Fundraising Tips

Here are some great tips to help you to fundraise for Parkinson SuperWalk.

We've built a Walker Toolkit which is designed to provide you everything you need to help in your fundraising, including posters, images to use on social media, and answers to frequently asked questions. For Team Captain's, our Team Captain's Guide is designed to help you recruit, motivate, and encourage fundraising among team members.

Looking for instructions on how to work with your Participant Centre, register for the event, or send emails from our system? We've got video instructions.

When reviewing those videos, you'll note that things look a little different this year. We've made a strategic choice to move to a new, industry leading, web provider to help make our campaign a success this year. Read more about some of the benefits of that transition here. For those who experienced difficulties with our previous system, and are looking for a way to explain our focus on outstanding service to any affected donors, read a statement that we developed to help. Note that this link will download a Microsoft Word document to your system.

Getting Started

  • Register online and collect donations online. This is the easiest and most cost effective way to raise funds. In addition, when your donors enter their information the tax receipt is immediately processed and sent to their email address, saving time and money!
  • Set a fundraising goal that works for you.
  • Sponsor yourself first to get the ball rolling. When your friends and family see your donation and commitment, they will be more willing and may match or surpass your donation amount.

Asking for Donations

  • Approach local businesses in your area to see if they will sponsor you. And don’t be shy about asking people you hire for services throughout the year, such as your dentist, dog walker or lawn care company. Check out more Fundraising ideas, below.
  • Never underestimate the power of “word-of-mouth” (the opportunity for each person to share with all of their contacts the important fundraising being done). Once you get one person interested and excited about contributing to Parkinson SuperWalk, who knows who they might inspire to donate as well!
  • There are many ways to ask for donations. You can send a letter, make a phone call, send an email, send a text message, post on Facebook, twitter and other social networking sites. When sending an email or posting online, make sure to include the website link to your personal profile page and use the handy templates in the Participant Centre.
  • Don’t forget to follow up! If someone hasn’t sponsored you, send them a reminder email. People are busy and they may have missed your first request.
  • Always remember to thank your sponsor!
  • Regularly send e-mails to people who contributed to and supported your fundraising efforts to let them know how much money you raised. It keeps everyone engaged in your experience and may encourage them to do more! After the walk is over, let them know how much they helped raise all across Canada. They’ll be proud to make a difference.
  • Ask those from whom you expect to receive birthday or holiday gifts to instead contribute money, or half of your gift money, to SuperWalk. It’s a win-win situation the gift giver doesn’t have to go shopping and you receive a contribution to your cause!
  • Many companies have matching gifts program in which they will match a donation given by an employee, retired employee or even volunteers. Check with your company’s human resource department and ask your parents/friends/relatives if their employer has a matching gift program as well. Then, work with employers to check the eligibility and application requirements. It’s an easy way to double your impact.

Keeping Track

  • If your fundraising includes both 'online' pledges fulfilled through this website and 'offline' pledges in the form of cash and cheques, be sure to bring a pledge form accounting for all 'offline' donations with you on walk day, and that your cash and cheque total submitted matches the total pledges.
  • Consider writing one cheque for the cumulative total of all cash donations - this will save time at check-in, and helps to ensure accountability and accuracy of the banking process
  • Better yet, consider pre-banking cash and cheque pledges. Contact or 800-565-3000 ext. 3374 to schedule a time to submit your pledge form in advance, or mail us any cheque pledges with an accompanying pledge form to the walk (Attn: Kim Murdoch, Parkinson Society CNO, 321-4211 Yonge St., Toronto, ON, M2P 2A9)

  • Event Fundraising Ideas

    • Ask a local center (senior center, community center, YMCA, etc.) if you can post flyers, include information in their newsletters, and/or make a presentation about SuperWalk and the importance of fundraising for Parkinson’s disease.
    • Make a list of all the people who provide you services throughout the year such as your dentist, doctor, dog walker, insurance broker or hair stylist. Invite each of them to sponsor you or ask if they will put a Parkinson SuperWalk pledge form or poster in their reception or waiting room.
    • Use upcoming parties or family reunions as venues for discussing your fundraising activities face-to-face. Bring informational materials and donation forms to the party/reunion to begin collecting donations during the party or to share so that fellow party-goers can make donations from home. Of course, don’t forget to ask the party host/hostess for permission before asking guests for donations.
    • Visit, call, send a letter to or e-mail the local Chamber of Commerce to request contacts for local civic groups (such as Rotary Clubs, Lion’s Clubs, Kiwanis Clubs, cultural affairs groups, etc.). When contacting them, be sure to describe SuperWalk and your fundraising goals. Once you’ve obtained the information, contact the club president (or, better yet, a friend who is a member) to request an opportunity to make a presentation before the group about the SuperWalk, Parkinson’s, and/or to distribute a mailing/e-mail to members.
    • You probably know people who sell things on eBay®. Or you may want to do some of your own spring cleaning by trying it yourself. Find 5 to 7 items people my need and send an email taking bids for 48 hours the highest bid wins your treasure!
    • Everyone loves casual Fridays. Why not turn other days into dress down days for a price a donation to SuperWalk!
    • Inviting your pals over for a get-together can be a fun-filled way to raise funds. Get creative and host a low-cost, fun and participatory event. Ideas include game nights, costume or theme parties, pot luck dinners, knitting parties, tea parties, etc.
    • Local events can be a great way to engage the entire community in raising money for your cause. Choosing the right event depends on your community, but you can include a bake sale, car wash, wine tasting, spaghetti dinner, pancake breakfast, rummage sale, sports tournament, block party, etc. And of course, proceeds from the event can go directly to SuperWalk!
    • Cook Off - Works great in an office setting! Ask several proud 'chefs' to prepare their famous chili, beef stew, apple crumble, or even chocolate chip cookies. Then have others pay $1, $2, or a donation for the opportunity to taste each recipe and select a winner! Be sure to have a small trophy or award prepared for the winner...then new chefs will know who to challenge the following year!
    • Movie Night - tired of paying over the top prices at theatres? Then host your own movie night with proceeds going to PSC. Invite a group of friends/family over to enjoy a new release you've rented or a classic favourite. Pop some popcorn, buy some bulk candy and provide several choices of beverages. Charge people $5 (far less than half the price of theatre viewing). Sit back, relax, and press play!
    • Pet Sitting - A great idea for little SuperWalkers. Pet sit your friends', family members' and neighbours' dogs, cats, hamster, goldfish, etc. while they are out for the day or away for the weekend.
    • Casino Night - Invite your friends and family over to play some of your favourite casino games, with all proceeds going to SuperWalk. Playing Poker, blackjack, craps or roulette guarantees fun filled night.
    • Used Book/CD/Movie Sale: gather up and sell all those old books, cds and movies that clutter up your home and collect dust.


    Share your great fundraising tip with others. Post it on our facebook page, our twitter feed or send an email to

    Tips and Stories from SuperStar Walkers

    Sharon Lowe

    My "little" brother Quentin has Parkinson's.  He is only 42 years old, but I have seen his struggles with the condition and also the hope of new treatments, as his Deep Brain Stimulation surgery last year has really helped him manage his Parkinson’s.

    I always start by sponsoring myself for $100.00 to show that not only do I fundraise but I also donate.  I believe this is very important as a way of setting the bar. 
    I’m motivated to raise funds, and am therefore pretty active in my fundraising. I post my participation on Facebook and regularly update how close I am to my goal.  Moreover, I make a point of talking about my support of the Parkinson Society year round so that people know I am passionate and expect the request for a donation when it arrives.

    I’ve also used events in my fundraising: Last year I hosted an even "poolside pedicures for Parkinson's" and invited about 40 people. Those who could not make it were happy to buy a ticket anyway.  The advantage was that I got donations from people that had not supported me in the past. The downside is that I only charge $30.00, so if someone would normally give me $50.00 it turns out to be less.  This year I had people ask me to host the event again!  People are inundated with charity requests, so I like to give them something for their money.

    This year I had a garage sale and posted that all proceeds were being donated.  When giving change some people told me to keep it and donate it to the cause.
    I am working on a neighbourhood garden tour where we will sell tickets. 

    As far as traditional fundraising goes: I send an email to everyone in my address book.  Last year I took pictures and so this year I include the pictures from last year along with what we did to reach our goals.  I tell people the story of my brother and tell them my goal.  I do this in early spring before all the other fundraising events begin.   I ask again mid-summer and one last request goes out one week before.  I also ask those who work at companies that match donation to ask their companies to match.  Most importantly I thank people right after they donate!  I think being grateful for whatever they are able to give is important. 

    Unfortunately I work in a job where I cannot ask my clients, so my requests only go out to friends and family who do not participate in the walk.   

    I get a lot of support from friends as they have supported me while I supported my brother. I only hear positive feedback as they know this is very important to me.  I encourage the family to walk, and they see me as the cheerleader.  A few years ago I walked with a group of friends, which was so lovely. I talk about it and am really clear that is my crusade and people respond positively to that. 

    I am passionate about the walk and have lots of fun being creative figuring out how to fundraise.  I like hosting events and am always thinking up ways to engage people in Parkinson's awareness, so it is not just about a cheque or donation.

    Melissa Castronovo

    Six years ago my dad was diagnosed with Parkinson's and like anyone would be, I was terrified. I was lost in a wave of different emotions. Fear, uncertainty, anger, denial...I didn't know what it meant for his future, how it would change our lives, and how we would face this obstacle together to overcome it. I needed to find a way to redirect my feelings and use them constructively. That's when I came across Parkinson SuperWalk, and thought: what better way to spend my efforts? Instead of sitting around being angry with the news, I decided to sign up for SuperWalk and start raising money in hopes that one day there will be a cure of everyone living with Parkinson’s.

    For the last five years, I have been raising money with an event called "Posing 4 Parkinsons: Midnight Yoga Blitz". With the help of lululemon athletica Promenade and YogaTree, the event has raised $10,000 over the years. It is a 3 hour event, broken up into 3 separate yoga hours each with a different instructor leading the group. The event takes place at the Promenade Mall just outside lululemon. The amount of support has been incredible from friends, family, and the community. It's great to see everyone come together for a great cause.

    I can't thank my friends and family enough for all of their support over the years and for encouraging me to host the event year after year. I am an event coordinator by day, so they are always impressed that I can take what I am great at, and create an event for something that is important to me.

    Set goals for yourself and share your goals with everyone you meet! If you have a goal to raise $500 or $5,000...share that goal with friends, family, coworkers and even strangers. You never know who you will meet that will want to help you achieve your goal. 

    Have fun with it and get creative! Have a bake sale, pajama Friday at the office, sell homemade jam, host a volleyball tournament! Take what you love to do...(I love yoga and planning events)...and find a way to have it help you reach your goal!

    Penny McDowell

    I participate in Parkinson SuperWalk because it is a major Nationwide fundraising campaign and I can see where my fundraising efforts go, including monies directed to research into finding the causes and particularly a cure for Parkinson’s.

    As far as the event goes, it’s a fun day where those participating share a common goal to not only raise money but also generate community awareness of Parkinson’s and, it’s a day particularly close to my heart as I have Parkinson’s myself.

    I believe with my help, we can make a better life and a brighter future for Canadians living with Parkinson’s today a world without Parkinson’s tomorrow.

    Each year, at least a month before the event, I send a personal Email note to family & friends requesting that they sponsor me. I try to make this as easy as possible, and include a direct link to my page on the Parkinson SuperWalk website with some simple info on how to make a donation.

    I find online fundraising to be easy, and unintimidating. I always request pledges from those that have contributed the previous year, any new people I can think of and even those that may have lapsed and not sent a pledge (probably because they forgot). If I see an individual hasn’t contributed for more than 2 years  I take the hint and don’t ask again. Also, I make sure I contribute to any of my donors that may request, throughout the year, pledges from me for the charities they support. 

    Most of my friends and family are very positive about my fundraising and are happy to help someone they know personally with Parkinson’s. It may help too that I’ve been the Secretary of our North Simcoe Parkinson’s Support Group for several years and have built connections in the community that way.  Also, I only make a request to them for any Parkinson’s donations once a they know they’re not going to be solicited for Parkinson’s donations (from me) at any other time. 

    My takeaway message is simple: don’t be shy in asking for SuperWalk pledges from family & friends. With the internet in particular it’s easy, and a normal and accepted part of society’s charitable fundraising process. People generally want to help - especially someone who’s near & dear to them.