Tips From A First Time Fundraiser

How To | April 3, 2013

Rachel Cliff has an impressive track record:

1. Placed second overall in NACAC in January. Help Canadian Team place 1st
2. Representing Canada in the World Cross Country Championship in Poland.
3. Raising more than 100% of fundraising goal.

Graduate student at UBC and cross country runner, Rachel Cliff, leads no ordinary life. I got a chance to catch up with her on the eve of her departure to the World Cross Country Championships in Poland. She offered some of her learnings on balancing life, and the art of fundraising.

Rachel Cliff accepts her medal, far right.
Rachel Cliff accepts her medal, far right.

Chimp: What do you wish people knew about cross country running that they probably don’t?

Rachel: It depends on the day and the course. On a track you know it will be 400 metres and 8 lanes. There’s a big diff with cross country – you don’t know what you’re going to get, which requires you to be adaptive.

Ch: What advice do you have for other student athletes?

RC: It took awhile to realize this, but there are enough hours in the day to achieve your goals. Do sports that make you happy; train with friends, make it your social life.

Ch: It’s your first time fundraising and you’ve raised over $2700 dollars on Chimp, more than 100% of your fundraising goal. That’s quite the feat. Do you have any advice for other athletes who are also new to fundraising?

RC: I really wanted to invite my supporters to be part of my dream so I made an effort to keep everyone updated when I travelled. It’s tough to go to the community for support and it’s humbling to ask, but as I got going, it went from nerve-racking to a positive experience.

Spend the time to craft the letter. The beginning is challenging. I spent a lot of time to get it perfect, as every detail is important.

It’s not about the amount, it’s about the fact they thought of you.

It’s really important to not take it personally if someone doesn’t donate. In the end, it was the response and “good luck” emails I appreciated more than the dollar value of a donation.

Always remember to send thank you’s from the heart.

Ch: What was your experience with using Chimp like?

RC: Chimp was helpful to keep track of my donors. I also kept a spreadsheet to keep track of who I owed a thank you to. Had I had to ask for cheques myself, it would have been more difficult.

You can view Rachel’s Chimp Giving Group here.

Editors note: I was lucky enough to be part of Rachel’s Giving Group, and so I got the email she sent from Poland. Here’s a couple of bites from that email.

It’s been a fun group to be a part of, we’ve been fortunate that, in general, every member of the team gets along really well! We had a skit night last night, and the entire team pulled together a “Harlem Shake” video… Here’s a list of a few things I’ve learnt in Poland:

1. The drivers rule the road. Do not, under any circumstance, step on the road! Always run on the sidewalk, even if it means dodging pedestrians, stray cats, and snow banks.

2. If you’re willing to risk crossing the roads then running through the city is beautiful. The buildings are very unique, the churches are amazing and the city we’re on is situated between two large lakes.

3. The Pols have the best bread! Every meal (except dinner, for some reason) includes some sweet bread with some type of sugar on top of it– I haven’t figured out if this is desert or just a snack.

IAAF gifts: Athlete Accreditation, Race poster and official World XC backpack!
IAAF gifts: Athlete Accreditation, Race poster and official World XC backpack!


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