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You are not only fundraising, you are also spreading awareness about Covenant House Toronto and the issues of at-risk, homeless and trafficked youth.

• Almost 80 percent of homeless youth reported leaving home because of family conflict.

• Childhood trauma and abuse were reported by 63 percent of homeless youth.

• About 43 percent of homeless youth have reported attempting suicide.

• About 69 percent of homeless youth reported having been victims of a crime, and most of those were violent.

• In Toronto, over 38% of homeless girls reported being victims of sexual assault.

• About 30 percent of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ+.

• Homeless young women are among the most vulnerable to sex trafficking, but girls of all backgrounds and circumstances are exploited. They have been as young as 13, and on average they are 17.

• Ontario is a major hub of human trafficking with 65 percent of police-reported cases in Canada. The majority involving domestic sex trafficking.


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Step 1: Personalize your fundraising page and donate to yourself!

When you registered, an fundraising page was automatically created for you. Right now that page is pretty generic, so your first step is to customize it so that it reflects who you are. Add a photo and write a personalized note explaining why you are sleeping out.

Donating to yourself is the easiest way to show your commitment to the cause; or you can make the donation ‘anonymous’ and set a high bar for other donors to anchor to.

Step 2: Divide contacts into groups and customize your messages.

Cast a wide net, but segment your groups and customize the message for each. For example:

Group 1: The circle of people closest to you in the world or past donors if you are a return sleeper

Group 2: Friends, family, and colleagues whom you see often and share common values

Group 3: Everyone else on your contact list with whom you can share the Sleep Out

Step 3: Ask each group directly for what you want.

Making your “asks” is the most time consuming part, so we recommend starting with your group 1 - you can practice on them since they are your most captive audience and they’ll give you some lead off gifts. Ask for a specific amount. If you are approaching past donors, remind them of what they gave in the past and ask them to increase it. Then move to group 2 (after some donations have come in from group 1) and use the best material that got a response from group 1, and lastly group 3 (your messaging may need to be more creative in order to grab their attention).

When and how do I appropriately thank people for their gifts to my page?

Always thank people for their gift and for their investment in homeless young people. Many people choose to thank their donors immediately and others wait until after the Sleep Out to reflect on the experience and share a story about a kid that made an impact on them. The timing and level of creativity for each thank you is up to you.

What if someone ignores my requests for support?

Ask again! If someone doesn’t respond the first time, it doesn’t mean they are not interested in your pitch. Life moves quickly and sometimes a couple of reminder emails as the event approaches (“hey buddy, the Sleep Out is in a few days”) is all it takes.


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Personalize your ask: We’ve uploaded sample fundraising emails in the participant centre, but one size does not fit all. You know your friends, family and colleagues best and can customize your message and asks.

Tell a Story: Make the cause real. On any given night in Canada, there may be 7,000 homeless youth. Share one of their stories. We have uploaded youth stories and links to a video on the email centre that you can share with potential donors or just read yourself to become more familiar with our kids.

Every Dollar Makes an Impact: Sleep Out is a high ROI event. 91% of every dollar raised goes directly to helping homeless kids. When you are asking for donations, ask for specific amounts that demonstrate how the funds make a difference. You’ll also see your fundraising thermometer climb when you ask for higher amounts.

• Housing – Crisis and Transitional Housing – $200 Gives a Kid Food and Shelter for One Week

• Health Care – On-Site Fully Staffed Clinic - $500 Provides for 5 Visits To Our Clinic

• Education – On-Site High School - $65 will provide a youth with a day of educational counselling

• Employment Support and Job Training –$100 gives the chance for 3 kids to attend a life skills and job preparation workshop.


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Fact Attack! Use Stats to Raise Funds

Tying statistics to your fundraising goals can be a powerful tool.

• 43% of homeless youth have reported attempting suicide. Most are fleeing abuse or neglect. Give $250 and provide for 3 visits to Covenant House's on-site health care clinic where they can see a nurse, doctor or psychiatrist.

• About 40% of homeless youth were under 16 when they first left and may never have known a stable home. Give $500 and provide 6 youth with nutritious meals for an entire week.

• 38% of homeless girls reported being victims of sexual assault. Give $1000 and provide 5 kids with a week's worth of food, clean clothes and a warm, safe bed.

Reach Your Goal: Use Deadline-Driven Approaches

Goal-oriented messages work. They’re also a great way to follow up with people who haven’t responded to your earlier requests.

Need a Little Help from My Friends

With help from my generous friends, I've collected (insert amount raised) so far for homeless kids, but I still need to raise (insert amount remaining) to reach my goal. I need 5 people to donate (insert dollar amount) today to provide a safe space for kids. Will you help me? (insert personal campaign URL)

Halfway There!

This week, I made it halfway to my fundraising goal of (insert fundraising goal)! I am so thankful to all of you who have helped me get this far, and am so excited about what we’re doing for homeless kids. I still have (insert amount remaining) to raise before May 25th when I’ll head out for my night on the street with nothing but a sleeping bag and a piece of cardboard - please help me get there! (insert personal campaign URL)

Raising the Bar

I met my (insert fundraising goal) fundraising goal this week, and I couldn’t have done it without my friends and family. You all have amazed me with your generosity, love, and support, and I am so grateful. I feel like celebrating, but you know I can’t stop now. I’m upping my fundraising goal – if I can raise another $1000, I can ensure that all homeless kids in Covenant House’s crisis shelter have food for another day. Please help me do more. (insert personal campaign URL)

Use Your Email Signature

Include a link to your fundraising page in your email signature to let people know you are participating.

Corporate Matches

Find out if your or a donor’s company has a matching gift program. Many times employers will match the amount of the gift, thus doubling the donation!


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Extend your reach by using social media to ask for donations or share about your experience.

The “Get Social” section in the participant centre makes it easy to set automatic posts to Facebook or share your fundraising page on multiple platforms. Also see the participant centre for Instagram-ready images you can share

Facebook – Consider adding facts & stats about youth homelessness in your post with a link to your personal fundraising page. Thank donors and tag them along with a link to your fundraising page, it will help reach a broader network.

Twitter – Use the hashtag #WomenSleepOutTO.

Instagram – Use the hashtag #WomenSleepOutTO. Share photos or a video asking people to support you.

LinkedIn - You can share why you are participating, stats about youth homelessness, and your fundraising efforts...include the link to your fundraising page.


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Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. Here is an infographic you can use:

Fundraising Letters

There are sample fundraising letters saved in the Participant Centre if you would like to deploy a message through the fundraising software. Some sleepers prefer to send requests directly to their contacts via traditional email. Here are two sample fundraising letters you can customize:

Option #1:
Message Subject: I need your support
Dear (insert name)
On May 25th, armed with nothing more than a sleeping bag and a piece of cardboard, I will sleep outside so that homeless youth don't have to. For one night I can give up the comforts of home knowing my actions can help bring warmth and brightness to the young people who need it most.
Sleep Out: Women Unite is a unique experiential event that will be taking place on the streets of Toronto. I will be one of the many women doing whatever it takes to fight youth homelessness.
On any given night in Canada, there may be up to 7000 homeless youth on the street. Many are fleeing abuse and neglect. In Toronto, over 38 per cent of homeless girls reported being victims of sexual assault and 60 per cent of all homeless youth reported being the victim of a violent crime. These kids need our help As Canada’s largest agency serving at-risk, homeless and trafficked youth, Covenant House Toronto changes lives by providing the widest range of services and support as many as 250 youth a day.
More than just a place to stay, they provide 24/7 crisis shelter and transitional housing on-site and in the community, along with comprehensive services including, education, counselling, health care employment assistance, job training and aftercare.
We are hoping to raise $350,000 at Sleep Out: Women Unite and my request of you is simple. Please give generously. Sponsor me today. Your generosity will make a huge difference to the lives of these kids and help ensure they will never have to sleep on the street again.
On behalf of my fellow Sleepers and the kids of Covenant House Toronto we are extremely grateful for your donation.
You can visit my online personal fundraising page at: (inset link to your personal fundraising page)

Option #2:
Message Subject: I’m helping homeless kids. Will you?
Dear (insert name(s)),
On May 25th, armed with nothing more than a sleeping bag and a piece of cardboard, I will sleep outside so that homeless youth won't have to. Will you make a donation to support me and the homeless kids of Covenant House?
I know that sometimes it’s hard to decide which cause or organization to support with your dollars - especially when everyone seems deserving, and there’s only so much to go around. So let me tell you specifically what your money can do for the kids at Covenant House.
• $100 provides three kids with a life skills or job training workshop
• $250 will provide for three visits to the on-site medical clinic
• $500 will provide seven days' worth of nutritious meals for six youth in our emergency shelter.
• $1,000 will give five kids a week off the street including food, a warm bed and clean clothes.
No donation is too small. Any support you can provide would be greatly appreciated.
(insert your name & personal URL)