By Mark Levine
Here we are again, on the precipice of another Great Strides Walk season. Not sure about you but I have already sent out my second email, a gentle reminder, to my entire list to increase the size of my team and boost my donations. It’s an exciting time of the year and a great event to be a part of that fulfills a lot in my life, specifically…
1) BEING PART OF THE SOLUTION: I am an engineer, not a doctor or a scientist, and fundraising gives me the mechanism I need to be part of the process of finding a cure. It helps that the CF Foundation is at the top of their game in regards to efficiency as a not for profit organization and that they have been so successful in supporting the right companies to do CF research. It is easy to put myself behind this event for this very reason.
2) YOU’VE GOT MAIL: I find the excitement of the “donation on your behalf” email almost addicting. The day I send out my first batch of 400 emails to family, old friends and new friends, I inevitably get donations within the hour. The first day there is always a spike but new donations come in almost daily for at least the first week. And of course donations will stream in for weeks… until that reminder is sent which sparks a second wave of donations.
3) GOTTA LOVE THE STATS: As an Excel junkie who loves math, the statistics fascinate and energize me. I find it fun to keep track of my walker / donor information and to annually build on that list. Who gives year after year; how many people increased their donation from last year; what percent of the total list makes a donation; which group (family, high school friends, work friends, neighborhood friends) give the most; etc. Look at it as a game you will always win.
4) STRATEGY AND ATTITUDE: Here are a few tips for a more successful fundraising season.
a. Do not take things personally. Offended that your good friend did not make a donation? Let it go. Think your friend can afford to make a bigger donation? Not your call. Concerned about asking the same people year after year for a donation? Have no fear. Most people are disappointed if you do not ask them and everyone appreciates a good tax deduction.
b. Have a back-up fundraising plan. A few months after Great Strides, I participate in a Cycle for Life bike ride event (I used to participate in a second walk a few weeks after the first). To fundraise for the second event, I send an email to everyone who did not make a donation to my first event, giving them an “in case you missed it” opportunity. Believe it or not, most people are relieved that they get a chance to fulfill the donation request without having to make an “I lost your email” excuse.
c. Leverage social media. Don’t forget to use the Facebook link on your Great Strides home page to share your efforts with your Facebook friends. Every year, I am gratefully surprised that an old high school friend who I have not spoken to in years makes a very substantial donation. It just goes to show you how generous some people are and how much of an impact you have had.
Best of luck in your fundraising efforts and happy striding.