Surprise Donations

Joan and her daughter, Amanda share a special Chicago 3-Day moment

Joan and her daughter, Amanda share a special Chicago 3-Day moment

Many people go into fundraising thinking they know who won’t donate, who will, and how much they will give. But there’s a common experience among 3-Day walkers – the surprise donation! Joan DeFilippo, 3-Day coach and 10-year 3-Day walker and crew member, has been on the lucky receiving end of an unexpected surprise. Here’s what she had to say about it:

  • Even experienced fundraisers can face hesitation. “Every year when I write my letter, I take a momentary pause before hitting the ‘send’ button. But I tell myself, ‘If I don’t ask, I won’t get.’”
  • This year, I did something new. I simply put a picture of my 3-Day walking shoes on Facebook, with a caption that asked people to ‘step up and donate.’ Easy enough. What happened next is something I have heard about, but never experienced as a fundraiser.”
  • “Within a few minutes of posting, someone I have met just a handful of times reached out and made an offer: Get your donors to step up in the next seven days, and I will match their donations up to $2000. Once I picked myself up off the floor, I knew this was an offer I could not refuse. I got busy!”
  •  “I posted the challenge on Facebook and within minutes, friends and family began donating. Children donated a dollar. Fellow walkers threw in $5 and $10. A long lost high school acquaintance even gave me $250, which his company will match!”
  • “The biggest shock was the donation from a boy I dated at 15 years old! Our ‘relationship’ lasted a total of two weeks and we have not seen each other since, but thanks to Facebook we reconnected. He pledged to donate whatever it took to reach the magic $2000 number. In the end, he and his wife donated $150.”
  • People who tell you, “You never know who will donate,” were right. The bottom line is this. Ask everyone!

What was the best surprise donation you ever got? Let us know in the comments below.

4 thoughts on “Surprise Donations

  1. When I was closing in on meeting the min of $2300.00 I received a donation from someone – I didn’t recognize the name. It was the EXACT amount I needed + $.02. After the donation I was at $2300.02. When I tried to send a thank you email it went back to me so I freaked out and thought I accidentally made a donation to myself or set myself up on reoccurring payments. I had been helping fellow team members out so anything was possible. After googling the name, trying to find the person on Facebook, and finally realizing I could see the name on the credit card a few hours later I found out the donation was from my husband. He didn’t want me to know it was from him. He said he knew I was stressed about getting to goal so I could help my fellow team members who were struggling once I met my goal <3I It was so incredibly thoughtful! He loved that I was freaking out so much about finding who the person was to thank them!

  2. Cori, your husband reminds me of mine! They support us 100 +2%! Thanks for sharing this great surprise donation.

  3. A few years ago I sent out a fundraising letter to everyone in my contact list. I expected several of the emails to bounce because as time goes on people change their emails, they become full, etc. I always love getting that email, “A donation was made on your behalf!”. This time was no different, except for when I opened my email and found the name of an old boyfriend from sumer camp. We were camp counselors together. He was from England and I from the U.S.A. It just wasn’t meant to be. He has since married a lovely lady from France where they live with their 3 children. Although we remained friends, I was not expecting a donation from across the seas!

  4. Courtney, this is a great example of the 3-Day coaches advice, “Ask everyone!” Thank you for sharing your story.

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