One of the most frequently asked questions we receive is, “How can I help?”

The simplest answer is to make a donation. But we’ve learned over the years that supporters are often asking for ideas. They’re looking for methods to get involved on a deeper, more interactive level—to bring people together in a way that spreads positivity, encourages advocacy, and inspires more contributions.

If you’re looking for ideas, consider the suggestions below; they’ll help you to create an event that’s both memorable and impactful. You may also be inspired by Joey Christoff, who recently hosted his fourth “Fishing for a Cure” fundraising event with great success.

1. Choose a Cause Your Heart Believes In

Some people have more than one cause they support (or hope to support). If this sounds familiar, think about why standing up to Fragile X is important to you. What motivated your interest? How does the cause affect you personally? The point is to look into your heart.

Joey Christoff’s son Mitch (below) lives with Fragile X syndrome, which means his entire family lives with Fragile X syndrome. This also means that for Joey, choosing a cause was not something he had to consider for a second.

Fragile X syndrome has given my family a new perspective for the importance of the work by the National Fragile X Foundation. The research, education, treatment, and advocacy efforts funded by the Foundation provide tremendous, and at times the only, resources for families with loved ones affected by Fragile X.

2. Make it Personal

Instead of hosting a traditional fundraiser, Joey makes things personal by hosting an exciting, multi-day event he calls “Fishing for a Cure.”

Joey invites people to his home in Hilton Head, South Carolina for several days of fishing, golf, tennis, swimming, beachcombing, zip lining, biking, and other island activities. Joey loves fishing, so the main event is always a fishing competition.

He also personalizes it for his guests by including his own story in the invitation:

As most of you know, my son Mitchell has a genetic disorder called Fragile X syndrome that causes a variety of symptoms, primarily cognitive deficits and sensory integration issues. My wife and mother-in-law are carriers and at risk for FXTAS (a Parkinson-like tremor). Fragile X is the leading inherited cause of autism, and most, like Mitchell, fall somewhere on that spectrum. Thus, I am devoted to raising awareness and funds to support Mitch and all those living with Fragile X. Hopefully someday there will be a cure.
—JOEY CHRISTOFF, from event invitation

3. Don’t Neglect (But Don’t Sweat) the Details

One of the keys to hosting an enjoyable fundraising event is to plan just enough activities to keep everyone engaged—but not so many that your guests feel micromanaged or rushed.

In the case of Fishing for a Cure, Joey plans the fishing competition, golf outings, and nightly dinner reservations ahead of time. These activities keep everything moving so that it feels like a unique experience rather than an ordinary get-together. However, Joey also builds options into his itinerary, allowing guests to enjoy some of the activities (such as the fishing competition) from the sidelines if they prefer a more low-key outing.

4. Have Fun

By all means, do try to have fun for the sake of enjoying yourself. But also remember that with fundraisers, the ultimate goal is to solicit donations and inspire advocacy—and people will be more likely to join your cause when they have fun and feel hopeful about the future. If your event causes someone to recognize their own ability to make a positive difference (and to take action), you will have accomplished your goal.

Joey Christoff served as a National Fragile X Foundation volunteer board member for six years and has traveled to Capitol Hill as an advocate. Joey is also the father a Natalie, another passionate Fragile X fundraiser and advocate who hasn’t even hit the teen years yet.

In the hot tub with Fragile X bottle label plus more fish caught
Fishing for a Cure group out for food and drinks and 2 fish caught
Out on the boat, more fish caught, and out on the town