Last April, my niece Julia participated in Jump Rope for Heart for the American Heart Association. I proudly wrote about how I helped her raise money for heart disease and become the top fundraiser in her 1st grade classroom. She raised $615 and earned an invitation to have lunch with her gym teachers, which made her very, very happy!

I started the blog post talking about the path to getting Julia’s fundraising goal increased to something she could reach for and that her donors would feel compelled to support. So imagine my pure delight and happiness when I got an email in early April asking to support Julia in her second year doing Jump Rope for Heart with her school and saw her goal set at $1,000.

My event fundraising heart swelled two sizes and you couldn’t wipe the smile off my face.

When I visited Julia’s Donation Page, I loved the video message she used to talk about why she was doing this:

“There’s a lot of kids with heart problems and heart diseases and I’d like to help them by raising money for research.”

…and what she needed from me:

“I’d really appreciate it if you donated money.”

I was truly encouraged by all the positive changes Julia made in her fundraising ask in just one year. More than that, I was so proud of what she was able to accomplish by implementing four simple changes:

  • Doubling her fundraising goal
  • Expanding her potential donor pool
  • Using a video to make her ask
  • Following-up with potential donors who didn’t respond to her first ask

All of these changes resulted in Julia surpassing her goal of $1,000 and raising $1,135 (that’s an 85% increase in one year thank you very much!). She was the top fundraiser in her classroom (Go Julia!) and the 2nd highest fundraiser of the nearly 500 students who participated from her entire school. (Can you hear my heart bursting?)

I took a step back to think about why Julia was so much more successful in her second year and I landed on three things:

  1. Experience– Having already done this before, Julia knew what she was getting herself into. It made it possible for her to use last years’ experience to build upon to make this year even more successful. (Note- having a foundation to jump off from makes fundraising easier.)
  2. Confidence– After seeing that it was possible to raise over $600 last year, Julia felt confident to aim higher. A huge sign of confidence? Setting your fundraising goal at $1,000. At 7 ½ years of age, she’s setting a fundraising goal that many adults I know are hesitant to do, and it makes me proud that Julia felt confident enough to aim so high! (Note- being a successful fundraiser helps build confidence for future fundraising behavior.)
  3. Support– Apart from her built-in fundraising coach (Me!) and her parents, Julia was able to use last year’s donors as her first line of support. She had also learned how important it was to ask everyone for a donation, to ask more than once and to talk about what she was doing with everyone around her. She increased her donor support by 78% going from 18 donors in 2012 up to 32 in 2013. (Note- knowing who to ask, how to ask and when to ask can make all the difference in the world.)

Whether your organization is trying to engage younger donors or you’d like to explore how you can make fundraising for children easier, these are simple actions you can take and quick advice to consider as you incorporate one or both into your fundraising plan. Remember, regardless of where your organization is at or what age your participants are, there are key takeaways for all event fundraisers to consider.


Fast Fundraising Tips” blog posts are featured monthly. A passionate advocate of event fundraising and customer service, Molly Fast has been working as an event fundraiser since 2002. As the daughter of a 13-year breast cancer survivor, cancer has hit very close to home and Molly has dedicated herself to helping others see their potential in making this world a better place. At Event 360, Molly combines her love of customer service with event fundraising. When she’s not taking photos in Santa Monica, where she lives with her husband and their black lab Clancy, Molly can be found wandering around Ireland. You can find Molly on Google+, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

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