Hot Chocolate Run 2019

FAQ Categories: Getting Started | Feeling Stuck? | Are you a team captain?

Fundraising Tips

Getting Started


That’s right…ask! Ask personally, ask directly, and ask repeatedly. People who receive a group email or see a Facebook post are a lot less likely to donate than people who get a personalized, individual request from you by email, by phone, or in person.

Ask for a specific amount

Your fundraising page has some suggested donation amounts built in. But when you’re reaching out to people personally, it helps to let them know what you’re asking for specifically. Suggest an amount that you think is right for them – $15, $30, or more!

Choose a communication method that works.

Asking for donations is easier if you pick a method you are comfortable with. But keep in mind that email is the most effective tool. Facebook posts and tweets are likely to get passed by, because they are directed to such a big audience.

So get personal! Email your potential donors individually with a short note telling them why Safe Passage matters to you, why you’re supporting the organization, and why they should join you. Reach out by phone, and talk to people in person!

Domestic violence matters to everyone.

At least 1 in 4 women will be abused during their lifetimes. Most of us know someone who’s been in an abusive relationship. Remember this when you’re reaching out to people – Safe Passage’s mission will resonate for many of your family and friends!

Funny social media posts

Safe Passage’s work is a pretty serious subject. And especially on social media, some people avoid engaging with posts about serious subjects. So mix it up!

Some of your posts can be meaningful and serious, describing your commitment to supporting survivors. But be sure to keep some light. Focus on running, hot chocolate, and the cold weather. Be funny, be silly, be self-deprecating. Have fun with it!

Get personal

Here’s one of our best fundraising tips: Make it personal! Update your fundraising page with your story. Tell your donors why participating in the Hot Chocolate Run is important to you, and people will want to support you!

Kathy, one of our top fundraisers, says: “Be passionate. Be enthusiastic. Don’t be apologetic or sheepish or feel guilty that you’re asking. You are raising funds that will help your neighbors transform their lives. Bring your energy. Bring your best to it. Show gratitude. Then run your heart out!”

Include your fundraising page in your email signature!

Make sure you’re spreading the word by including something like this in your email signature: “I’m running (or walking) in the Hot Chocolate Run. This amazing event raises money to support survivors of domestic violence, and I’d love your support. Please consider donating!” Be sure to include a link to your page.

Make a donation to your own page!

Donors are more likely to give if they see that you’ve made your own commitment to Safe Passage – even if it’s just a few dollars! When you ask people to give, you can tell them “I’ve made my own contribution because this cause is so important. Will you join me?”

Personalize your page!

Of course, you can share your page link right away – it’s all set up for you. But you’re more likely to raise more money if you update your photo and/or change the text to something more personal.

Thank your donors

Be sure to let your donors know how much their support means to you. Hand-written notes never go out of style, and personalized emails and public Facebook shout-outs are great, too! Be sure to send a final thank-you after the event, letting people know what you accomplished thanks to their help.

Your goal is achievable – just break it down!

Let’s say your goal is $150. That might seem like a lot, but when you break it up into smaller donations, it will be easy to reach. Ask three family members to sponsor you for $25 each. Ask a few friends to donate $10. Ask three neighbors, housemates, or coworkers to give $15 each.

You did it! Thank everyone for their support, and consider raising your goal to motivate others people to give!

FAQ Categories: Getting Started | Feeling Stuck? | Are you a team captain? | Back to Top

Feeling Stuck?

Ask, ask, and ask again

Many people will wait to donate until you remind them. Remember, when you ask people more than once, you’re telling them how important this is to you. It is definitely OK to send an email out every couple weeks, and to post on Facebook a few times a week!

Ask everyone!

Think beyond friends and family. You can ask everyone you know to sponsor you: neighbors, colleagues, ex-coworkers…members of your faith community…people on your softball team…third cousins…your parents’ friends. Ask everyone!

Don’t be discouraged if someone can’t donate.

We are so grateful that you’ve asked! When you ask someone to give, you’re helping to get the word out about Safe Passage. If you ask people directly and personally to donate, most will say “yes” because they’ll understand how important this it to you.

Get creative!

Come up with a special way to motivate your donors to give. Offer every donor a raffle ticket for a handmade item you’ll give after the event – like a scarf or a batch of cookies. Post a silly thank-you video for every donation you get. Write each one of your donor’s names on a t-shirt you’ll wear during the event. Or come up with an idea of your own!

I’m posting my page on social media, but I’m not getting much of a response.

Please don’t be discouraged. This is a really common experience for our participants. Facebook posts and tweets come at us a mile a minute and they’re easy to ignore. Try sending an email instead!

I’m trying to fundraise, but I’m getting discouraged.

First, remember: we are so grateful that you’ve asked! When you ask someone to give, you’re helping to get the word out about Safe Passage.

Have you tried asking people directly and personally? Phone calls and personalized emails are far more effective than social media posts and group emails. Let people know how important this is to you, and they’ll give!

Is running a challenge for you? Say so!

Maybe the HCR is your first 5K. Perhaps you’re recovering from an injury. Maybe you quit smoking this year, or decided to start running to improve your health. Tell people why this is a big deal: “Running isn’t easy for me, but I know I can do it. People at Safe Passage are dealing with abuse – that’s much more difficult. It’s an honor to support them by challenging myself to finish this 5K. It would mean the world to me if you’d sponsor me!”

Keep your donors updated on your progress!

You’ve set a personal goal, so be in touch with the people who have already given to let them know how you’re doing. They’ll love to know that they’re part of your success!

Share your passion!

If you’re a team captain, make sure that your team members know how important Safe Passage is. Tell your team why you’ve decided to support Safe Passage, and ask them to join you. Email us (at if you need contact information for your team members!

Share your success!

Make a big deal about the milestones you hit in your fundraising efforts. Post on social media, send an email, and toot your own horn when you get your first donation, your fifth donation, and so on. Make a big deal when you’re halfway to our goal. Share your success – your enthusiasm will motivate people to give!

Tell people why Safe Passage matters to you

Be sure to tell people why you’ve decided to support Safe Passage. Are you taking a stand against domestic violence in Hampshire County? Are you walking or running because you want to support survivors of domestic violence? Whatever your reason, say it proudly. When you tell people why the Hot Chocolate Run matters to you, they’ll want to support you!

Think big!

For some donors, $20 represents a large donation. But if you have a friend or family member who is able to give a larger gift, don’t be afraid to ask. People are much more likely to give when you ask for a specific amount. Our participants have received donations of $100, $250, $500 and even $1,000!

Think local…and think global!

Reach out to friends and family who live in other places. Step Up for Safe Passage donations come in from all over the U.S., and even England, Italy and Mongolia! Although Safe Passage is a local organization, many people who live elsewhere will give, because they want to support you and cheer you on.

Try a few different tactics.

Some people will give because they believe in Safe Passage’s work. Others will give just because they want to support you. Others will give when you explain why Safe Passage matters to you. Some people respond to a more serious message, and others when you keep it light. Rotate between these messages so people will see the message that resonates for them.

Update your fundraising goal

Have you met (or surpassed!) your fundraising goal? Terrific! Keep going! Log in to your page and raise your goal. The more you raise, the more people Safe Passage can help – it’s that simple!

Update your fundraising page regularly

Update your page every week or two to give your donors something new to see every time they visit. It’s a great place to post updates on your fundraising milestones!

You never know who will give. Share your story widely!

Our participants have raised money from friends, family members, coworkers and neighbors. But many don’t stop there. Ask your high school friends you’re still in touch with on Facebook. Ask your family members to share your Facebook posts on their own pages. Reach out widely and you’ll be surprised to get support from generous people you haven’t talked to in years! 

FAQ Categories: Getting Started | Feeling Stuck? | Are you a team captain? | Back to Top

Are you a team captain?

Customize your team page

Please update your team page – your donors will love it! Upload a photo. Replace the default text with information about your team and why you’ve chosen to come together to support Safe Passage. And consider changing your team fundraising goal. The default is $1,000 for all teams, but we suggest starting with a goal of $125 per team member (so a team of 5 people would be $625; 20 people would be $2,500). Make your goal ambitious, but realistic. Once you reach your goal, increase it to keep your donors and team members motivated!

Reach out to your team!

Be sure you’re communicating with your team regularly – an email once a week is great. Give an update about your team’s progress towards your goal, and make sure your team members know about the fundraising tips on our website! Make sure you communicate what you expect of your team members. We suggest asking everyone to raise at least $125. These emails are a great place to talk about friendly competition!

Friendly competition

Competition is a terrific motivator for many teams. Choose a team to compete with and call them out on social media. Keep it friendly and fun. Or, create competition among your team members when you email your team each week. Be sure to recognize anyone on your team who’s done particularly well in their fundraising that week!

FAQ Categories: Getting Started | Feeling Stuck? | Are you a team captain? | Back to Top