These are very tough days for all of us, and we face many challenges ahead. But Covenant House has existed as a beacon of hope for more than 40 years because of our incredible community: thousands of quiet heroes, with families and bills and busy lives and joys and sorrows, who decide that young people should not be homeless and alone.
Fundraising is an immediate, powerful way to ensure that our youth continue to receive the care they deserve, but we know it might feel uncomfortable right now. This toolkit will arm you with facts and stories to share, and serve as a guide for how to proceed. Our team of fundraising coaches is also available to help you however we can.
Sleep Out Fundraising Coaches:
(212) 727-4990 | [email protected]
Adding a photo and personal note to your fundraising page is always important, because it lets people know immediately that they're in the right place. Now more than ever, though, it is important to explain why you joined Sleep Out America, what that means, and how they can help.
If you’re a team captain, click the “Team Page” icon from the top menu and follow the same steps to customize your team’s page.
Start with a few basic categories and fill in a list for each. For example: immediate family, cousins, childhood friends, college friends, current and former colleagues, neighbors, etc. Include people whom you see less regularly, like a LinkedIn connection, but still may want to hear from you.
Consider the following questions when making your list: would this person open an email from me? Would I want to hear from them about something they’re passionate about? Is this a cause that they could connect with? Has this person been especially affected by coronavirus? (e.g. have they or their family fallen ill, are they facing any uncertainty with their job?)
Try to identify between 20-50 people. Now may not be the right time to ask some people to support your Sleep Out, and that's ok. By reviewing your list carefully and sorting it into categories, you can feel more confident about sending a message that each group will find meaningful. Remember, many people are looking for ways to give back during this difficult time.
Finding the right words to talk about your Sleep Out can be tough, especially now. Use the pre-written messages below as a starting point and allow yourself time to add a personal note.
Once you're ready, use email, text, and social media to share your message. Always include your personal URL. Email is usually the most effective (we recommend sending at least 2 as most people need a reminder). Your page is mobile-responsive so when you text your page link in a group chat or to people directly, they can donate directly on their phones.
Social media can allow you to reach a larger audience. Your participant toolkit (available when you log-in) contains images that you can share. Connect a Facebook Fundraiser to your Sleep Out when you register (or through your Participant Dashboard after you register) and automatically send a notification to all your friends. On Instagram, add your personal URL to your bio. Always use the hashtag #chsleepout to be part of the national conversation.
Donation Appeal - Short
Donation Appeal - Long
Donation Appeal - Returning Participants
Donation Appeal - Reminder
Thank You Note
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
Your Impact Now
How to Write a Personal Note
It might not seem like a privilege to self-quarantine or work from home, especially after a couple of weeks, but not everyone has that option. For one night, I am joining Sleep Out America and giving up my bed to stand (well, sleep) in solidarity with young people experiencing homelessness. As part of my Sleep Out, I am raising funds for Covenant House, where more than 2,100 young people are being sheltered each night during these scary and trying times. Covenant House is committed to keeping their doors open 24/7 to protect the most vulnerable youth, and I'm committed to helping them. If you can, please consider supporting me with a donation of any amount today. These young people need us now more than ever, and every dollar makes a difference. INSERT PERSONAL URL
Young people experiencing homelessness are the most vulnerable among us, not only to something like coronavirus, but to so many other illnesses, both physical and mental, that come directly from the trauma of living on the streets. Covenant House provides them with the life-saving care that they so urgently need, and their doors remain open 24/7 for every young person seeking help.
I have joined Sleep Out America and will be giving up the comfort of my bed for one night in solidarity with these youth and to raise awareness about the challenges that they are facing, now more than ever.
Our support is their lifeline. If you can, please consider making a donation of any size in honor of the incredibly resilient young people at Covenant House. The beds are full, and your gift will be put to work immediately to help establish quarantine zones, provide clean linens and three nutrious meals a day for the increased number of youth, and arm front-line staff with critical cleaning and medical supplies.
Here is the link to my Sleep Out page: INSERT PERSONAL URL
Thank you so much.
Now is the time of year when I write to you all about my Sleep Out to support youth overcoming homelessness at Covenant House. But this year, Covenant House is bracing for the effects of COVID-19 and the Sleep Out has taken on a whole new meaning.
Now more than ever, housing is healthcare. That's why I am still giving up my bed for a night in solidarity with the 2,000+ young people sleeping at Covenant House each night. These young people faced incredible challenges before the pandemic and now are among its most vulnerable victims. Covenant House remains open 24/7 and has established quarantine spaces for youth exhibiting symptoms, created a new intake process with help from the CDC, doubled down on cleaning, moved beds to be a minimum of six feet apart, established an emergency staffing protocol, and adapted to be able to provide more meals than ever before to the young people —more than 80% of whom have lost their jobs — who are sheltering in place.
I know that these are trying times for all of us. The uncertainty and anxiety that we all feel is something that youth who have experienced homelessness are all too familiar with. If you're able, please consider making a donation of any size to my Sleep Out. Your gift will be put to work immediately to ensure these youth stay safe and healthy during this crisis and after.
Here is the link to my Sleep Out page: INSERT PERSONAL URL
In X DAYS, I am giving up my bed for a night so that young people facing homelessness can sleep safely at Covenant House.
I’m trying to raise $X AMOUNT REMAINING before my Sleep Out. These funds are critically important now more than ever, as Covenant House continues to shelter and protect young people facing homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic.
I know that this is a difficult time for everyone, and so much is out of our control. But it has also been a time of people coming together — however they can — to offer comfort and support. If you're able, please consider making a donation to my Sleep Out page. Your support will be an incredible comfort to the young people and staff at Covenant House. No matter the amount, the value of it to these kids who have so little is enormous. Because it’s more than what the money provides — it’s a symbol that you care. INSERT PERSONAL URL
Thank you so much for your donation in support of my Sleep Out. In this time of uncertainty and anxiety, your gift means that much more — to me, and to the youth and staff at Covenant House.
Covenant House will continue to be open 24/7 for young people facing homelessness. Your gift helps their staff protect and care for every kid who walks through the doors, to keep them healthy, and to meet the many challenges they face. Thank you.
I hope that you stay healthy and safe as well, and know how grateful I am for your support.
As you talk to your community about Sleep Out and Covenant House, some people may want to know more about how life has changed for young people in our care. Here are a few key things to share:
If you're not sure how to start your personal note, try asking or answering the following questions:
Every day brings new developments, new challenges, and new stories. Here are a few ways to stay up to date on how youth at Covenant House are affected by COVID-19: