Fundraising Ideas

Pick Your Favourite

Click a plus-sign box to open up each fundraising idea and find the one that fits your personality perfectly!

The Top Ten Campaign

Identify ten specific donors you want to ask. Your job is to personally go after each one, but intentionally limit your list to just ten people. Resist the urge to ask anyone else, unless they can legitimately bump one of the others off of your list.


All you have to do is grab a pad of paper (or thumb through your phone's contacts!) and write down your top 10 list. Remember: People like supporting people they know, so your top 10 should only include people you know!



Favourite top 10 candidates include...

  • 1. You (Always give to your own campaign)
  • 2. Mom (Ask her during the day)
  • 3. Dad (Ask him after Mom goes to bed)
  • 4. Grandparents (See #2 and #3 above)
  • 5. Sibling$ (They owe you for all the mean things they did to you growing up)
  • 6. Boss (They love encouraging community in the workplace - ask her!)
  • 7. Friends (The ones who like you especially)
  • 8. Extended family (Uncle so-and-so always liked you - why not ask him?)
  • 9. That guy you know, what's his name... in accounting (Ask a few associates who aren't friends but who you know)
  • 10. Bill Gates (Ask one really rich person - it's worth a shot)


Pros and Cons

  • Pros: This campaign helps you focus your efforts. You don't have to ask dozens of friends - just a few faves.
  • Cons: You may be limiting your fundraising success. But hey, if this approach gets you going, that's all that matters. Enjoy!
The 7 Day Campaign

In this campaign, you commit to working hard at fundraising for one week only. That's it! That's all the time you give yourself. The key is, during this week, you really work hard at it. Here's what your week could look like:



Sample Week

  • Day 1: Draft a personal, passionate, and short email with a link to your personal fundraising page, and identify all the contacts you want this email to go to. Sit on the email overnight.
  • Day 2: Review email and make any necessary edits. Personalize the emails to your top ten contacts, and mass email or message the rest. Wait for the money to roll in.
  • Bonus Tip: Make a donation or pledge to your own campaign before you email anyone. Enjoy being generous. Feel those endorphins swell in your big ol' heart. Nice eh?
  • Day 3: Respond to auto-replies and wrong emails and mop up an additional donors you just remembered. Sit smugly at your desk, knowing you are rocking the fundraising.
  • Day 4: Post a cute photo on Facebook or Twitter of you wearing a toque with something that says, "Yes, I do look this good with my face frozen, now check your inbox and drop some coin!" (Or, something nicer.)
  • Day 5: Make sure you are responding immediately to donors who give. Thank them the same day, use that FundHub. Pat yourself on the back and go get a coffee.
  • Day 6: Circle back to your top 10 list and fire them off a quick, witty email with that picture of you in your toque - they need to know you are serious.
  • Day 7: Count up your fundraising success. How many emails did you send? How many responded? How much have you raised? You've done great - and you are officially done your campaign. It's time to taunt a few of your friends on your team and recruit a few more.


Pros and Cons

  • Pros: You register and fundraise all in one short week. Quick and painless.
  • Cons: Some people don't respond quickly or only respond on second emails or calls. It's possible you'll leave some money on the fundraising table by narrowing your campaign to a week. But if you are busy and just want to get this off your to-do list, this campaign will work well.
The 'Ask for $25' Campaign

The 'Ask for $25' campaign is a staff favourite due to its almost genius-level simplicity: brainstorm a list of people you know, and ask each of them to specifically give you $25.


That's it! You don't care who they are or how much money they may or may not have - everyone will be asked to give $25.


Pros and Cons

  • Pros: That small amount makes things clear and easy to understand, and it's easy enough for most people to fulfill. "Well gawrsh," they'll say to themselves, "I gotta at least have 25 bucks around here someplace."
  • Cons: You may get less than you should from some. You're taking a gamble that those people will be offset by those who think you are worth more than $25.


The $25 Ask Email Template:


Dear __________


This February, I'm walking in the Coldest Night of the Year to raise money for ______________ (charity name) who does great work with ____________ (charity cause).


I'm emailing to ask you for a $25 donation in support of my efforts. Would you be willing to support me this much?


Click the secure link below to give via Paypal or credit card - your $25 donation will be receipted immediately.


If you have any questions please ask - I'm excited to be doing this and appreciate your support.


Your friend,

Patty O'Lanterns

The Monkey Tricks Campaign

The Monkey Tricks Campaign (or MTC as we call it when we're wearing cool sunglasses) is where you offer to do something special, fun, entertaining, or sacrificial on top of the walking you'll do on CNOY Day.


It's a fun way to get your donors' attention and personalize their support. For example:

  • Sweet Treats: You could give every donor a dozen home-made cookies, or samosas, or whatever
  • Conditional Sweet Treats: Same as above, but you only give them the goodies if they give a minimum of $100 or something
  • Stupid Human Tricks: You offer to wear something outrageous on CNOY Day, like dressing as a giant hamburger, or a clown, or whatever else you think would be fun
  • Free Work: You offer them physical services in exchange for their money at different levels - shovel the driveway for $50, paint a room for $200, neuter their cat for $500 - kidding!

Pros and Cons

  • Pros: If nothing else, it will grab their attention - they'll almost have to respond, especially if you contact them personally.
  • Cons: Some people won't get how funny or creative you are. That's fine, brush it off and move on.
The Blanket Campaign

The blanket campaign is a full-court social media and digital communication engagement strategy. These are extremely fancy words for being a big loudmouth.


It's called a "blanket campaign" because it covers absolutely everything. Your friends, family, workmates, school buddies, etc. will all know without a doubt that you are involved in CNOY because...

  • They see your social media posts
  • They've gotten an email ask from you
  • You've got CNOY posters up in your bathroom
  • Your coasters are CNOY postcards
  • You wear a different CNOY everywhere you go
  • Your email signature is the CNOY logo and something about caring for the poor... because you actually do!

Pros and Cons

  • Pros: The shotgun approach works. People will respond and you'll have a ball doing this.
  • Cons: You will choke people's news feeds and people might get tired of your posts. They'll probably make fun of you for wearing that toque all the time. You know the drill, shake it off...
Good Will Hunting

The Good Will Hunting campaign is simple - it's from the "I scratched your back, now it's time for you to scratch my back" school of fundraising.


Remember all those friends you supported this year who were fundraising? Remember those? The one for cancer, gallbladders, dancing, school equipment, church mission trips? Well, now it's your turn to leverage all that good will you sowed with your generosity. This is reciprocity at its finest: it's their turn to give to you.


So, brainstorm your list of friends. Search your email for tax receipts and fire off some personal emails to all those you supported, then watch the money come in.


Pros and Cons

  • Pros: It works.
  • Cons: It only works if you've been giving, so... umm, hopefully you've been doing that...
Rejected Campaign Ideas

Below is a growing list of campaigns we've heard of but flatly rejected. If you see yourself doing any of these, call us quick and we'll talk you through better options!


  • The Terminator: Give or I'll de-friend you
  • The Passive-Aggressive: Give or I'll cry
  • The Ice Bucket Challenge: Pshht, that'll never work
  • The Co-Dependent: Your mother fundraises for you
Got questions about The Coldest Night of the Year?
info@cnoy.org | 1.877.743.3413