairperson should form committees out of the volunteers to accomplish these tasks. For instance, does your event require food? Then you might consider forming a “food committee” to take charge of all food related tasks. Does your activity require soliciting donations from local businesses (as in a silent auction)? Then you might consider forming a “donation” committee to organize these activities. There is no hard and fast rule to what committees you will need—they should be formed at the discretion of you and your campaign chairperson. .
6) Coordinate With Your Committees.
Your campaign chairperson should work with committee members to set deadlines and determine specific goals for each committee. Once the goals are set, the campaign chairperson should check in on a regular basis with committee members to verify their progress. The campaign chairperson should be the “go to” person for any problems that arise within any committee. .
7) Solicit Donations, Wherever Possible.
If your activity requires certain materials or services, you should solicit donations of these materials or services as often as possible. Many individuals may find it difficult to donate money, but will find it easier to donate labor or materials to assist in a fundraising event. For instance, a restaurant owner may not be able to donate money, but will be able to allow volunteers access to his kitchen to prepare food for a benefit dinner. Remember, the worst than can happen is that the person you ask says no. .
8) Publicize Your Event.
There are many ways to publicize your event. Social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc) offers effective and free ways to get the word out about your event. You might also have access to community organizations (schools, churches, local community service organizations, etc.) that will provide ways to let people know about your activity. Depending on the event, you might want to publish flyers or hand out personalized invitations to potential donors. . 9) Make Donating Easy. Some donors might not be able to attend your event, but still want to contribute. You can direct these donors to your personal profile page on the STF website or give them information about how to donate on your behalf. You might consider putting this information on any publicity materials (flyers, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) you are using to spread the word about your event. . .
10) Solicit Donations During the Event.
Once your activity has started, you now have a captive audience to explain the purpose of your campaign and fundraising goals. Your campaign chairperson should take a few moments to discuss the purpose of the event and your need, while thanking the donors for their attendance. Depending on your activity, this would also be a good time to request additional donations from your participants. .
11) Post-Event Thank You’s.
After the activity is done, you and your campaign chairperson should take the time to send thank you thank you notes to all of your volunteers. Remember— without volunteers, a successful campaign is VERY difficult. A note of heartfelt thanks will help your volunteers feel appreciated and possibly encourage them to help you in subsequent fundraising activities. You may also want to send personalized thank you notes to specific donors. This is not necessary, but may encourage subsequent giving as well. .
12) Report On Fundraising Status.
After each activity, you may want to report on your fundraising goals. For instance, if you are close to meeting a goal or have passed one due to donations made at an activity, you should let your donors know you are having success. You can do this by updating your STF personal profile. You can also publish updates via social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.). PLEASE PLEASE REMEMBER any donations must be made payable to Setting Them Free “on behalf of “ the patient. Donations not made payable to STF are not tax deductible, and cannot be processed by STF. Also, accepting a donation made payable directly to the patient may have negative tax consequences to the patient, causing additional financial hardship. At the conclusion of any fundraising event, all proceeds should be sent directly to STF for processing. The STF Board of Directors will take into account all funds raised by patients when processing their requests for financial assistance.