1. Start by CREATING YOUR PERSONAL BIRDATHON FUNDRAISING PAGE, which will allow people to make easy, secure online donations.
2. Name your fundraising page, set a specific fundraising goal amount, add a profile photo, add page content explaining why you’re fundraising and share your fundraising page link with friends and family!
3. Make a list of everyone you know: Neighbors, friends near and far, co-workers, old college roommates, acquaintances from the gym, other parents in your child’s preschool….
4. Cast a wide net. Not everyone will give. But the more people you ask, the more “yesses” you’ll get.
5. Think of people whose causes you’ve supported. Did you sponsor them in a breast cancer walk last year or buy their daughter’s Girl Scout cookies? They’ll be more likely to contribute
6. Don’t feel embarrassed. Most people will respect you for caring enough about birds and wildlife conservation to put your time and effort into the Birdathon.
7. Approach people! Send them a personal email with a link to your Fundraising Page. Call them up. Write them a personal note. Individual calls, notes, emails and conversations are much more likely to get a response than a mass posting on Facebook. (Your friends are welcome to mail a check to GGAS if they prefer, rather than donate online.)
8. Develop talking points (see below)—one or two reasons why Golden Gate Audubon is important to you. Did you fall in love with Rosie and Richmond via the Osprey Cam? Do you want your grandchildren to be able to see egrets and warblers when they grow up? Etc.
9. Consider asking for a per-species pledge! For instance, 25 cents or $1 for every species spotted by you individually. This will get them invested and also add to your own competitive fun. Afterwards you’ll need to let your donors know how many species were tallied and how much they should donate.
10. TALK ABOUT Birdathon. During your next family Zoom, or on a walk with a neighbor, or on social media…. Tell people how much you’re looking forward to the Birdathon adventure tours, and what species you hope to find.
11. Be open and sincere. If you let people know you have an ambitious $ goal, and that you’re nervous about how to reach it, some of them will step up to help. Wouldn’t you do the same for a friend?
12. Be persistent. If someone doesn’t respond to your first email, try again and say something like, “Hi, I just wanted to make sure my earlier note didn’t get lost in cyberspace.” People’s inboxes get full and their lives are hectic and they may have inadvertently overlooked your first request. It’s worth trying again.
13. Thank your donors! Acknowledge their contribution as soon as you find out about it. Tell them you will let them know your success and will send photos of the birds you see. If they don’t decide on the spot to support you, thank them for thinking about it.
Again, TALK ABOUT Birdathon. People will respond to your enthusiasm for birds, nature and Golden Gate Audubon Society. Tell the world. Who knows… you might inspire them not just to donate to Birdathon, but to try birding or come on a GGAS field trip themselves.
Prepare ahead. Develop a script. Here are some points you can include, but the most important thing is to make it your own:
- GGAS leads 200 free field trips each year and offers adult birding classes and monthly guest speakers on wildlife conservation and birds. GGAS also provides environmental education classes and field trips for students in low-income elementary schools in Oakland, Richmond, and San Francisco each year. GGAS takes on major conservation issues such as reducing bird kills by wind turbines at Altamont Pass, rebuilding wetlands at Pier 94 in San Francisco, and providing a safe nesting site for endangered Least Terns in Alameda. It does all this with a tiny staff but hundreds of volunteers!
- Golden Gate Audubon has been protecting birds, preserving natural habitats and open space, and educating people of all ages about birds and other wildlife for 105 years. It is one of the oldest and most respected conservation organizations in California.
- Climate change and ongoing loss of habitat are taking a toll on birds everywhere, including the Bay Area. A 2019 report by National Audubon predicted that 2/3 of North American bird species are at risk from climate change. We need Golden Gate Audubon to continue to be a strong voice for protecting birds and natural habitats and to have enough funds to carry out its mission for years to come.
- All funds raised by the Birdathon go directly to Golden Gate Audubon. The money stays right here in the Bay Area to help our native bird populations survive and thrive, and to inspire and educate current and future generations about the wonders of our natural world. GGAS is a 501c3 non-profit so your friends’ donations are tax-deductible.
Need more inspiration? Click here to read a profile of GGAS member Dan Harris, who got 106 (yes, 106!) of his friends and family to sponsor him in Birdathon 2015.