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About Sleep Out America

How does Sleep Out America work?

Sleep Out America is a do-it-yourself event, which means you choose where, when, and how you Sleep Out. This flexible fundraising program allows you to have an impact on youth experiencing homelessness in just three steps:

Step 1: Register and start your Sleep Out experience with a $25 required donation, which helps keep the lights on and doors open at Covenant House sites across the country.

Step 2: Raise funds for Covenant House using the tools we provide. Once you're registered, you'll gain access to a personal fundraising page and a variety of resources to help you spread the word to friends and family. For every dollar you raise, you’ll help Covenant House meet each kid at their level and provide the services they need – whether it’s food, medical treatment, counseling, legal aid, job training, or just an opportunity to be a kid without needing to worry about basic necessities and safety. If you live in a state with a Covenant House site, the money you raise will directly benefit your local shelter.

Step 3: Sleep Out, on a date of your choosing in a location convenient for you. Many of our participants Sleep Out in their own backyards and driveways while others Sleep Out in parking lots and on the grounds of businesses, schools, parks, or places of worship (note: you must get permission to Sleep Out on private property). During the COVID-19 pandemic, you should follow CDC guidelines on social distancing. You can Sleep Out from wherever you are sheltering in place, even if it's your kitchen floor, with the people you are quarantining with or on your own.

Because this is a DIY event, you get to decide what your Sleep Out experience looks like. Most participants choose to wear layers and bring a sleeping bag or blanket and a cardboard box to spread out on the ground. We’ll provide you with resources like activity ideas and stories from youth at Covenant House to make your Sleep Out a meaningful experience.

 

Where do I Sleep Out?

Sleep Out America is a Do-It-Yourself event where you choose your own location (somewhere safe and legal!) and plan a Sleep Out of your own design. Many of our participants Sleep Out in their own backyards and driveways while others Sleep Out in parking lots and grounds of businesses, schools, parks, or places of worship (note: you must get permission to Sleep Out on private property and Covenant House does not provide insurance or take on any liability for your Sleep Out).

During the COVID-19 pandemic, you should follow CDC guidelines on social distancing. You can Sleep Out from wherever you are sheltering in place, even if it's your kitchen floor, with the people you are quarantining with or on your own.

Wherever you Sleep Out, you can have a meaningful experience using the resources in your Participant Toolkit.

 

How does sleeping outside help kids facing homelessness?

Every dollar you raise as a participant in Sleep Out America goes directly to Covenant House, an international nonprofit that provides housing and supportive services to youth facing homelessness. So by Sleeping Out, you’re paving the way for a young person in need to sleep in a warm, safe bed. Young people can find themselves homeless for lots of reasons, from financial issues to abusive home lives. Once on the streets, kids are easy targets for violence, human trafficking, and other devastating situations. Covenant House actively reaches out to vulnerable youth and offers them love, respect, and the tools they need to build a stable and happy future.

Someone invited me to join their team. How do I do that?

Welcome to the Sleep Out movement! Search for their name in the Fundraiser Search box at the top of the page. When you get to their page, click the “Join Team” button and complete the registration process to join the event.

You do not have to Sleep Out in the same location as someone to join their team. Virtual Sleep Out teams are encouraged! 

Can I create a Sleep Out America team?

Yes! When you complete the registration form, select the option to “Create a Team.” You’ll be able to choose a team name for your group and, once you finish registering, share the link to your page and invite your friends, family, or coworkers to join. All team members should register and create their own fundraising page.

You do not have to Sleep Out in the same location as someone to join their team. Virtual Sleep Out teams are encouraged! 

How do I recruit friends and family to join me?

Have people in mind? Start an official Sleep Out America team when you register. You will receive a special webpage just for your team (if you’ve already registered, log into your account to change your team membership). You can share the link to your team page and invite people to join or donate to your group directly.

AYou don’t have to Sleep Out in the same place! Sleep Out is an international movement, and a group can be made up of folks from every corner of the country (or the world!). Not sure how to ask? Email, text, tweet, and post your Sleep Out invitations! If you need help finding the right words, you can copy and paste our examples located in your Participant Center.

What should I do while I am Sleeping Out?

Sleep Out America is not about pretending to be homeless. By Sleeping Out, you and your team will show solidarity and support to the ever-growing population of youth facing homelessness in America. And because this is a DIY event, how you spend the night is up to you – though of course we’ve got recommendations for how to structure your Sleep Out and a list of suggested activities to make your experience memorable, meaningful, and fun. All of the materials you need are located in your Participant Center and will be sent to you upon registration.

How can I get more involved with my local Covenant House?

Thank you for wanting to get even more involved in the fight against homelessness! Visit our list of local Covenant House sites to reach out to your local contact.


Fundraising and Web Help

I've never fundraised before. How do I do this?

Fundraising for Sleep Out America is designed to be easy. And by making a small self-donation at the time you register, you’re already on your way! Once you complete registration, you’ll have access to an online fundraising page where friends and family can donate to your Sleep Out. You will also receive a suite of tools ranging from pre-written email and social media donation requests to flyers and posters. Most of our participants fundraise by posting a short note and link to their online fundraising page on Facebook or Twitter (there’s even an option to connect a Facebook fundraiser to your page) and by sending out emails to friends and family.

 

I forgot my username and password to access my Sleep Out America page and Participant Dashboard.

Remember that your username and password are case sensitive. Still not in? Click the “Forgot Password” link under the Log in field and your password will be sent to the email address you have on file.

 

How do I change my email and/or password?

Login to your Participant Dashboard using your current email and password. Hover over your photo and name in the top-right corner of the black menu, and click “Profile.” Scroll down and click the button “Edit Profile.” From here, you will be able to change your contact information, email address, and password. Click “Update Profile” when finished (note that changes may take up to 15 minutes to be reflected).

 

How do I change my personal fundraising goal?

Log in to your Participant Dashboard using your email and password. Once in, click the “Your Page” icon in the black menu at the top of the screen. Scroll down to the thermometer and click the pencil icon on the right (just over the goal). Enter your new goal in the box and click “Update Goal”. This update should happen immediately.

 

How can I see who has donated to me?

Log in to your Participant Dashboard using your email and password. Once in, hover over the “Donations” icon in the black menu at the top of the screen, and click “Donations Received” from the drop-down menu. Scroll down to view your list of donors.


Donor Help

I want to donate to someone's Sleep Out. How do I find their page?

Search for their name in the Fundraiser Search box at the top of the page. When you get to their page, click the orange “Support Me” button to donate to their Sleep Out online.

 

How can I double my Sleep Out donation?

Many companies will match donations made by their employees. Contact the human resources department at your office to ask if your company has a matching gift program. If so, they will likely give you a one-page form to fill out and mail to us. We’ll confirm receipt of your donation, send the form back to your company, and then the company will send Covenant House a check. It’s an easy way to double your impact! Learn more about matching gifts and check to see if your company is one that matches here: https://www.covenanthouse.org/employee-giving

 

How do I get a receipt for my online donation?

After you complete your donation, you will receive an email confirmation with a PDF gift form attached. This email is your official gift receipt, and you may print it and save it for your records. If you did not receive a receipt, please email [email protected] with the name of the participant you supported and we will resend one.

 

How do I donate by mail?

To make a cash or check donation, please print and fill out the Sleep Out America Offline Donation form: You can mail this form along with your check to:

Covenant House
ATTN: Sleep Out America
461 Eighth Avenue
New York, NY 10001

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