Fundraising Tips & Resources
We say Be Brave, Be Kind, Breathe because many people tell us they've been hesitant to ask people to sponsor them, but afterwards they felt great. So if you're feeling hesitant, we invite you to breathe with the feeling, explore it, and don't let it stop you from taking kind action.
Raising money to help others is an act of kindness, for both the person asking and the one being asked. They receive an invitation to practice generosity and, when the invitation is made without pressure or attachment to an outcome, it can be a real gift.
Click the link or scroll down to find what you're looking for:
Fundraising PrizesFree Raffle(Note: CMS staff and board members are not eligible for prizes or awards, although their names will appear on the online leaderboards. This includes Patricia Rockman and Laurie Arron)
If you’re attending at Daniels Spectrum, we ask you to fundraise at least $250, as space is limited and this is, after all, about mental health for marginalized people. Last year the average raised was $450, but about 50 people didn't raise any money at all. The $250 fundraising requirement at Daniels Spectrum means we expect you to commit to raising $250, to make a sincere effort. If you don't raise that much, you can still participate.
If you’re attending in Oakville or London, we ask you to set a goal of at least $100. Virtual participants are asked to set a goal of at least $50.
Remember, this is supposed to be a challenge! Last year, many people reported they didn't think they could raise much, but our tools & templates made it easy. So Be Brave, Be Kind, and consider setting your personal goal at $500, $750, $1000, $2000 or more. The more you raise, the more suffering can be transformed.
Use the Participant Centre - the easy way to raise money quickly
It's simple to send personalized emails to dozens or even hundreds of people. Just import your contacts, choose the Sponsor Me email template, select who you want to email, personalize it if you like, and hit the send button!
NOTE: If using the mobile site, the screens are a bit different.
1. Log in to the Participant Centre - click the orange Login button at the top right of this page. Once you login, you'll be taken to the Participant Centre and the following menu will be displayed:
2. Import Contacts - click on Address Book (4th from the left in the Participant Centre menu). Three clickable icons will appear:
- Choose Quickly Add Contacts, to import email addresses from Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook or Mac Address Book.
- A window pops up, you select one of Gmail etc, log in to your account, and then it will say “Cloudsponge would like to: View your contacts.”
- Click the Allow button. The list of all your contacts will appear. Now click the ones you might ask, or select them all. Click “Next” and they will be imported.
- Choose Manually Import Contacts to import from a spreadsheet or csv file. Select "Other" to import from a spreadsheet and follow the directions of how to set it up for importing. The file should have 3 columns in this order, and with these headers: First Name, Last Name, E-mail.
- Choose Manually Add Contacts to type them in.
Scroll down to see the contacts you added. Your own email will also be there (useful for sending a test email to yourself).
3. Send Emails - when finished adding contacts, scroll up to the Participant Centre menu and click on Email (5th from the left)
4. Watch the donations start rolling in, and feel the joy!
- You'll be presented with a list of sample emails.
- Select "Sponsor Me" - a page will come up that includes your list of contacts and the template email.
- The template email includes some merge fields to customize the recipient’s name, the link to your personal fundraising page, and your fundraising goal.
- If you'd like to make some changes to add a personal touch, do so now. If you wish to save this for future use, click the Save Email Message button below. Name the message and save it. A warning always appears saying it "will overwrite any selected existing message" but it only overwrites messages with the same name. You can't overwrite the default templates.
- Select the contacts you want to email. Use the green arrows to add or remove names.
- Click “Send Email Now” - your personalized emails will be sent, and at the top of the page it will say "Your message was successfully sent to xxx contact(s)."
5. Follow Up - It's easy to see who clicked and to send a follow up email. Just login to the Participant Centre and click Follow-Ups (4th from the right in the Participant Centre menu). You can also see who donated.
If you need help, click the Online Help icon (last on the right in the Participant Centre menu) or email us at email@example.com.
This is not only a great way to raise money. It's also a way to reconnect with friends and family. We encourage you to give it a try!
3. Start early
Top 10 fundraising tips:
1. Set a challenging goal
Setting a challenging goal will show your donors how committed you are to the Cause, which can lead to larger donations. So consider setting a challenging goal, and upping it when you reach it. Don’t forget to track and share your progress—many people will donate a little bit more if they know you’re close to reaching your goal! And don't hesitate to ask people to give the amount needed to advance you to the next $50, $100 or even $1,000 milestone.
2. Self donate
self-donation is a chance to set the tone and show your personal
commitment to the cause. When friends ask how much to give, you can let them know what you donated. It's a great starting point.
The sooner you start, the more space you'll have to ask people. You can start slowly, experiment with different ways of asking, and wait until your ordinary social movements allow you to ask those close to you in person or by phone, where you can give them as much or as little information as they need to decide. They may even decide to participate with you!
With the luxury of time, you can work lazily. People often need to be reminded several times before they take action, so getting started earlier and using gentle persistence really pays off.
4. Get personal
Share a story about yourself, a loved
one, or someone you know. It can even be a story you heard second-hand
of someone who has been impacted by a mental health condition. And
consider dedicating your Challenge to someone or share a personal reason
why this cause resonates with you. It will make your request that much
And be prepared to educate your donors—they may not know about the benefits of mindfulness or the Centre for Mindfulness Studies. Learn more here.
5. Start smart
Since donations will be displayed on your personal page, if the first pledge is high, your friends, family and colleagues will likely follow this lead and give more. So make the first asks of people you think will give larger donations. When you talk to people, and they ask what they should give, you can
say "well, so-and-so gave me $____". Or you can mention your personal donation. That way, you're not telling them
what to give, but you're demonstrating that other people have been
generous, and providing support for the person you're asking to be generous as well.
6. Get social
Make sure everyone in your social circles knows you're committed to this Challenge. You can receive unexpected donations by linking your personal online fundraising page to your email signature or Facebook page. Don't forget to go to the Mindfulness Challenge Facebook page and say you're going!
7. Ask many people
Ask everyone you have a personal connection with who can afford to give $10, $20 or more. Simply put, you need to ask! This is where being brave is important. Being kind is also important. Ask without any pressure or attachment to the result. Asking someone to sponsor you can help build a connection and re-connect with those you haven't been in touch with for a while.
Many people report that asking people to sponsor them resulted in an outpouring of support and social requests, as well as discovering a common interest in mindfulness. When people give it makes them feel good. So asking someone to sponsor you can be a real act of kindness and connection.
8. Be yourself
Do what works for you. Some people will make great use of the tech features in our fundraising system. Others will use more traditional methods. Some will experiment with different methods. And while this website and our templates are a great starting point, make the voice your own. Why do you care about mindfulness for mental health for marginalized people? Why are you participating in the Challenge? What does your heart want to say?
9. Ask for matching gifts
Contact your Human Resources department to find out if your company has a corporate matching gift program to double the value of your personal contribution. You can also encourage donors to ask their companies for matching gift support.
10. Thank your donors
Make sure to follow up and thank those who helped you reach your goal. Send a personalized thank-you messages as soon as you receive notification of the contribution. Follow up with a letter/e-mail after the Challenge to share highlights and let them know what a great time you had.
How to Raise $250 in 3 Days!
When you invite people to make a donation, you’re inviting them to make a difference in the lives of others. Remember that the biggest barrier to fundraising is hesitating to ask. If you ask without attachment to outcome, you're offering them a gift. Go ahead and give it a try. Here's how in 3 steps.
Show your commitment to providing a cost effective mental health solution through a $30 donation. Set the precedent for future donations. TOTAL: $30
Let people know you're participating and invite them to support you. Send emails yourself with a link to your personal fundraising page, or use our system (see above) to easily send personalized custom emails, based on our template. Either way, you can reach a lot of people quickly. Four of them will give $30 each. TOTAL: $120. Now you're at $150.
3. Follow up with Close Connections:
Your family, close friends and work colleagues want to support you. Ask for their help to reach your goal. Say 3 of them donate $35 each. TOTAL: $105. Now you've reached your goal!
Most importantly, follow up and thank your community of generous donors! Be prompt with your thank you emails, and be sure to provide them with an update after the Mindfulness Challenge day. Congratulations on raising $250 towards bringing mindfulness practice to those who need it the most. Now that’s something worth asking for!
4 Steps to Lazy Fundraising!
1. Start with a Large Donation
Since donations will be displayed on your personal page, if the first pledge is high, your friends, family and colleagues will likely follow this lead and give more. The first donation sets expectations for all that follow. So either make a large self-donation or make the first asks of people you think will give larger donations.
2. Email your Contacts
After you have one or more large donations, email people who might be interested in supporting you to achieve your fundraising goal. Remember that giving feels good, so don’t hesitate to ask unless you know they really can’t afford it. And ask without any expectation they will give. Use our Emailing Tools to make this easy - see below. If you use regular email, don't forget to include a link to your personal fundraising page.
3. Ask In-Person
While emails are great, they often go unread or are merely glanced at without much consideration. Asking in person means you have their attention and can answer any questions they have. If you want to go "old school" download a pledge sheet (link at the bottom of every page on this website).
The sooner you start, the more space you'll have to ask people. You can start slowly, experiment with different ways of asking, and wait until your ordinary social movements allow you to ask those close to you in person or by phone. They may even decide to participate with you!
4. Follow UpWith the luxury of time, you can work lazily and reach your goal with kindness and ease!
People often need to be reminded several times before they take action, so getting started earlier and using gentle persistence really pays off. Once you’ve made the first ask, follow ups are easy. And with our Follow Up tool (login to the Participant Centre) you’ll see who’s already donated, how many emails have been sent to each person, and the date of the last email.
Click here for our Toolbox, where you can download:
- Colour Poster - 8.5 x 11"
- B&W Poster - 8.5 x 11"
- Fact Sheet - 8.5 x 11"
- Event Logo