Fundraising for the Buzzards Bay Swim


The Buzzards Bay Swim is a fun community event that raises funds for a great cause: clean water in Buzzards Bay. In addition to a $25 registration fee, each swimmer raises (or pays) a minimum of $150. (Youth teams raise $200 per every four swimmers.) In the past 25 years, swimmers like you have raised more than a million dollars for clean water in Buzzards Bay! Check out our best fundraising tips below, and contact us if you have questions or need help.

What does the money I raise go toward?

R/V Buzzards Baykeeper monitoring Apponagansett Bay
The Coalition works to protect clean water in
communities around Buzzards Bay.

The Swim is a fundraiser for the Buzzards Bay Coalition, a membership-supported nonprofit organization that protects clean water in communities across the Buzzards Bay region. Every dollar you raise helps support the Coalition's work to improve the health of the Bay ecosystem for all through education, conservation, research, and advocacy.

This year, longtime Swim participant and West Falmouth resident Larry Fish has issued a challenge that can help earn an extra $50,000 from the Fish Family Foundation for our clean water cause. If a total of 360 swimmers register for the Swim, and together they raise $157,000, we’ll unlock these matching grant funds. Swimmers can help us meet this goal by joining the Double Your Donation program inspired by swimmer Benjamin Ostiguy and the 25th anniversary of the Buzzards Bay Swim. View the program details here and join this special swimmer-lead initiative today! 

What's the best way to get started with fundraising?

Fundraising is simple if you approach it with enthusiasm and a positive outlook. The best way to get started is to set up your personal page in your Participant Center. On your personal page, you can share photos, videos, and your story about why you’re swimming for clean water in Buzzards Bay. Your friends and family will be happy to donate to your Swim when you tell them why it's important to you.

From the Participant Center, you can also send emails to friends, family members, and coworkers asking to support your Swim. To make it easy, we’ve included sample emails — all you have to do is personalize them and hit send!

Have friends and family who don't want to donate online? That's not a problem! Just print out this fundraising form and give it to people who'd rather donate by cash or check. They can mail the form with a check or drop it off with cash at our office in New Bedford. (Just make sure they put your name on the check so we know who it's for!)

When people donate to your Swim, make sure you thank them! Saying "thank you" will make your supporters feel good, which means they’ll be more willing to donate again next year! The Participant Center automatically sends a thank-you email when people give online. However, it’s always a good idea to personally thank each donor by sending them an email, calling them, or giving them a shout-out on social media.

What fundraising prizes can I win?

There’s another great reason to fundraise for the Swim: prizes! All swimmers who raise more than $500, $1000, $2500, and $5000 will receive milestone prizes:

  • The $500 level earns your choice of a Buzzards Bay SWIM insulated lunch bag, BBC neoprene wine tote, or pair of Sow & Pigs pint glasses
  • Swimmers raising over $1,000 can choose between an oversized 25th SWIM beach towel, SWIM soft shell vest or hoodie, and (21+ only) an 8-pack of the new "Pounder" Sow & Pigs cans from Buzzards Bay Brewing in a BBC tote. 
  • The $2,500 level earns you framed print of our original 2018 t-shirt art designed and signed by New Bedford artist Hannah Haines and your choice of prizes at the $1000 and $500 levels. 

Additionally, the top individual swimmers, first-time swimmer, and team will receive special fundraising prizes recognizing their achievement. Check back soon for this year's fundraising prizes!

How can I raise $1,000?

Although the fundraising minimum is $150, we suggest that all swimmers set a fundraising goal of $1,000. It might sound daunting to raise that much money, but trust us — you can do it as long as you have a plan! This handy-dandy handout is your step-by-step guide to raise $1,000 in just 10 days.

How to raise $1,000 in 10 days

What are your best fundraising tips?

We’ve learned so many great fundraising ideas from our event participants over the years. Here are some of our favorite tips that have worked for hundreds of people just like you. (For even more ideas, download this list!)

"Three months, 97 emails, and 26 generous donors later, Bob had exceed his $1,000 goal by the day of the Swim, raising $1,080 and taking home a prize for Top First-Time Fundraiser."

Bob Milne of Arlington, two-time swimmer

Read more swimmer testimonials

Tip #1: Email — And Then Email Again

Whether you use your personal email account or your Participant Center, make sure to email your friends, family, and coworkers asking them to support your Swim. Make your message personal by sharing why you’re swimming and what Buzzards Bay means to you.

Don’t be afraid to send more than one email. People are busy and don’t always have a chance to respond to your first appeal, so a reminder is often helpful!

Tip #2: Write It Down (On Paper)

Stand out from the crowd by sending a handwritten note or letter. Some of your loved ones might appreciate the “snail mail,” particularly older relatives who aren’t as comfortable with email. Make sure to include a Swim donation form and a stamped, addressed envelope to make it easy for people to give. You could even include a photo of you near the water to show why you’re swimming.

Tip #3: Get Social

Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are great places to share your Swim experience with your friends. Post a photo of you next to the water (with a link to your Participant Center page, of course!) to show others that you’re training hard for your Swim. Make sure to include the hashtag #savebuzzardsbay to connect with other swimmers and add your voice to the clean water cause.

Tip #4: Work the Neighborhood

You support neighborhood businesses that you love — now see if your favorite coffee shops, restaurants, and other local businesses will support your Swim! Many local businesses are happy to help a good cause by posting flyers, placing a donation can at the register, or even donating a portion of a day’s sales to help you fundraise.

Tip #5: Throw a Party

Put the “fun” in fundraising by throwing a party to support your Swim. Host an event that you can invite your friends (and their friends) to. It’s an opportunity for you to connect with people on a personal level and share your story in a lively environment. To raise money during your party, you can sell tickets, ask each person for a donation, or have a raffle with prizes that people donate. Your favorite local business might even be willing to host your event to support a good cause.

Tip #6: Get Creative

There are literally hundreds of ways you can fundraise for your Swim. Use your own creativity to come up with fundraising ideas that work for you! Here are a few more ideas — all tested by event participants like you:

  • Host a bake sale or lemonade stand
  • Have a garage sale
  • Consign old clothes you no longer wear
  • Host a $5 dress-down day at work
  • Lend a service — dog walking, tutoring, photography, or anything else you’re good at — in exchange for donations
  • Start an office fundraising challenge to stir up some healthy competition among colleagues

Thank you to our sponsors!

The Buzzards Bay Swim is a Waterkeeper Alliance SPLASH Series event, presented nationally by Toyota.