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How to ask for donations from friends and family

Asking friends and family members to help you support the causes close to your heart is one of the most effective things you can do to make an impact for charities like St. Jude

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Patient Liliana sits in a red wagon in the halls of St. Jude.

St. Jude patient Liliana


Tips on how to ask for a donation from friends and family

If you're fundraising for a cause you're passionate about, you'll likely find yourself asking for donations from friends and family. Without a well-planned approach for how to ask for monetary donations, you may feel awkward or uncomfortable. But you can meet your goals and create significant positive change when you reach out strategically.

Patient Ava is held by her mom outside the St. Jude campus.

St. Jude patient Ava with her mom


Be specific about what you’re asking for 

The best approach is to be direct. Keep your requests clear, consistent and specific about what you're fundraising for, why you're fundraising, how your campaign works and what your fundraising goals are.

If possible, provide examples of the impact a donation can have. For instance, a $350 donation to St. Jude can be used to cover treatments like platelet count tests to monitor patient health during treatment.*

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Create a sense of purpose and urgency 

A donation request written with purpose, urgency and direction will help prompt donors to act quickly. Avoid pushy or aggressive language that may make someone feel pressured or burdened to donate. You’ll want your friends and family to feel good about helping you reach your goal.

A purpose-driven donation request could be something like: Your generous donation to St. Jude supports the development of lifesaving research and treatment for pediatric cancer and other life-threatening diseases. By donating today, you can join us in making a lasting impact for children around the world.

St. Jude patient Brayden walks down a hallway of St. Jude holding hands with his mom and dad.

St. Jude patient Brayden with his mom and dad

Patient Alanna sits in a hospital setting wearing a mask and a bright dress.

St. Jude patient Alanna


Be strategic in your requests

A personalized request will go farther than a generic one. As you work through how to encourage donations, consider creating multiple messages or even customizing messages per person to appeal to different personalities and circumstances. It can help to ask yourself why a certain person (or group) would care about your cause and what you can say to help persuade them.

Storytelling is a powerful way to get your message across. Many charities, including St. Jude, share impactful stories about the people they work to help — is there a story you'd like to share? Or do you have a personal connection to the cause to talk about?

Read St. Jude Stories


Be creative 

Get creative, and find a way to stand out. What can you do to make your campaign more interesting or engaging? Some options: add images or videos to your donation request, or create a challenge to inspire competitive friends and family.

See 50 Fundraising Ideas

St. Jude patient Lizbeth sits at a table and paints.

St. Jude patient Lizbeth

St. Jude patient Rinoa sits in an alcove reading a book.

St. Jude patient Rinoa


Don’t overcomplicate the “how” 

If you want someone to donate to your fundraising campaign, make sure it's easy for them! Provide a clear call to action, along with a link and any other important information donors may need to know to make a seamless transaction. A complicated or overly long request runs the risk of being confusing and potentially discouraging donations altogether.

A friendly and direct call to action could be: “Join me in supporting St. Jude today.


Be gracious 

Remember to thank friends and family for their donations — and their attention. Although it can be disappointing, try not to take rejections personally. Worst case scenario, you’ve brought further awareness to your cause, which may lead to additional donations and support down the road. Best case scenario, you’ve raised more money for a cause you feel passionate about.

Patient Luna hugs her dad from behind as he sits on a tricycle on a playground.

St. Jude patient Luna with her dad


Why should I fundraise for St. Jude

Unlike other hospitals, the majority of funding for St. Jude comes from generous donors. Thanks to our donors and fundraisers, families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food — so they can focus on helping their child live.

When St. Jude opened in 1962, childhood cancer was largely considered incurable. Since then, St. Jude has helped push the overall survival rate from 20% to more than 80%, and we won't stop until no child dies from cancer.

St. Jude provides customized care for some of the world's sickest children. We won't stop until no child — anywhere — dies from cancer.


The impact of your donation on St. Jude patients and families

Every child deserves a chance to live their best life and celebrate every moment. Together, we can save more lives. See the impact your donation can make:

  1. $350 could help provide 30 platelet count tests*

    Donate $350

    Patient Adalyn sits on her mom's lap and touches her hands in a hospital room.

    St. Jude patient Adalyn and her mom

  2. $500 could help cover the cost of 25 sets of IV tubing for chemotherapy*

    Donate $500

    Patient's Ava playing with a stethoscope in a colorful hospital room with her mom.

    St. Jude patient Ava with her mom

  3. $750 could help cover the cost of a spinal tap*

    Donate $750

    Patient Lucas sits in a colorful hospital room wearing a mask and a serious expression.

    St. Jude patient Lucas

  4. $1,000 could help cover the cost of three chest X-rays*

    Donate $1,000

    Patient Janelle holds her dad's hand as she guides him into a hospital room.

    St. Jude patient Janelle with her dad

  5. $2,500 could help cover the cost of two days of outpatient visits*

    Donate $2,500

    Patient Mila is wheeled through the hospital in a stroller by her mom.

    St. Jude patient Mila and her mom

  6. $5,000 could help provide three days of chemotherapy administered intravenously to leukemia or solid tumor patients*

    Donate $5,000

    Patient Alanna sits on her mom's lap in a hospital setting.

    St. Jude patient Alanna with her mom


* When you make a donation using this information, your donation will be used to provide breakthrough research, treatment and cures. Items listed here are representative of services and supplies that are part of the treatment and care of children at St. Jude. The cost of each item or service is an approximation, and will vary based on actual costs incurred and individual patient needs. Your donation will be used for the general operating needs of St. Jude, where no family ever receives a bill for treatment, travel, housing or food..


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