Fundraising 101

We know that fundraising can be daunting, but when you break it down, it's not nearly as difficult as it seems. Click or tap the headings below to expand each task in our step-by-step fundraising guide. 

1: Make your campaign page personal.

Most people visit a campaign page three times before they click to donate, so make your page interesting! We use the three W’s as a guideline:

  • Who: Add photos! Make sure everyone knows whose page they’re on. Upload a profile picture and add an additional fundraising image below it.

  • What: Make your message personal. Update the sample content with a brief note about your campaign and why you’re helping the homeless youth at Covenant House.

  • Where: Personalize your page URL to make it easy for people to find. While you’re at it, make sure you’ve given your campaign a catchy title.

Pro Tip: Be the first donor on your page. Fundraisers who are self-donors raise 2x more than others - it’s a helpful way to show your donors that you’re as committed to the cause as they are.


You know people from many aspects of your life who care about you and what you do, and who will be interested in hearing about your campaign to help homeless youth. Since you talk to your parents, siblings, and your best friend differently from the way you speak to a cool colleague or the leader of one of your clubs, and differently still from your neighbors or more casual acquaintances, start by dividing your contact list into three groups:

  • Group 1: The circle of people closest to you in the world.

  • Group 2: Friends, family, and colleagues whom you see often and share common values.

  • Group 3: Everyone else on your contact list with whom you can share your campaign.

Draft a message to each group (we suggest that you bcc everyone), address each person or group by name, and make the opening line personal to them and why they’ve been included (i.e. supported you in the past, like-minded colleague, etc.)

Pro Tip: Cast a wide net - everyone likes to hear about good work being done!


Making your “asks” takes time and thought. We recommend starting with your Group 1 -- they are your most captive audience and they’ll give you some lead off gifts.

Move to Group 2 after some donations have come in, and use the best material (that got a response!) from your correspondence with Group 1. Then with Group 3, be creative! You may have to work a little harder to grab their attention.

Remember that fundraising is like inviting people you care for and respect to join you at a party. Not everyone wants to come, but everyone is flattered to be asked, proud to be associated with someone doing such an amazing thing, and appreciates being thought of. Whether you call people, ask in person, write a letter by hand, send an email, post on social media, or all of the above, include the following info:

  • What kind of campaign or event are you hosting?

  • Why are you doing this?

  • What do you want your guests to do? (Make a donation or join you!)

  • When should people RSVP? (Right now, the sooner the better!)

Pro Tip: Access a sample appeal letter in your Dashboard after registering, and use ready-to-post social media content from the Resources section.


Every fundraising campaign hits a plateau at some point. It often happens within a week of the initial launch because those who tabled it for a later date may have then forgotten about it all together. Don't be shy about following up with people who did not respond to your first call to action (we suggest that you remove people from your outreach list after they make a donation to you).

Here are two ways to change up your ask in a follow-up email:

  • Let people know how far you are from reaching your fundraising goal.

  • Include specific donation amounts and how they help youth in your ask (but make sure your supporters know that gifts of all size are valued!)

It's easy to do - you can even copy and paste these sample social media posts


Say thanks to your supporters openly and often. Even though each donor will get an automatic thank you note after their donation has been processed, it is most meaningful when they also hear from you. Here are a couple of our favorite ways to do this:

  • Set a calendar reminder to send a quick email or text to new donors each week.

  • If you see one of your donors in person, be sure to go out of your way to thank him or her for responding to your call for support.

  • Tag your donors in a heartfelt thank you post on social media, and share the difference their gift makes to a youth facing homelessness. Believe it or not, this is a good fundraising strategy too; others will want to see their names mentioned, and might choose to donate so they can also be in the spotlight.