How To Get Started

As we prepare for this year’s Autism & Special Needs Walkathon… We know that we can depend on so many of you that have “Opened Your Hearts To Autism” - in the past… rallying your friends and family to support your efforts to raise awareness as well as some much needed funds. We also know that your greatest barrier, as always, is TIME. Thats why, below, we’ve created for you… a guide on the best way to get started - and, the best approaches for guaranteed success.

Step 1 - Set up your fundraiser

Set up your Fundraiser. To set up your fundraiser all you have to do is click the START A TEAM link, and personalize your photo. The fundraiser will be populated with content from The Answer Inc. Feel free to add your own description to the details. Have fun with it! Communicate why you are "Opening Your Heart To Autism" and why you want your friends and family to support you.

Step 2 - Spread the Word

After you have started or joined a team and/or launched your own fundraiser, it's time to spread the word! Here are some easy and effective ways to get the word out about your fundraiser:

  1. Email your friends and family. While you can definitely send one mass email to all of your contacts, it's often more effecive to send a personal email to each person. We suggest writing a short invitation that you can copy and paste, and then personalize the start of the email to make the personal connection. People respond so much better to personal invitations.

  2. Share your fundrasier on social media. Use all your social media accounts to share the link to your fundraiser. Be sure to make a short invitation about why this matters to you. If you have kids, include them in the story! If you are sharing on instagram, get creative with a fun photo and invitation! Be sure to use the hashtag #openyourhearttoautism when sharing on social media.

  3. Send texts and make phone calls. Phone calls are the hardest, but also can be the most effective. Sending individual texts is also a very personal way to invite your friends to donate to your fundraiser as well. When texting, we do suggest making sure not to send group texts, everyone hates those! :)

Step 3 - Say thank you

When you receive donations, be sure to write a quick "Thank you" note. It does not need to be long, but a simple note of thanks is such a powerful way to acknowledge a donor's generosity. We have set up the fundraising software to notify you of new donations so that you can easily say thanks when new ones come in (You will not receive notifications from donors that wish to remain anonmymous).

Sample email

Hi ______, 

I hope you are well! Exciting news! I've "Opened My Heart To Autism." This means that in 2018 I've decided to "Be A Part of The Answer" and I am raising money to help enhance the lives of families impacted by Autism and Developmental Disorders. These funds go to sponsor children and young adults, to "Special Camps for Special Citizens" a Horseback riding camp in Winfield, IL --- as well as to fund our full calendar of programming for the rest of 2018. Would you help me raise these much needed funds by "Opening Your Heart To Autism" with me? 

#beapartoftheanswer and #openyourhearttoautism! 

You can donate here: [enter your fundraiser url here]

Sample Social Media Post

I'm raising money with @theanswerinc the Autism Awareness & Support Agency! Would you donate to help me reach my goal of $1000? Together, we can #openourhearttoautism and #beapartoftheanswer [link goes here]

buzz McBride