My first Summit For Someone fundraising e-mail

Last week I set up my donation page, with a message about SFS and Big City Mountaineers, and a photo of me on my BCM trip last summer, with our group of teens from College Track in East Palo Alto, Calif.

I sent out a mass e-mail to 48 friends and family at a little before midnight last Tuesday night (Oct. 21). Out of 48 e-mail addresses, here were my results:

  • 2 e-mails bounced (maybe we weren’t that good of friends if I don’t have a current e-mail address?)
  • 2 donations: $100 from a friend who is a lawyer in Phoenix, Ariz.; and $150 from another friend who is a chiropractor in Evanston, Ill.
  • A reply saying “congratulations” from a friend’s Blackberry (Hmm…)
  • An e-mail from my brother, who says he’s buying new windows right now, but once he finds out how much they’re going to cost, he’ll get a donation in.
  • An e-mail from another friend who said she’d donate as soon as she checked her finances, but also that we need to get together and go climbing soon, maybe down at Shelf Road in southern Colorado.

Total donations resulting from my first mass e-mail: $250. I was a little disappointed, but I realize a mass e-mail isn’t the most personal way to ask those close to you for money. My next step? Individually follow up with e-mails to all the folks on the list who didn’t donate.

I know some of my friends aren’t exactly rich, but all I’m asking for is a donation. Not $100 — just a donation, maybe $10, whatever they can spare, to show me they care about what I’m doing. Just a gesture, but a meaningful one.

[The text of my first mass e-mail appears below if you’re looking for ideas]

Fundraising total, 10/27/08: $450

Questions about Summit For Someone? E-mail or call 303-271-9200, ext. 403.

Sent: Wednesday, October 22, 2008 1:51:08 AM
Subject: Help Brendan Summit For Someone

Friends and family —

In June of 2009, I’ll be climbing Mount Shasta, a 14,162-foot volcano in the Cascades in California, as part of a fundraiser called Summit For Someone. My Mount Shasta climb raises money for Big City Mountaineers, the nonprofit I work for in Denver. BCM provides week-long backpacking and canoeing trips for at-risk urban teens in Colorado, California, the Pacific Northwest and the Boundary Waters.

Teens in BCM programs aren’t delinquents or criminals. All our participants are teens from youth agencies like College Track and The Boys & Girls Club — they just don’t have chances to get outside their neighborhoods. This past summer, I spent a week in the Sierras with a group of kids from the Bay Area. They were all tough kids, without many positive role models in their lives, and no one to encourage them to consider a future outside of East Palo Alto. I think it made a difference, for them and for me.

If I didn’t believe in it, I wouldn’t be asking you for money. I appreciate whatever you feel you can give. I need to raise $3,600 to participate in the climb, and every donation will help me get there, and help a bunch of teens spend a week in the mountains next summer, and maybe alter the course of their lives.

To donate by credit or debit card, just click the “Donate” button on my fundraising page, here:

When you complete the donation process, you’ll receive a confirmation e-mail that functions as a tax document, which allows you to deduct your contribution.

Thank you for your help. I hope all is well with everyone.



3 responses to “My first Summit For Someone fundraising e-mail

  1. Fundraising tip: I sold Chico bags for $6 (purchased for $2.50 from Chico). It was a hit, and I sold 100 in three days… I could have done 200 easy. People were super receptive and a reusable shopping bag was an easy sell.

  2. brendanleonard

    That’s a great idea, Jess. I just e-mailed Chico for some more information about fundraising.

  3. Pingback: How I raised $3,600 in 16 weeks « Summit For Someone blog