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Building a 2020 Pelotonia Fundraising Letter

Building a 2020 Pelotonia Fundraising Letter

The most successful Pelotonia fundraisers have one thing in common: they ask as many people for support as possible, in very personal ways. We know that it may feel challenging right now to navigate fundraising and share a compelling message with your donors during the COVID-19 crisis, so we want to help make that easier!

Even during these challenging times, there are still members of the community who are willing and able to give and are looking for ways to offer support. We’ve seen incredible examples of generosity over these past few months, such as through our #GivingTuesdayNow campaign and through a variety of community members’ personal fundraisers. The key to asking for support is clearly stating how a donor’s generosity will be used to make a difference in people’s lives. 

We all know that the need for cancer research is as urgent today as ever before, so we’ve compiled some resources as you get ready to start crafting a fundraising letter or email for your friends and family.  We are proud to have many tangible examples about how Pelotonia dollars are being used. Below are some building blocks to help you get started:

Addressing the Fundraising Request during COVID-19

  • If you can manage it during this time, please consider supporting me today by making a donation to support my fundraising goal.
  • I understand that this is a financially difficult time for many and truly appreciate any amount that is given toward my Pelotonia fundraising goal for this year. There are many other ways you can still support me, without giving a monetary donation at this time. Please reach out if you want to follow along on my journey or share about Pelotonia in some way. 

Where the Money Goes

  • Pelotonia Institute for Immuno-Oncology (PIIO) – In July 2019, Pelotonia announced the creation of the PIIO at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute. The institute launched with an initial $102,265,000 pledge from the Pelotonia community and will focus exclusively on harnessing the body’s immune system to fight cancer, which is widely considered to be the next frontier in cancer treatment. There have already been 6 senior faculty and 4 junior faculty members recruited. And, a recent study led by PIIO researchers has been published in a high impact publication.
    • “Immunotherapy provides exciting and expanding arsenals for fighting cancer. It refuels the immune system so that it actually can find and destroy the sneaky cancer cells wherever they hide.” – Dr. Zihai Li, Director of the Pelotonia Institute for Immuno-Oncology 
  • COVID-19 Research Fund – In collaboration with OSUCCC-James & the broader Ohio State University research enterprise, Pelotonia is creating a research fund, with an initial pledge of $1 million, to investigate the impact of COVID-19 on the cancer community.
  • Pelotonia Fellows – The Pelotonia Fellowship Program encourages promising students to pursue research with faculty mentors. Meet some of the Pelotonia undergraduate Fellows here. Here is a breakdown of the size of each Pelotonia award and what you can help fund: 
    • Undergraduate: $12,000 annual stipend / one year 
    • Graduate: $30,000 annual stipend / two years. Award also cover benefits and tuition/fees are waived, so value of award is approximately $50,000 annually
    • Post-Doctoral: $48,000 annually / two years. Including benefits, value of award is minimum of $64,000 annually
  • Idea Grants – Idea Grants provide seed money to teams of faculty researchers who are collecting data in order to apply for larger external grants. Learn about some of the Pelotonia-funded Idea Grants and their impact in the series of videos here.
  • Junior and Senior Scientists – Pelotonia funds help to attract and retain the best talent in cancer research. 
  • Statewide Initiatives – Pelotonia funds help to support crucial studies and trials among a network of more than 50 hospitals across the state of Ohio.
    • Ohio Colorectal Cancer Prevention Initiative (OCCPI)
      • This is a statewide initiative to screen newly diagnosed colorectal cancer patients and their biological relatives for Lynch syndrome, a cancer-causing condition that occurs when a person inherits a mutation in one of four genes.
      • Read about Jay McDaniel and how this impacted his family. 
    • Ohio Prevention & Treatment of Endometrial Cancer (OPTEC)
      • This is a statewide initiative to help identify women with endometrial cancer who may be at risk for other types of cancers due to their genetic makeup, and to help match women with endometrial cancer to the best treatment options for their particular cancer.
    • Beating Lung Cancer – in Ohio (BLC-IO)
      • This statewide initiative has two aims: to evaluate the impact of advanced gene testing and expert advice on lung cancer treatment and subsequent patient survival; and to improve smoking cessation rates among smokers with lung cancer and their family members.

Why Someone Should Donate to Pelotonia Right Now

  • “While our work is seeming all things COVID-19, cancer growth  and metastases have not shut down and cancer care is more challenging than ever.“ – Dr. Peter Shields 
  • Pelotonia is proud to say 100% of funds raised go toward cancer research. This is a time when many are stretched thin, which means it’s more important than ever that every dollar goes toward the cause you’re donating to.
  • “As the world is currently engrossed in the COVID-19 pandemic, it is easy to put other scientific priorities on hold, however, continuing to fund these projects, especially those related to cancer research, is vitally important. During this pandemic, individuals are still being diagnosed with cancer. This disease does not stop simply due to the pandemic; therefore, patients still require those fundamental studies, clinical trials, and ground-breaking research to continue in order to better treat and cure those battling this disease.” – Zechariah Thompson, Graduate Pelotonia Fellow

Important Resources 

  • It’s easier than ever to contribute to Pelotonia through a Donor-Advised Fund. Check out our widget on the Donation FAQ page to learn more.
  • Many employers match the charitable contributions of their employees. This is a great way to supplement the money you are giving to a participant or Peloton. To begin this process, you will first need to determine if your employer accepts matching gifts. Click here to learn if your company matches gifts. 

If those ideas don’t spark some inspiration, we’ve also put together a sample fundraising letter for you to download and personalize. 

Sample Fundraising Letter – Download

If you have additional questions or suggestions, please reach out to

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