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Tips & Tools

Fundraising Tips & Tools

Fundraising, if you haven't ever done it, can seem daunting. It just seems so difficult—maybe even a bit scary—asking people for money. And yet, there are successful fundraisers all around you. In previous years, many dedicated individuals just like you raised thousands of dollars for the National MS Society. Many have far exceeded their initial goals and surprised themselves with how easy it was to raise funds and have come back repeatedly raising even more.

People give to people. It really is that simple. The main reason that people will give is because you have asked them to and how you have asked. Don't let the thought of asking frighten you; just invite everyone you know to share the experience with you. The easiest way to raise funds is to customize your personal webpage and share it with everyone you know! Get started in your Participant Center now!

Each BP MS 150 participant is required to raise the minimum fundraising of $400 prior to picking up a rider packet. However, the majority of riders go far above and beyond the fundraising minimum. In 2015, the average fundraising-per-rider was more than $1,330. With a little work and an ask, you too can exceed the $400 minimum!!

Every dollar raised helps fund critical research and services for people affected by MS – YOU can be a fundraising powerhouse. Just use these tips from other Bike MS fundraisers, take advantage of the resources available and aim for the stars!

1. Start now

There's no time like the present. And results show the sooner you start, the more you'll raise.

Ask early & ask often." – Chris Lennert

2. Know your networks

Make a list of every person you know – friends, family, neighbors, acquaintances, and business associates. You have just created your donor list. Need extra help? Use the Know Your Networks worksheet.

Teams can coordinate and grow their own networks by designating a Fundraising Coordinator and taking advantage of our Team Resources. Learn more about becoming or designating a Team Fundraising Coordinator:

Fundraising Coordinator Job Description
Fundraising Coordinator Handbook
Fundraising Coordinator Activity Chart

3. Aim high

Set a goal that seems just out of reach. It will inspire you and the people you're asking for support. A world free of MS is going to take everything we can collectively raise.

4. Be ready to educate

People may have questions. Luckily, we have lots of answers: What is MS?, Progress in MS Research, and check out Why Bike MS?

5. Give to yourself

You'll set the example and kick-start your fundraising!

Donate a dollar to yourself now and then so that your total doesn't end in a '0' or '5'. People will tend to add 4 dollars to their donation to round out the number. Works every time!" – Mike Figliulo

6. Set up your fundraising page to tell your story

Within the Participant Center, you have your very own web page. Be sure to customize it with your story and your pictures.

Another great way to tell your ongoing BP MS 150 story is to blog within your Participant Center.

Get started with our Participant Center Guide.

When you sign up for a ride one of the tools available on your personal page is a blog. I post something every week. People can like or comment just like any other blog except this is integrated into your personal page."

"Use the blog tool regularly. I use it to catalog my training and relate interesting stories. I have found that about half of my email list goes to the blog regularly to read. If they are getting that far, they are only a click away from donating."
– Kevin Fischer

7. Ask far and wide!

Many think the initial ask can be difficult, but it's easier if you tell everyone WHY you are doing what you are doing. The excitement is contagious and your story will inspire others. Your commitment and passion will be the reason they choose to give you a donation! Remember, you aren't asking them to give YOU a donation, you're giving them an opportunity to make a difference in the world THROUGH your BP MS 150 ride!

Create an email campaign that shares the real-life challenges of one person that you know that has MS. Include pix if possible. Mail broadly to everyone you know." – Craig Mason
Ask anyone and everyone. If you don't ask, then the answer is always no." – Kevin Fischer
Facebook does well for me. So does sending a letter to professionals to whom I give a lot of business (my vet, my doctors, the dealership where I bought my last car, etc) -- they often have a budget for things like this to show appreciation to their customers and to give back to the community." – Kelly Knox

8. Share your progress – get social, and creative!

There is so much that can be done on Facebook, such as these examples here by Chris Lennert and Sarah Klein, respectively. Competitions, public thanks, tons of fun—follow their lead!

Bike MS Facebook screenBike MS Share Facebook

You can use these fundraising thermometers to illustrate your fundraising goal and energize you and your fellow riders' fundraising efforts:

Bike MS Fundraising Thermometer Poster
BP MS 150 Fundraising Levels Thermometer Flyer

Utilize FB sharing. I always get help unexpectedly from friends I might never have considered asking." – Lisa Hanson Tilley
I do well on Facebook. Share facts about MS & give public shout outs to those that support you. Many times people think , "oh, I'll do that!" But if they only see it once, they'll forget. So keep the reminders coming!" – Daralee Champion

9. Be thankful

Share a lot and try to give someone something back when they donate. I sold cheesecakes to raise money, but you don't always have to sell something. Make sure they at least get a thank you note (which is just polite anyway), but personalize it with a photo or a story about how why you're doing this." – Kelly Rodriguez

10. Use the Facebook app

You will find the Bike MS Facebook page a great resource to help stay connected with tips, stories, inspiration and up-to-date information about upcoming rides. “Like” our page, then download our Bike MS Facebook app. It allows your Facebook friends to donate right on your Facebook page.


11. Go mobile on iOS/Android

You're going for a training ride. You snap a pic before you start, upload it to your favorite social network and ask your friends and family for support. When you're finished with your ride, you pull out your phone again, check the mobile app, and snap! You've just raised more to create a world free of MS!

Here's our app for that! iPhone/iPad | Android


12. Ask again!

Ask EVERYONE...twice." – Eddie McKeon
Ask EVERYONE you know to donate. Most will and surprisingly [it's] those you least expect." – Tara Sweitzer Jones

13. Double your impact with matching gifts

Also ask around about matching donations. A lot of companies do it for their employees, but a lot of companies also do it for good customers. One kid on our team is having every donation matched by his bank, for instance." – Kelly Rodriguez

Find out more about matching gifts on our matching gifts page.

14. Hold a special event

Do a March madness squares fundraiser to raise money early on!" – Kerri Kaplan-Ellison

Get some ideas on hosting various types of fundraising events to benefit your or your team's fundraising:

Restaurant Fundraiser How-To
Fundraising Ideas to Help You Meet Your Goal

15. Have fun

We're all serious about ending MS, but the BP MS 150 is also about having fun in the process. The combination of having fun and having a huge impact on people affected by MS will have a huge impact on you.

16. Even more resources

Where there's a will, there's a way. Here are even more resources to make it easy to make a difference:

7 Keys to Team Fundraising Success
Bike MS Participant Center Guide
Bike MS Donor Tracking Sheet
The 4 + 1 Very Simple, Very Easy, Not-At-All Intimidating Steps to an Ask, by Jeff Shuck

17. We're here to help

The BP MS 150 staff and community is here to help! Contact us.

Thank you to our premier national sponsors

Thank you to our local sponsors

Become a Sponsor

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