NYAAF Bowl-a-Thon 2019 Frequently Asked Questions

It’s our favorite time of year! The NYAAF Bowl-a-Thon is back for 2019! This year we’re offering two time slots in New York City and events in, and Rochester, because abortion access is a necessity across the whole state!

The Bowl-a-Thon allows NYAAF to continue our critical work. As our main annual fundraising event, the Bowl-a-Thon keeps NYAAF’s services available to those who need it most. This year, we’re looking to raise $150,000–and we need your help to get there!

Ready to join in? Sign up for an event in New York City and Rochester and lace up your bowling shoes! Or you can support this great cause by pledging toward an existing team or bowler!  

We’ve put together this list of Frequently Asked Questions, but if there’s anything you don’t see addressed, feel free to email us at  bowlathon@nyaaf.org–and if we can help in any way to get you and your teams set up to be the best and happiest NYAAF bowlers and fundraisers ever, just let us know!

When and where are the Bowl-a-Thons?
Glad you asked!

  • New York City: Bowlmor Lanes on Sunday, April 28th from 11am to 4pm. There are morning time slots (11am – 1pm) and afternoon time slots (1:30pm – 3:30pm), so check with your team captain if you’re not sure about your assigned time.
  • Rochester: L & M Lanes in Rochester on Friday, April 26th from 6:30 pm to 10 pm.


So… what does bowling have to do with abortion access?
Every April, abortion funds across the country that are part of the National Network of Abortion Funds hold Bowl-a-Thons — this year marks NYAAF’s 10th Bowl-a-Thon! These events allow us to have fun connecting with our reproductive justice community while raising funds so we can continue to serve our clients in need. The Bowl-a-Thon is our largest yearly fundraiser and crucial to our ability to fund abortions. Now more than ever it is important that we come together, support each other, and fight to ensure that abortion access remains a reality for all individuals. Bowl; fund abortion; build power. It’s that simple.

I’m sold! How do I sign up?
We have individual event pages for each of our four locations. Please make sure you’re registering for the correct event!

Sign up here for New York City;
here for Rochester.

Once you sign up, you can personalize your individual fundraising page — we encourage punny names and lots of GIFs! You can also start a team, or join one that your friends have already started!  

Is there a fee to sign up?
There is a registration fee ($25 in NYC; $15 in Rochester) that you can pay as a donation to your own fundraising page after signing up online. However, we encourage bowlers to donate more if they are able! As a volunteer-run grassroots organization, NYAAF ensures that donations are maximized to help cover the costs of abortion care for those who reach out to us for assistance. If you haven’t raised enough to cover the cost of your registration by the day of the event, we will ask you to pay the registration fee at event check-in.    

Is there a deadline for registration?
We ask that all teams and individuals register one week before the event!

If you have extra folks you’d like to add the week before the event, please email bowlathon@nyaaf.org. We will do our best to make sure we accommodate everyone who wants to join us!

There are two time slots this year for the NYC event! When are they, and when will NYAAF let bowlers know their designated bowling time?
Teams bowling in NYC assigned to the first time slot will be able to bowl between 11 AM-1 PM and teams assigned to the second time slot will be able to bowl between 1:30PM-3:30 PM. All teams have been notified of the time slot they can bowl. But you can also come and hang out during the entire event, even if it’s not your bowling time! If you or your team has a strong preference about your time slot, please let us know by emailing us at bowlathon@nyaaf.org with your team name and preference, and we will do our best to honor your request!

How do I update/personalize my page?
While logged into the fundraising site, select the “Manage” button on the top left of the screen on your individual fundraising page. Select the “Story” tab. You can edit the text, or add new text images in the page field. For more details, visit the Classy Help page on this topic.

How do I join a team or add people to my team?
On the team’s page, have the person who wants to join select the “Join” button underneath the team’s image on the left hand side. Or select “Become a Fundraiser” on the event home page, then “Join a Team” and search for the team name. The system will walk you through a step-by-step process to set up a new individual fundraising page as part of this team. Please note that even team captains must join their own team after creating the team page.

How do I thank my donors?
Select the “Manage” button on the top left of the screen on your page when you’re logged into the fundraising site. Select the “Donations” tab. You’ll see a list of all donations to your page, and a button that says “Thank” next to each. This allows you to write a comment in response to their donation that will be sent to them, and will show up on your page. All donors who choose to be non-anonymous also get an automated “Thank You” email when their donation is processed. However, we recommend you also thank people personally, via email, social media, letter, or with a big hug!

My friends are on other teams that got a different time slot–will I be able to see them?
We’ve reserved the entire main area at our NYC venue, so registered non-bowlers and those arriving before/after their team’s designated bowling time can feel free to hang out and enjoy good times, snacks, and abortion funding community building throughout the event!

How many people can be on a bowling team?
In NYC, each bowling lane can accommodate 8 people, so we encourage teams to have no more than 8 people per lane who plan to bowl, if they want their score recorded. If you happen to have an extra large team (preferably closer to 12-16 people), we can assign your team two adjacent lanes so you can keep your team spirit extra strong and concentrated!

In Albany, Buffalo, and Rochester each bowling lane holds 4-6 people, but we’ll assign lanes in a way that keeps larger teams together!

What happens if I’m a bad bowler?
That’s okay! We embrace ALL our bowlers, regardless of bowling skill! Neither your fundraising nor your importance in building power through abortion funding is connected to your bowling score. Bring on all the gutter balls you’ve got — we’ll still be cheering you on!

I have someone who wants to donate to me but through cash or a check, instead of online. How do I add this to my fundraising totals?
Checks can be made out to “New York Abortion Access Fund” and sent to:

New York Abortion Access Fund
FDR Station, Box 7569
New York, NY 10150

*A FEW NOTES ON CHECKS: Please do not write checks to “NYAAF”. The bank will unfortunately not accept them. Please write in the memo line “BAT,” along with the name of the bowler to whom the gift should be attributed. When we receive checks from your supporters, we’ll add them to your online fundraising page so they contribute toward your goal.

If you have collected cash donations, please bring them with you to the event and we can collect it and add it to your totals onsite.

I can’t attend the Bowl-a-Thon event, but still want to fundraise for NYAAF! Can I still participate?
YES, PLEASE! We’d love those who want to support NYAAF and its mission to create their own fundraising page, even if you can’t join us in person! Whether you live somewhere without a bowling event, or your dance card is full when your local event is taking place, we welcome people ANYWHERE to bowl with us virtually! Creating a fundraising page through our Bowl-a-Thon website will make it easy for you to ask for donations (think: example language and automated emails you can send to your networks), and for your supporters to donate securely online!

Does my fundraising money go to different places based on which New York Bowl-a-Thon event I attend?
Nope! All funds raised through these four NYAAF Bowl-a-Thon events come to the New York Abortion Access Fund and are used to help our clients throughout the state, as well as clients that NYAAF supports coming from or traveling to other states.

Some of our registered team members can’t make it to the Bowl-a-Thon, or are coming but don’t plan to bowl. Should we let NYAAF know how many of our team members are actually attending and bowling?
Absolutely! Send us an email at bowlathon@nyaaf.org and let us know the names of team members who will not be bowling with you. This will help us better allocate our lanes and make the registration process faster for all our bowlers. We’ll also reach out to team captains to confirm this information closer to the event.

I’m a single bowler without a team! What should I do?
No worries! All you have to do to start is register as an individual and we’ll match you up with other folks to bowl with at the event! We often have teams that notify us they have space for extra individuals, so feel free to email us at bowlathon@nyaaf.org if you’d like to get linked up with them in advance!

Will there be bathroom access for gender non-conforming and trans folks?
There will! At the NYC event, there are two gender-neutral bathrooms available for use.

How is NYAAF addressing any potential threats to security on the Bowl-a-Thon fundraising site?
The National Network of Abortion Funds, who hosts the Classy website we’re using for registration and fundraising, specifically chose this vendor with a mind to creating a supremely secure online fundraising process. All online registrations and transactions will continue to be monitored, even following the event.

Still, if you see or receive any strange or suspicious messages that seem to be related to the Bowl-a-Thon, please email us at bowlathon@nyaaf.org and we’ll look into it as soon as possible.

How is NYAAF addressing any potential threats to security at the event?
We work with venue staff to ensure the safety of our supporters, and we have never had a security issue at a NYAAF event. We will have volunteers trained in safety and de-escalation at each of our Bowl-a-Thons.

My receipt says National Network of Abortion Funds–what’s going on?
NYAAF is a member of the National Network of Abortion Funds, which hosts the Bowl-a-Thon website as a way to support fundraising infrastructure for all member abortion funds. They accept the donations on our behalf and then send us a check; a great benefit for an all-volunteer organization like NYAAF. If you make your donation through the Bowl-a-Thon website, this is why you may see their name and tax ID number.

Please share these FAQs with your teammates, friends, and anyone interested in the Bowl-a-Thon. And as always, reach out to us at bowlathon@nyaaf.org if you have any questions or suggestions for how to make this event an even bigger success!  

Look out for more helpful emails from us, and keep spreading the word about NYAAF and #bowl19!