How I Used Tumblr to Raise an Additional $1,000

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Bill Alfano

How I Used Tumblr to Raise an Additional $1,000

Guest blog by Marty Middelmann

(as originally posted on the "Marty Rides The Pan-Mass Challenge" blog)

In 2015, I finally hit Heavy Hitter status again after hitting it for the first time back in 2011 when my step-father, Rod Johnson, died of cancer.

I raised $8,100 in 2015, a jump of almost $2,600 from 2014. As many of you may or may not know, there is no single strategy for fund raising. Rather, there are a constellation of smaller strategies that work together to achieve ones fund raising goal. My primary method is to send out waves of PMC note cards, which I follow up with weekly emails. This year, I added reposting emails on tumblr to the process.

The Note Cards

I run my note cards through a printer. On them is a basic message, a call to action, and how to donate.  I also include a “fund raising thermometer” which shows my progress. The thank you notes I send out include an updated thermometer. On each note card I’ll hand write a personalized note and signature.

This was my 7th PMC and I have a detailed history of my donors. Included in that history is what time of the year they donate. So if a donor typically donates in June, they will receive a note card at the end of May or beginning of June. Then, and only then, they will begin to receive weekly emails.

The Weekly Emails

As I just mentioned, I only send emails out to donors who have received my note cards. Over the years I have learned that sometimes less is more when it comes to asking for donations. It is really important to be patient. Also, in 2015 I made more of an effort to “tell a story” with each email I sent out. Having a story as part of your “request for donation” emails makes the email more engaging. 

Sometimes that story is simply a “training update”. Other times I’ll write about my team’s Pedal Partner. I’ve also written about friends who are currently fighting cancer.

I also made it a point this year to include an image in every email. The simple truth is, people like to look at pictures. If somebody notices that your email contains a photo, they are more likely to open it and read it, especially if that picture complements the story you are telling.

Tumblr - Extending the Reach of My Weekly Emails

I have a tumblr blog. What is tumblr? It is yet another social media/micro blogging site. I started it to learn more about tumblr and to see how I could use it. Well, tumblr in an of itself isn’t all that useful. However, in 2015, I tried an experiment using tumblr that met with immediate success.

Remember those weekly email I was talking about? Well, this year, almost on a whim, I posted a copy of my first weekly email in a tumblr post and shared that across social media (Twitter, FaceBook). As a direct result I received a $250 donation from a past donor who had not donated since 2009 and that I had dropped my my mailing list . If a donor hasn’t donated in 2 or 3 years, I stop pestering them.

Awesome! So I kept up the pattern of reposting my emails to tumblr. In the end I raised a total of$912 from 11 donors who I did not send note cards or email to. Some of them were past donor, some were first time donors.

That $912 was just one part of the constellation of smaller strategies/tactics that helped me achieve Heavy Hitter status in 2015 :-)

Do You Want to See My “Email Posts”?

I have “tagged” those tumblr posts with the hashtag #PMC2015Email and you can view them here:

Marty Middelmann

  • 7 year rider
  • 2 time Heavy Hitter (2011, 2015)