By: Chelsea Layton, living with CMT1A

If you want to make a difference in Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease research but fundraising feels overwhelming to you, have no fear! Getting started in fundraising is easier than you think. Fundraising isn’t about holding elaborate events, especially as a patient activist. The smallest events and simplest ideas can make a big impact. There is no one right way to fundraise, but here are some tips and ideas to kick-start your personal fundraising.


Set a Goal

It’s important to start with a fundraising goal to focus your efforts. First, determine how much money you would like to raise. Then, consider how long your fundraiser will last — is it just a week, or would you feel more comfortable doing multiple, smaller fundraising efforts throughout the year to reach your goal? Not only will having a clear goal for how much you want to raise and by when help you stay focused; donors are more likely to give to a cause that is clearly defined.


Be Creative

Fundraising can be as unique as your interests and reasons for getting involved. Here are seven ideas to spark your creativity.

  1. Host a birthday or holiday fundraiser: In lieu of purchasing gifts, ask your friends and family to make a donation to your personal fundraiser instead.
  2. Host a virtual garage sale: Selling gently used items that you no longer need or want and donating the proceeds toward your fundraising effort is a great way to raise extra dollars. You can even pool items that family and friends are willing to donate to increase your inventory!
  3. Get active: Set a goal to walk, run, bike or hike a certain number of miles. Ask your network to make a certain donation if you hit your goal or donate a specific dollar amount for every mile/hour/lap you complete.
  4. Use your skills: Good at the guitar? Teach lessons for donations. Enjoy walking dogs on the weekend? Donate profits from your efforts. Are you a painter or crafter? Create and sell some of your work for the cause!
  5. Restaurant fundraising: There are many restaurants that support individual and local fundraising efforts. Contact local restaurants and ask if they would be willing to donate a portion of their proceeds from a certain day to your fundraising efforts, then encourage everyone you know to order!
  6. Double your impact with a match: Ask a family member, friend or a company you are close with if they would be willing to match the donations you raise, up to a certain amount. Donation matching is a great way to double your fundraising efforts and impact!
  7. Hold a book swap: If you know any avid readers, organize a book swap where participants donate an “entry fee” to be added to your list. Participants on the list will send one of their personal books to another participant, and in return, will receive a book from someone else on the list. This is a great way to share books instead of them collecting dust on your shelves and support your cause.


Ask everyone you know. Then, ask again.

The number one reason people don’t give is because they were never asked. Send an email to your friends, family and coworkers sharing with them why you are fundraising and ask them to support you. No gift is too small. Don’t forget to share your personal reasons for fundraising. Send reminders before your fundraising deadline, and share your efforts on your social media channels as well.


Start a Personal Fundraiser to End CMT

Ready to start a personal fundraiser to help find treatments and cures for CMT? Get started here. If you have questions, want to brainstorm ideas or need help getting started, email community manager and CMT patient Gary Donaldson at [email protected].