There are few things that strike fear into the hearts of volunteers as quickly as the word, FUNDRAISING.

However, with the right tools, fundraising for a cause you are passionate about is simpler and less time-consuming than you think. Remember, you’re not asking for money for yourself – you’re giving others the opportunity to support an organization that you truly believe in!

As a Serve-a-thon volunteer, the funds that you raise help sustain hundreds of programs that meet critical needs in Chicago, all year long. Your fundraising efforts make a difference!

Here are 5 tips to help you reach your fundraising goals:

Tell your story. Explain to people why you support Chicago Cares, and what it means to you personally. People want to know that you’re committed to the cause, and will be happy to support you because of it! If you’re nervous, remember that you are sharing a story that others who care about you can easily relate to and participate in.

Put it in perspective. Often, people worry that their gift won’t really be enough to make an impact. At Chicago Cares, we know that every dollar can make a real difference in our city. Here are a some examples of how individual gifts are meeting needs in Chicago:

  • $5 provides hot meals for two adults
  • $5 opens the door to discovery for a child living in poverty as they explore a special exhibit in a museum on a field trip
  • $10 buys new books for children building literacy skills at a Read-with-Me program
  • $10 purchases two chess sets, providing an engaging and safe place for kids to have fun at a Game Night program
  • $25 provides the canvas panel for an inspirational mural, creating more welcoming community spaces
  • $25 underwrites a full morning of BINGO with 25 household and personal care items used as prizes for seniors living on a fixed income
  • $50 buys flash drives and materials for participants at an Adult Computer Skills program
  • $50 buys pots, pans, and utensils for students to learn to cook nutritious meals in Healthy Start

Make it an event. Team Captain Alexa, from CS Stars, shared an awesome fundraising technique that her team is using for the second year in a row. They are partnering with a neighborhood bar for a karaoke event to raise money for their team. Last year they got a cover charge for each person who attended and raked in a ton just from that one event. What’s better than fundraising? Having a blast while you are doing it! We’ve got some great tips to help you create a unique fundraising event.

Ask for a matching gift. Matching gifts double the impact that you’re having on Chicago Cares, our service projects, and community partners! Search for your company’s matching gift forms and don’t forget that many companies also match volunteer hours!

Lead by example. Sponsor yourself by making a donation to get your fundraising started. Don’t be afraid to tell people that you are a donor as well.

It’s that easy! And don’t forget, we’ve also got some great fundraising prizes to celebrate when you reach your fundraising goals, including a weekly $150 Challenge raffle. With just a few simple steps, you can increase your impact and help Chicago Cares continue to meet needs throughout our city.