Fundraising Tips

Fundraising can be daunting to new riders, but as returning participants will tell you, it's much easier than you'd expect. We hear tons of stories where first-time riders were initially afraid of fundraising but then go on to surpass their goal and raise many thousands of dollars.

Without riders' fundraising, our 9 beneficiaries and those they serve don't get what they need to survive. The HCRA is the largest, most successful AIDS fundraiser in central Texas, and YOU are the reason why! Let us help!

How to Go About Fundraising

- First thing's first – set a goal. If you're new to the Ride, set your goal for $250. A goal gives you and your supporters something to work towards. Later when you surpass it, it's always fun to raise it and watch your friends continue to help you achieve more. The average rider raises close to $1,000, and we are super confident you will too!

- Set up your personal Rider Page. This is your dedicated fundraising page on our website. It's a one stop shop for soliciting online donations, entering offline cash or check donations, recruiting your friends to join the ride, and much more! Explore the tabs on the left to see all your fundraising tools. But most importantly, make this page personal – tell your story and why this cause is important to you.

Now you can focus your energy on connecting with friends and family

- Email. From your Ride Center page, you can send out already-crafted emails to those in your address book. You can also write your own email to make it personal – this is what people will connect to the most. Tell them why this cause is important and how they can support your goals. You'll likely have to send out multiple emails reminding folks – this is key. Follow-up and reminders are essential! Just make it sincere and fun.

- Social Media. The easiest and fastest way to see results. Simply connect your fundraising page to Facebook and other social media sites (you can find links on your fundraising page), tell friends what you're doing, and tell them how much you would appreciate their support.

*GREAT TIP: When you get a donation from anyone, post on social media thanking them. Write about how you know this person and how much you appreciate their friendship. Include a link to your Ride Center page to make it easy for anyone reading to donate also. You will be surprised at the momentum this process builds! Everyone seems to want to participate and see what you will write about them when THEY donate!

- Throw a house party/host an event! We've had people host pub crawls, spin classes, beauty salon nights, drag shows -- you name it, just do it! Make it exciting and different. Invite your friends, serve up anything fun, and ask them to donate to your ride! We will gladly provide a speaker or someone to represent the HCRA and explain where their dollars go.

- Take it to work. Hang a sign in your office break room with photos of you on your bike and the story of why you're doing the HCRA. Host morning coffee or donuts to gather people and explain what the HCRA is and how they can get involved.

- Take it to your place of worship. Faith groups are always looking for ways to help the community, and you could even start a team of volunteers or riders. Host a donation drive or schedule a time for someone from the HCRA to speak at a worship service. We will be happy to visit and do a brief presentation. Many congregations will have a newsletter where you can post a request for donations or tell your own story of why you're doing the HCRA.

- Make it your story! Inspire your team, donors and other riders. Look at the sample emails below for ideas on composing a letter whether you are personally affected by AIDS/HIV or because you care about others who have it.
Find inspiration to share your story.

Make it personal. Donors will connect to what matters to you! 

Download Sample #1


Because not everyone is directly impacted by HIV/AIDS, but we care for those who are.

Download Sample #2

Other Tips:

Follow the Hill Country Ride for AIDS on social media and use the stories we post in your asks. If we post a story about one of the beneficiaries, share it with a link to your Ride Center donation page. If we post a story about the ride, share it to give friends an idea about what you're participating in. Click these links to follow the Ride's Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts. For more info on how to get the most out of social media, click here.

Get strategic:

  • Make a list of everyone you know. As a part of that process, think about how much you could ask them to give, remembering that some are capable of much larger gifts than others.
  • Ask for the right amount! Do not ask someone for $50 when they can give $1,000.
  • Expand your circle of donors. Ask friends or relatives to circulate letters/emails and raise money on your behalf.
  • Ask, ask, ask! Every year after the Ride, people say "I wanted to give but no one asked!" 

Important Things to Remember

  • Send a second request, or a "Reminder" or "Update" to those who don't respond to your first request! Many people just need to be asked two or more times or need a friendly reminder.
  • Thank your donors! Even the smallest donation is huge and the best way to ensure keeping your donors happy and possibly giving more the next year is to let them know how much their donations are appreciated.
  • You are making a big commitment! Not everyone cycles such a challenging route through the Hill Country! You are doing something BIG to help people with HIV/AIDS.
  • Right before Ride Day, send out a "final request." Many people wait until the last minute to give, but need a final reminder.
  • Immediately after Ride Day, send a "Ride Report" to everyone you asked to donate, whether they supported you or not. Tell them how well you did on the Ride and what you achieved with your fundraising. Keep it positive and include another thank you to everyone who supported you. You may even get a few more donations, and you definitely will pave the way for next year's donations!

We Have Resources for You!

Contact us if you need suggestions, some inspiration, or ideas. We can help you customize a fundraising letter or email appeal and will also help you organize a Pedal Party. Get creative! You have support; we're here for you. All riders and crew can always call the Ride office for help at (512) 371-RIDE (7433).

Is the $500 a Goal or a Requirement?

The Hill Country Ride for AIDS' mission is to raise funds for 9 local beneficiaries, assisting those affected by HIV/AIDS in our community. To do this we require riders to raise $500 each (or $250 for first-time riders). This is how participants have managed to raise more than $10 million in 20 years. 

Although the HCRA is a fun day and one of, if not the, most well-supported rides you'll experience, it is still ultimately a fundraiser. Part of the celebration and energy of Ride day is everyone's collective pride in meeting their fundraising and training goals. We understand and appreciate the effort it takes to raise money, and this is why we work hard to provide tools and support to help everyone accomplish their goals. The HCRA will monitor your progress and reach out to see how you're doing and help you stay on track. We want everyone to succeed so the 9 beneficiaries receive the maximum funds they need to provide critical care.

HIV and AIDS is on the rise in Austin. We want to give everyone an opportunity to make a difference and turn this statistic around -- and have a great time along the way. We are grateful to every single person who gives their time and resources to improve the lives of those touched by HIV and AIDS in our community.

What happens if I don't raise $500?

If you want to ride on April 25th, you’ve been actively fundraising, but you’ve not yet met your goal of $500 (or $250 for first-time riders) by packet pickup on Friday, April 24th, you will be allowed to ride and asked to raise the balance by May 30th. 

Please review the above tips and reach out to the Ride office for further assistance. It's our goal to help you reach yours, and we are more than happy to help in ANY way!