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Fundraising Guide

Fundraising Guide

ORGANIZATION FOR AUTISM RESEARCH 2000 North 14th Street, Suite 710, Arlington,Virginia, 22201 | Toll Free Number: 1.866.366.9710

A Word from the Executive Director Thank you for joining OAR’s RUN FOR AUTISM team. I applaud you for your personal fitness challenge and thank you for using it as a catalyst to do something more, in this case raise money for autism research. As a charity runner, you can look forward to receiving a double reward. First, you’ll enjoy the sense of accomplishment that comes with crossing the finish line after months of preparation. Next will come the realization that all those training and running efforts count for even more as you tally your fundraising results and see the cumulative total raised by your fellow runners. In addition to saying thanks, let me say in advance of your coming success, congratulations and well done.

Michael V. Maloney Executive Director, Organization for Autism Research

A Word from the RUN FOR AUTISM Director A word from the RUN FOR AUTISM Director Welcome, and thank you for taking on this exciting adventure! Your decision to don an OAR singlet on race day means more than just increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; you literally have the power to effect change. Every day our RUN team members efforts are supporting the distribution of our Life Journey Through Autism resource guides, sponsoring OAR speakers at autism conferences nationwide, and even funding a graduate or Master’s student’s very first autism research study. Whether you signed up for a marathon, 5K, triathlon or any other endurance event, the money you raise will impact thousands of people affected by autism spectrum disorders. Thank you for deciding to make your training miles and race day about something more than crossing the finish line. So what now? Some of you may have found registering for your event intimidating enough. Now you’re wondering… just how do you run a fundraising campaign? To borrow a phrase from Nike, “Just DO it!” Reaching (and surpassing) your fundraising goal will be easier the sooner you start, so use this guide to draft your fundraising letter today. Turn on your computer and email every single person you know, letting them know about your event and fundraising goal. Print and mail letters to your friends and family who aren’t online. Or open your calendar and pick the day for your fundraising event. People will want to donate and support you in your efforts, but they won’t have the chance unless you ask! Still not sure where to start? That’s ok, because the OAR staff is here to help.You can reach us by email at or by calling 703-243-9710. Take your first step today by sharing your personal fundraising goal with your RUN Coordinator! Thank you again,

Chelsea Steed Director, RUN FOR AUTISM

Welcome! CONGRATULATIONS on joining the RUN FOR AUTISM team, and thank you for choosing to run for a cause! This guide is designed to help you every step of the way during your fundraising process and provide ideas to make raising money Simple, Personal, and Fun! You’ve already completed Step 1 by joining the RUN FOR AUTISM team, so keep up the good work by starting to plan and fundraise now! Start now and plan ahead to make fundraising a breeze!

Table of Contents What is Autism?.................................................................. 6

Make it a Team Effort!....................................................... 18

About OAR......................................................................... 6

Where is Your Money Going?........................................... 19

Fundraising Timeline.......................................................... 7

Frequently Asked Questions............................................. 20

Fundraising Checklist......................................................... 8

Appendices....................................................................... 22

Creative Fundraising Events............................................ 11

Appendix 1: Sample FirstGiving Fundraising Pages.... 22

Social Media..................................................................... 14

Appendix 2: Sample Letter or Email............................. 24

How to Raise $250 in 10 Days......................................... 15

Appendix 3: Record Your Donations............................ 26

Built-In Incentives............................................................. 16

Appendix 4: Donation Form......................................... 27

Top 5 Ways to Keep It Simple.......................................... 16

Appendix 5: Press Release Template.......................... 28

Suggest Amounts to Give................................................. 17



What is Autism? Autism is a neurological disorder that affects a person’s ability to communicate and interact socially. In addition, autism: • Is the fastest growing developmental disability in the U.S. according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention • Occurs in as many as 1 in 88 births • Is more prevalent than Down’s Syndrome, childhood diabetes, and childhood cancer combined • Has an estimated annual cost of $137 billion in the US

Did You Know? • • • •

There is no genetic marker or medical test for autism; it is diagnosed by observing a child’s behavior and development Autism affects boys more than girls by a ratio of 4:1 There is no known cause of autism. Studies show that there may be many different factors that make a child more likely to have an Autism Spectrum Disorder, including environmental, biological, and genetic factors. There is no medical treatment that can cure autism

There is Room for Hope and Answers • • •

Autism can be reliably diagnosed by age three and sometimes as early as 18 months Early diagnosis allows for earlier intervention and greater opportunity for children with autism to enjoy fuller, more complete lives There are evidence-based treatments that can help people with autism function better in day-to-day life

About OAR OAR is a national, nonprofit organization that is dedicated to promoting research that when applied, can impact the day-to-day life of families, educators, caregivers, and individuals affected by autism. It is the only autism organization with this exclusive focus. In addition, OAR: • Focuses on applied research—scientific studies that examine the challenges faced by children and adults with autism and their families • Has published seven resource guides in the Life Journey through Autism series specifically designed to provide parents and professionals with reliable information in an accessible format • Awards annual grants to applied autism research studies • Supports post-secondary education for individuals with autism through scholarships



Fundraising Timeline Start early, plan ahead, and track your progress to help you reach your fundraising goal. Sign up on FirstGiving and start your publicity. Update your Facebook status at least once a week.

3-6 months out

Plan your Fundraising Event. Complete the fundraising checklist on page 8.

1-3 months out

Continuously update your current and potential donors on your training and fundraising progress, and ask them to contribute through mail and email. Update your Facebook status 2-3 times per week and your FirstGiving page once a week. Hold your Fundraising Event.

3-4 weeks out

Big pre-race push as you complete your final training runs. Update your Facebook status 4-5 times per week and your FirstGiving page once a week.

Race weekend

Within one week after the race

BIG push. This is what you’ve worked for, and this is the peak of excitement for you and your donors! Update your Facebook status the day before you leave for the race.

Share your race results, photos, and accomplishment with your network! Share your fundraising progress and make one last push. Thank everyone for his or her support.

One month after

Fundraising closes. Congrats and thank you!

Need help staying on track? Mark your calendar or set up phone and email alerts to remind you to keep up with your fundraising and training goals! FUNDRAISING GUIDE


A Word About Fundraising... There are many approaches to fundraising, and the more you employ, the more successful you will be! Utilize different strategies to raise money such as face-to-face interactions, letter campaigns, online methods, and fun events.

Fundraising Checklist (√) Step 1: Done! You’ve already joined the RUN FOR AUTISM team! OAR’s RUN staff are available to you every step of the way through your charity running experience and are dedicated to help you make your RUN a success with consistent fundraising and training support.

( ) Step 2: Set a Goal Challenge yourself and don’t be afraid to be ambitious. Break down the amount to think of it in less daunting terms, and remember the OAR RUN staff are available to help as well. For instance, a reasonable goal of $2,500 is just 100 donations of $25. Your race may have a minimum, but your goal can be much higher!

Oftentimes, the higher you set your goal, the more money people will choose to donate.

( ) Step 3: Set Up Your Fundraising Page (if you haven’t already) When you signed up to run with OAR, you were prompted to “create a fundraising page.” If you have not done so already, take the time to create and personalize your fundraising page so you can use it as an additional fundraising tool. Personalize your page to make it unique by including pictures, an individualized message, and page name. Direct your friends and family to your fundraising page by sending them an email that includes a link to the page. Also, edit your email signature to include a brief description of your efforts as well as the link that people can use to easily donate to your campaign. Sign up to receive notifications when donations are made on your page and thank your donors right away. Keep in mind that you need to add the donations that were not made online to your fundraising site. These can be entered as “offline donations.”



( ) Step 4: Identify Your Network Think of the people you know in all your networks- personal, social, and business. Start with those closest to you and expand from there. Oftentimes these people will be some of your biggest supporters so encourage them to reach out to their own networks on your behalf. Refer to our suggested contacts list on page 15 to make sure you include everyone!

( ) Step 5: Make the Initial Ask – Start Your Email/Letter Campaign Sending personal emails and letters is one of the best ways to raise money because you can reach out to everyone! When writing your email or letter keep in mind the following tips: • Remember to ask for a donation and give a deadline. • Make it personal by including what is going on in your life, the event you’re participating in, and why you chose to RUN FOR AUTISM. • Include your fundraising and race goals, and offer suggestions of amounts to give (see the suggested amounts section on page 17). • Tell them how to donate by directing them to your fundraising website or including your address for checks. • Ask them to help expand your network by forwarding your message on to others. • Keep the letter short and sweet. Simple is better! • Have some fun and be sure your personality shines through! For sample emails/letters refer to Appendix 2.

Follow up with reminder emails and letters throughout your training and the weeks leading up to your event to update supporters on your accomplishments.Thank those who have already donated and remind others you’re still working toward your goal.



( ) Step 6: Take Advantage of Social Media Employ social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and widgets as a fun way to spread the word about your event and fundraising efforts. Refer to the Social Media section on page 14 for examples.

( ) Step 7: Double Your Donations or More! Find out if your company offers a matching gift program by contacting the human resources department, and be sure to remind your donors to do the same. This is a simple way to multiply your donations! All you or your donors have to do is sign the matching gifts form and send the completed form to OAR. Some matching gift programs have moved to an online portal, and simply require that an online form be completed to request the match. Also, speak with your human resources department to see if there are any other ways they can support your cause.

( ) Step 8: Make Fundraising Personal to You

Be sure to send a thank you letter anytime you receive a donation and again at the end of your fundraising process.

This guide offers several suggestions of creative ways to raise money that will get you, your friends, family, and coworkers excited about the entire fundraising process. By showing your excitement and commitment to the cause through a fundraising event, the enthusiasm will spread to others. Adapt our ideas to fit you, or develop your own fundraising event!



Creative Fundraising Events Who says writing emails is the only way to raise money? The following are some fun fundraising event ideas that will help to make the process personal to you and exciting for others. Use these ideas or come up with your own! Regardless, be sure you show your excitement and commitment to the cause, and your enthusiasm will inevitably spread to others!

Hold different events to target your various networks such as family, friends, coworkers and the community. Benefit Night at a Restaurant Many restaurants will donate a percentage of their earnings from one night to various charities. Set this up with your favorite restaurant, and then invite everyone you know to attend. Just remind supporters to mention your name so the proceeds are included in your percentage. Tournament Event Host a tournament for sporting games, poker, or even Wii, and charge players for entry. Have a prize donated for the winners. Garage Sale Hold a garage sale where all the proceeds go toward your fundraising.You could even team up with your neighbors to expand the event. Movie Night Host a movie showing at your house and ask for donations. Provide snacks such as popcorn and candy for your guests. In Lieu of Gifts Instead of gifts for a holiday or birthday, ask for donations. Trivia Night Host a trivia night at a local bar or in your home and charge admission. Have a prize for the winner, or give them a percentage of the earnings. Celebrity Bartender Find a local bar willing to let you use the facilities, and contact a local celebrity to be the bartender for the night to raise money for your run. It could be the mayor, a news anchor, or a local athlete. Or keep it simple by bartending the event yourself! Advertise the event all over the city, and be sure to have professional bartenders there to help out. Earn money from tips at the bar and maybe even a portion of the cover charge.



What’s in the Box Auction Have attendees come with a wrapped box with whatever they want inside of it. Label each one with a number, and place them on a table so they can be examined. Run the event as a silent or live auction, and have the winners unwrap the gifts in front of everyone. Seed the auction with a few really good prizes to keep the bidding high.

Creating friendly competition through your fundraising events will create excitement and encourage more giving!

Jewelry Sale If you or a friend makes jewelry, host a jewelry party for all your friends and have the proceeds go toward your fundraising. Host a Foodie Get-Together Host a brunch, wine tasting, or cocktail hour in your home and charge admission. Award Show Party Invite friends over to watch an award show. Have people place bets on the main categories, and give the winner a percentage of the earnings. Murder Mystery Dinner Party Host a murder mystery party and dinner and charge for participation. The winner gets a fun prize! Group Rate Tickets Buy group rate tickets to a sports game, concert, or show and have food donated to host a tailgate beforehand. Charging twice the price still makes it a great deal, and you earn the difference! Brown Bag Your Lunch Day Encourage your coworkers to bring their lunch to work on a specific day and donate the money they would have spent on lunch. Snack Bar Buy candy bars, snacks or drinks in bulk (anything you can get for $0.50 or less is ideal) and keep them some place in the office that you designate the snack bar. Create a price-list with comparable prices to local vending machines, and add an honor system jar to collect money. You could even stock the freezer with frozen lunches. Incentive Raffle Approach your boss about holding a raffle in which the prize is something like a close parking space for a week, an extended lunch, or a half-day off. Sell raffle tickets for $2 - $5, and have a drawing at the end of the week. Penny Drive Divide your office into teams and give each team a jar to collect change. Have workers empty spare change into their jar, but throw in a twist by making pennies a positive value and anything silver a negative value. Teams compete by placing pennies in their own jar and silver change in other teams’ jars. Have a simple prize for the team with the highest net value at the end of the week. 12


Dress Down Day Have everyone pay $5 to wear jeans on a designated day. Just make sure your boss approves it first! Car Wash Hold a car wash one weekend, and take donations for your cause. Recruit volunteers and set up the location ahead of time. Have signs to hold up on the day of the event for advertising. Happy Hour Team up with a local bar and host a happy hour where a percentage of the proceeds go toward your fundraising total. Advertise as much as possible beforehand to attract a large crowd, and spread the word by telling your friends to invite their friends and so on.

Sometimes it’s best not to charge a specific amount, but ask for donations instead. Oftentimes people will donate more than you would charge!

March Madness Pool Set up a March Madness (or any large sporting event) pool, and charge for entry. The winner receives a portion of the money pool. Bake Sale Set up a bake sale, but instead of charging set prices, ask for donations. Keep it straightforward by selling simple treats such as chocolate chip cookies, rice krispie treats, and brownies. Have everything prewrapped so it’s easy to distribute. Fountain Coin Collection Go to your local mall and ask what they do with the coins in the fountains. Ask them to make a donation to your cause. If the mall gives you permission, you could even place a small sign by the fountain explaining where the change is going. Ice Cream Bar Set up an ice cream sundae bar at a local event, fair, or festival. Have set prices and provide different ice cream flavors as well as several toppings to choose from. Yard Services Set up flyers in your neighborhood offering yard services, such as tending to the garden, mowing the lawn, pulling weeds, raking leaves, shoveling snow, etc. Ask for a donation instead of charging them a set amount.Yard services can go on for months and work in all seasons, so there’s always plenty of opportunity!

If your friends can’t donate money, ask them if they can donate their time to help out with an event or if they can find prizes to be donated by local businesses.



Social Media It’s important to continually keep others updated on your fundraising process. Social Media is a simple and fun way to let others know about what you’re doing as well as encourage them to follow your progress. Use Facebook, Twitter, a blog, or your FirstGiving website to spread the word about your event, training, and fundraising progress.

On Facebook, update your status, create an event, make a page, and change your profile picture. On Twitter, post frequent updates and invite supporters to follow you.

Create a blog or use your FirstGiving page to promote your event and fundraising developments. Make the page fun, personal and inviting so people will want to visit it often. Be sure to include pictures! FirstGiving even offers a feature called a widget, which allows you to display a miniature version of your fundraising page to your blog or website. Add a widget to show your progress toward your fundraising goal and to provide a quick link to your fundraising page. For sample Facebook and Twitter Messaging please refer to Appendix 3.

Search RUN FOR AUTISM Follow us on





How to Raise $250 in 10 Days Follow these steps to be well on your way to reaching your final fundraising goal. By asking one person a day for a $25 donation, you will have $250 by Day 10! Day 1: Contribute $25 yourself......................................................$25 Day 2: Ask your significant other for $25...................................$50 Day 3: Ask one friend for $25........................................................$75 Day 4: Ask one neighbor for $25................................................$100 Day 5: Ask one relative for $25...................................................$125 Day 6: Ask your boss or coworker for $25..............................$150 Day 7: Ask your doctor for $25..................................................$175 Day 8: Ask your hairdresser or barber for $25.......................$200 Day 9: Ask your dentist for $25..................................................$225 Day 10: Ask one current or former classmate for $25.........$250

Try reaching out to people in your community. You’ll increase your fundraising and awareness for your cause at the same time.

Who Else Can Assist You in Your Fundraising Efforts? Parents, siblings, aunts and uncles, cousins, grandparents, classmates, friends, parents’ friends, college roommates, family friends, coworkers, email address book, holiday card list, PTA list, place of worship, sports team, alumni group, neighbors, gym, coach, local autism service provider, postal worker, dry cleaner, veterinarian, restaurants, teachers, banker, clients, local businesses, organizations or clubs, bus driver, barista, local running group members, masseuse, salon owner, book club, recreational league, local sports teams, dog walker, babysitters, youth groups, local college Greek life—the list goes on and on!



Built-In Incentives Incorporate the motivation for others to give into your training. Set a reasonable goal time for your race, and pledge to match others’ donations by a certain percentage for every 5 minutes you go over. Or for every run that you miss during your training, publicly commit to donating a certain amount to your own FirstGiving page. Keep a running log of your training runs to keep your network interested and coming back for frequent updates.

Provide incentives for donors to give higher amounts. Have donors include a “dare” for you to complete in their comments when they make a donation to your page. Pledge to complete the dare of the highest bidder within a specified time period before or after the event. Be sure to include dare highlights in your Facebook updates and emails.To drive up your fundraising total even more, specify an amount donors must match in order to be included in the competition.

Be your own billboard Offer to include your supporters’ names on your running singlet or t-shirt. You can also wear your OAR t-shirt around town, at the gym, or on your training runs. It’s as simple as that!

Bring in your special skill What special skill or talent do you have that you can easily offer to help your fundraising efforts? If you are a great cook, tell your supporters that you will cook for the highest donors. Have a BBQ or prepare your specialty! If you have access to great tickets to a concert or sporting event, offer those up as a prize. Be creative and make it personal!

Top 5 Ways to Keep It Simple 1) Start early and plan ahead! 2) Change your email signature to include information about your fundraising efforts, and make sure to direct readers to your FirstGiving page. 3) Talk about it! Just bringing your race and the cause up in conversation is an easy way to spread the word. 4) Wear your shirt! Advertise for yourself. 5) Tell friends to ask their companies for Matching Gift applications, and refer to page 10 to learn how to double or sometimes even triple your donations. Not sure how Matching Gifts programs work? Contact your human resources department for help!



Suggest Amounts to Give Incorporate the numbers into something about your race or tie it to autism statistics. For example, if you’re running a marathon, a good starting point is $26.2, or $1 per mile. Also suggest $42 for every kilometer in a marathon.

To incorporate autism you can suggest the following: • $25 for the $25 that supports the shipment of OAR’s Life Journey through Autism resource guides to communities • $54 for 1 in 54 boys diagnosed with autism

It’s helpful to suggest a specific amount that people can give, and it’s especially appealing if you come up with a creative way to do so.

• $88 for 1 in 88 children diagnosed with autism • $137 for the $137 billion estimated annual cost of autism for the US • $1000 for the $1000 that funds a graduate student’s first autism research study

Or put your personal spin on things and add a little humor. One runner did this with suggested amounts he posted on his FirstGiving fundraising page, including: $1.00 for the amount of BRAIN CELLS I must have to think I can run 26.2 miles. $1.00 for every CHAMPIONSHIP a Boston team has won since 2000 (3 Pats, 2 Sox, 1 Celtics). $2.00 for both Sara and Ali (whom he’s running IN HONOR OF). $20 10 FOR EACH. $26.2 for the amount of MILES in a MARATHON. $1 to 88 for the RATIO OF CHILDREN diagnosed with autism. $2620 what I just may DONATE MYSELF and stay home. Consider DOUBLING your donation if I do not walk any portion. $25 if I require NO MEDICAL ATTENTION during or after the race. $100,000 if I come in FIRST overall. $5 if I finish in the TOP 30,000. $50 if someone OLDER THAN 80 finishes ahead of me. $75 if I beat OPRAH’S TIME (4:29).



Make It a Team Effort! Involving your network in your efforts makes running more fun, fundraising more simple, and the entire process more personal. Make training and race day more fun by recruiting friends to join the team. If you’re a first time runner, the added camaraderie will help you stay motivated and stick to your training plan. Invite your friends, family, coworkers, and neighbors – you never know who might be looking for a push to start a new workout regimen. Come up with a fun team name or coordinate race day attire to keep morale high.

Simplify your fundraising efforts by involving your friends. Fundraising as a group is an easy way to meet your fundraising goal. Even if you’re not running with a team, you can still turn your fundraising into a group effort. Ask people in your network to help you coordinate a fundraising event and invite their networks to attend as well. The more people you have helping you, the more money you will be able to raise, and the more fun you’ll have in the process.

Personalize your race day experience by asking friends to volunteer. Ask your friends to volunteer for a couple of hours on race day. OAR often relies on volunteers to help run the Charity Village tent and ensure that the runners are fed, hydrated, and well taken care of. By lending their time, volunteers can be a part of your success on race day and help ensure a positive experience for the entire RUN FOR AUTISM team.

Bring in the community! Utilize the local media to help expand your network even more. Creating a press release is a simple way to spread the word about your fundraising efforts to those who may share a passion for your cause!



Where is Your Money Going? Your success as a runner and fundraiser helps fund OAR’s research and programming for the autism community. The money you raise helps OAR improve the day-to-day lives of those affected by autism.

Raise Money 16% 84%

Administrative and Fundraising Support OAR’s Autism Research and Information Programs

84% of every dollar raised goes directly to OAR’s autism research and information programs including pilot studies, graduate research and our annual research conference.

Fund Research and Resources OAR funded research extends across the autism spectrum from toddlers to adults and ranges in areas including academic instruction, community inclusion, joint attention, integrated employment, and college experience. OAR also aims to connect families, caregivers, educators, and individuals with autism to the resources necessary to help answer the questions they confront daily.

Change Lives OAR funds vital research and provides practical resources that literally impact the day-to-day life of those affected by autism for the better! “This is not about me: this is about every child that fights autism every day.They have to struggle each day to communicate, make friends, and just simply be a kid. Their struggle is one that I will never know or fully comprehend and it is so much harder than me just running a marathon.” –Steve Reggio, Autism Dad “On the day I made the decision to run to raise money for the Organization for Autism Research, it was so much more than a decision to “just run”… I WILL be running for OAR again. I WILL continue to do my part to raise money for Autism research. And I will NEVER have to say or feel helpless when it comes to the progress and success that my son makes.THAT is what empowerment feels like.” –Mary Beiler, RUN FOR AUTISM participant and Autism Mom FUNDRAISING GUIDE


Frequently Asked Questions Q. A donor gave me a check. What should I do? A.

Checks should be made out to OAR and the memo line should include your name and the race you are running. Checks can be sent to you or directly to the OAR office at: Organization for Autism Research 2000 North 14th St, Suite 710 Arlington,VA 22201 Please ensure that the donor’s name and address is included so OAR can send a thank you letter that also serves as a receipt for tax purposes (Refer to Appendix 5 for a Donor Form).

Q. A donor gave me cash. What should I do? A.

If someone gives you cash, please write a personal check for the same amount and send it to OAR. Please ensure that the donor’s name and address is included so OAR can send a thank you letter that also serves as a receipt for tax purposes (Refer to Appendix 5 for a Donor Form).

Q. I mailed several offline donations to OAR. Can the OAR staff update the offline donations on my FirstGiving page? A.

Please update your own page before sending your checks to OAR; once your check arrives to the OAR office, a RUN Coordinator will confirm the status of your check online. Team members can add offline donations to their page by following the steps below. (Refer for Appendix 4 to track your offline donations). • Select the “Sign In” link from the top right of • Use your email address and password to log in. • Select the “Your Fundraising” tab. • If you have multiple FirstGiving events, select the campaign page to which you would like to add your offline donation. • Click the “Enter Offline Donations” link next to the piggy bank icon, and enter your donor’s information and gift amount. • Select “Continue” at the bottom of the page.



Q. I forgot my password to log into my FirstGiving page. Help! A.

Don’t fret! You can contact the FirstGiving staff at or 877-365-2949.

Q. How can I get a FirstGiving widget for my blog, website, etc.? A.

To access the widget section on FirstGiving, sign into your account with your email and password. On the “Your Fundraising” tab, click “Edit” next to the page you want to get the widget for. Under the “Share Your Page” heading, click “Grab A Widget.”



Appendix 1 Sample Fundraising Page





Appendix 2 Sample Letter or Email

Dear_____________, I am running with the RUN FOR AUTISM on [insert event date] in [insert race name]. Aside from training over the next six months I have decided to turn my early morning workouts and long runs into something really meaningful. I am contacting you to help me raise money for autism research. When I signed up for the RUN FOR AUTISM, I learned that 1 in 4 people in the United States know someone with autism. It is estimated that at least 1.7 million individuals in the U.S. are grappling with this complex and baffling disorder. The signs of autism become apparent by the time a child is three years old. This lifelong developmental disorder affects the way people interact with their environment. I was surprised to learn that individuals with autism may never be able to speak, marry, hold a job or live on their own. Autism is a lifelong challenge for the individuals diagnosed, and a life-changing challenge for their family. While there is no known cause and a cure is not yet on the horizon, research provides hope and the promise of a better quality of life for those affected by autism. I am dedicating this run to [insert a particular individual’s name and story here if you have one] and autism research. I am asking for your support. All proceeds will go to the Organization for Autism Research, a national non-profit organization that funds research and offers resources for individuals diagnosed with autism and their families. Please consider sponsoring me in the RUN FOR AUTISM. Every donation makes a difference. To find out more about the Organization for Autism Research, please visit the Web site Thank you in advance for your support,



Dear_____________, I am eager to share with you a huge personal challenge I’ve recently committed to. I am currently training to run my first marathon. That’s right, the whole 26.2 miles! On [insert race date], I will run the [insert race name] in [insert race city] with the RUN FOR AUTISM, a charity running team for the Organization for Autism Research. Running a marathon has been a goal of mine for some time now and this organization has given me the opportunity to achieve this goal for a reason bigger than myself. I am running the marathon for a couple of reasons. First, I run in honor of [insert an individual’s name or story if you have one]. The second reason is for my own personal growth. I’ve been blessed with good health and participated in sports for most of my life. RUN FOR AUTISM gives me the opportunity to overcome my own obstacles as well as honor and support those whose daily lives are impacted by autism. As you may or may not know, 1 in 88 children are born with autism, which directly affects the way a person interacts with people and their environment. Autism is a lifelong challenge for the individuals diagnosed, and a life-changing challenge for their families. While the cause is unknown and a cure is not yet on the horizon, research provides hope and the promise of a better quality of life for those affected by autism. All proceeds will go to the Organization for Autism Research, a national non-profit organization that funds research and resources for individuals diagnosed with autism and their families. My goal (besides making it through 26.2 miles in one piece) is to raise [your personal fundraising goal] by [insert date]. While running the marathon this [race month], I know that each mile will symbolize another step on the road a better quality of life for those affected by autism, and with your help, I will raise the money needed to fund essential research and invaluable resources. Every donation, no matter how big, makes a difference. Donations can be sent by check to the address below or pledged with a credit card at [insert your FirstGiving website]. I truly appreciate your willingness to help, and again, thank you for your generosity.



Appendix 3 Social Media Messaging Templates SAMPLE FACEBOOK MESSAGING: • I’m running the [insert race name] with the Organization for Autism Research in honor of/in memory of/in support of [insert name]. Will you help me reach my personal fundraising goal of [insert fundraising goal] by donating to my cause? [Insert link to your FirstGiving fundraising page] • Join me in Organization for Autism Research’s mission to fund research and resources for individuals diagnosed with autism and their families. I’m running the [insert race name] for OAR. Check out how you can join the team. • This weekend I am racing [insert miles] in honor of/in memory of/in support of [insert name]. Will you donate [insert race distance in dollar amount] to support the Organization for Autism Research? [Insert link to your FirstGiving fundraising page] • 1 in 88 children are born with autism. I’m running in the [insert race name] for the Organization for Autism Research. Donate now and help the many children and families facing the challenges of autism. [Insert link to your FirstGiving fundraising page] SAMPLE TWITTER MESSAGING: • I’m running the [insert race name] in support of @RUN_FOR_AUTISM. Check out how you can help: [Insert link to your FirstGiving fundraising page] • 1 in 88 children are born with autism. Join @RUN_FOR_AUTISM and help support those children and families. • I’m training for [insert race name] so @RUN_FOR_AUTISM can help those facing autism. Help now and donate! [Insert link to your FirstGiving fundraising page] • Make each mile matter. Join @RUN_FOR_AUTISM and help children and their families facing autism. • Just ran [insert miles] miles training for the [insert race name] with the @RUN_FOR_AUTISM Team! Help me make my miles meaningful! [Insert link to your FirstGiving fundraising page]

If you’re struggling with the 140 character limit for Twitter, go to to shorten your links! 26

Still having trouble staying under 140? Check out to publish longer tweets with an extension hyperlink! RUN FOR AUTISM

Appendix 4 Record your donations Name






Use this form when you receive cash or check donations. Write a check for any cash donations that you receive. Please do not send cash in the mail. Checks should be made out to OAR and sent directly to the OAR office at 2000 North 14th Street Suite 710 Arlington,Virginia 22201. Please record these donations onto your fundraising web page by adding them as “Offline Donations�. FUNDRAISING GUIDE


Appendix 5 Donation form Runner’s Name: _ _______________________________________________________________ Runner’s Event: _________________________________________________________________ Thank you for supporting the RUN FOR AUTISM.The Organization for Autism Research (OAR) is a national nonprofit organization committed to applying research to the challenges of autism and excellence in its services to families, educators, caregivers, and individuals with autism. OAR funds practical research that will make a difference for the generation living with autism. No other organization has this singular focus. Contributions are tax-deductible. Donor Information: Name:________________________________________________________________________ Address:_ _______________________________ Suite/Apt.No.____________________________ City: ___________________________________ State:______________ Zip Code:_ ___________ Home Phone:_____________________________ Work Phone:_ ___________________________ Email Address:__________________________________________________________________ Amount of Your Contribution:

q $500

q $250

q $100

q $50

q Other__________

q Check or money order made payable to OAR for $________________ q Credit Card_____________________________________________ Card #: _________________________________ Expiration Date:__________________________ Card Type: _ _____________________________ Signature: _ _____________________________

Please send this form along with your donation to:

Organization for Autism Research Attn: RUN FOR AUTISM 2000 N. 14th Street, Suite 710 Arlington,VA 22201

OAR is a nonprofit organization established in accordance with section 501(c)(3) of the IRS Code and is incorporated in the Commonwealth of Virginia (EIN#54-2062167). As provided for under the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia, copies of OAR’s financial statements are available upon request from the State Division of Consumer Affairs in the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services in Richmond,VA. 28


ORGANIZATION FOR AUTISM RESEARCH 2000 North 14th Street, Suite 710, Arlington,Virginia, 22201 | Toll Free Number: 1.866.366.9710

Fundraising Guide  
Fundraising Guide  

Fundraising can be fun and easy! In addition to a personal fundraising Web page, this tool will help you maximize your fundraising potential...