How to raise pledges

Our aim is for everyone who uses Do Nation to have the biggest impact they possibly can, whether they’re cycling to Paris, competing in a triathlon or asking for pledges as an alternative wedding list. 

Here are our top 10 tips from 10+ years in the game. 

1. Be engaging

Whenever talking about your Do Nation campaign, whether it’s on your page itself, emails, or blogs, be sure to keep it positive and engaging. Write in a fun, upbeat way and add an eye-catching photo or short video to your campaign page to help illustrate your challenge.

2. Seed it 

Get a few close friends or family members to make pledges before you start asking every Tom, Dick and Harry.

It’s important to seed the page with a few pledges, you see. It’ll help to build trust and encourage others to come on board when you ask them. Don’t forget to make some yourself.

3. Personalise it

Write a list of who you’re going to ask to support you, and then break it down into groups, based on why you think they’ll be interested, how likely they are to support you, or how you know them.

Get in touch with each group separately. Even better, ask people individually.

Personalise your message for each group. Perhaps your work friends will be more interested in the cause you’re doing it for, so lead with that when talking to them. On the other hand, your family and friends may be more interested in the challenge that you’re doing, so get them hooked on that first.

4. Be super clear you're not asking for money

Make sure they realise this isn’t another fundraising request, and that they realise it quickly. Explain a little bit about why you don’t want their money, and why their action will mean so much more.

5. Inspire people to choose the level of action for them

Stress that there’s plenty of choice in our 60+ Do Actions and your supporters can make it as easy or as hard as they like. Importantly, tell them that they don’t have to totally change their lives, instead take small, incremental steps.

A lot of people will say they’re already doing all the actions. Ask them to look again – there's lots to option for people to improve on things they're already doing. 

Perhaps they recycle most of the time, but not when out and about? Or they try not to waste food, but they do a little better?  

With over 60 actions and there really is something for everyone to either start from scratch, or improve on. 

6. Use every tool in your belt

Don’t rely on just one way to communicate your pledge challenge. 

Email is great; Facebook is handy; drinks in the pub are even better; a blog can get so much information across. But alone, each of these won’t get you what you want.

Use a combination of tools, getting in touch with people several times, from several directions. Generally email and face-to-face win out when it comes to the ‘main ask’, but where social media plays a really important role is through reminding people to follow up and actually make that pledge.

7. Keep it fresh 

Give your friends a few gentle prods over the course of your pledge raising.

Don't worry about being a nag - you can make it fun and tie it in with updates of how you’re getting on or preparing for your challenge.

People have pledged because they're interested in a making a change. Any nudges or reminders you give will help them complete their pledge, and feel good about it. 

Add updates on your progress and change the photo or video on your campaign page, just hit the ‘edit’ tab on your campaign page.  

And use a blog or Facebook event to keep the content alive. If you have a blog or website, be sure to embed our Do Nation widget (you can find the link on your campaign page).

8. Talk to the media

Try to get into your local press, or other relevant media. It won’t necessarily bring 100’s of strangers flooding in to pledge for you, but it’ll be sure to get your friends excited and jumping on board. Check out our tips on writing press releases.

9. Prepare for questions

One of the weird things that I noticed as soon as I started asking for pledges the first time was that my friends suddenly saw me as an environmental guru. They asked anything vaguely related to sustainability and the environment. It was a bit overwhelming, but I also realised that it’s a great time to share ideas, get people talking, and to inspire them.

So don’t shy away from it. All you need to know is where to send people. Our Do Action pages cover most of it.

Avoid tales of doom and gloom where you can, instead talk about the positive solutions and the other benefits of sustainable living. This great blog by Ed Gillespie has more inspiration.

10. Thank them

Last but by absolutely no means least, thank your supporters.

A friend of ourshas raised sponsorship every year for the last five years, and she continues to break her record raise each year.

How? She thanks everyone profusely. She makes them feel great. They come back for more. Each time someone pledges for her, she tags a photo of them on Facebook with a little personalised message about what they’re doing. All her friends see it, and all their friends see it. More pledges roll in. Boom.

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