SFS Fundraising Guru Mike Hong Shares His Secrets!

Intrepid climber Mike Hong bagged Gannett Peak last season on a memorable BCM Summit for Someone adventure—and he had a blast prepping for it!  So what’s the largest obstacle an SFS climber endures?  Is it treadmill training sessions?  Final scrambles up to the summit of an epic peak?  Nope…often times, it’s simply feeling copacetic about the fundraising.  In the interest of placing minds at ease, we offer “donation collecting guru” Mike Hong’s tricks of the trade…enjoy!

Gannett Peak Crew Strikes A Pose

1.  How much money did you raise for your Gannett Peak climb with Summit For Someone last year?

Mike:  I needed $4,500 and I received $4,913.

2.  What was your specific strategy for your fundraising?

Mike:  Having fun and finding creative ways to raise the money while keeping people updated and giving them incentives to donate more than once… check out http://mikesummitsforsomeone.com/ for some of my blog posts.

3.  What worked well?  What didn’t?

Mike:

  • Thinking about fundraising in increments and smaller goals was helpful, instead of worrying about making the final dollar mark in one go.
  •  Using an easy to remember “URL,” instead of the more complex donation link URL, and making t-shirts helped spread the word organically, so that I wasn’t the only one promoting my cause.
  • Hijacking my donation page and turning it into a blog helped to get sponsors on board more easily because they could actually see what I was doing, instead of just sending them a donation link.
  • Always being active, even just a little bit (ie: shooting out emails or doing Facebook posts several times a week)… it’s easy to slip into a lull and get discouraged… the having fun part from above is important here too, if I’m having fun, it’s easy to keep going.
  • Staying connected with my fellow SFS climbers and making fundraising an internal competition. I don’t think anything I tried didn’t work well, it was more a matter of being able to commit the time to doing it right. Keeping things simple and focused helped me execute faster.
  • Start fundraising early!  There are plenty of ways to relate this back to how people should approach taking on a big summit 🙂

4.  Who was your target audience?  Friends, family, co-workers?

Initially friends, family, co-workers, the local outdoors community, and then as things plateaued, I extended beyond familiar circles as much as possible.  If I were to go at it again, I would focus on reaching beyond my first and second circles earlier, as it takes more time to get strangers interested, involved, talking, and donating.

5.  What creative ideas did you employ?

Mike:  Not as many as I would have liked.  It was fun brainstorming ideas, but in the end I had to pick several and execute.

  • I did two raffles, had t-shirts made, did a movie night, wore/carried my gear/sponsor helmet on my daily commutes,
  • I had a slide show when I returned from the climb, and I’m still waiting on a wrap-up/thank you video that one of my climbing partners is putting together for our donors.

6.  What did you enjoy most about helping BCM with your fundraising efforts?

Mike:  I love sharing my passion for the mountains and outdoors so that meshed perfectly with the program. BCM is important because they introduce kids who might otherwise never “get out” to the great outdoors, which can offer a perspective changing, positive effect throughout the rest of their lives.

Some Additional Fun-loving Fundraising Tips

7.   Remind people that their gifts are tax-deductible.

8.   Be a donor yourself! Even if you can’t give much, making your own gift will give you more confidence and enthusiasm in asking others to support you.

Here’s hoping that these field-tested techniques are helpful.  Many thanks to all of our Summit for Someone climbers and supporters—you’re inspiring efforts are truly appreciated!

~Your friends at Big City Mountaineers

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