The 3-Day Coaches Share Their Favorite Fundraising Ideas

The Susan G. Komen 3-Day® coaches are experienced fundraisers. They are all current or past Komen 3-Day participants themselves, and their combined decades of 3-Day® expertise has left them with a treasure trove of fundraising ideas and strategies. So we thought that the natural way to kick off our 3-Day Fundraising Week would be to ask the coaches for their best and favorite fundraising ideas. Feast your eyes, then give your favorites a try!SGK_3-Day_SocialMedia_FundraisingWeek_%23The3Day_v1 San Diego Coach Staci shared some ideas for increasing the emotional impact of the 3-Day among your donors:

“Incorporate your donors’ reasons for supporting you by asking them to send back the names of the people in their lives who have been touched by breast cancer so that you can walk in their honor or memory, too. Write their names down and carry them with you on the event. This allows your donors to feel more a part of the 3-Day journey and experience and elicits a greater emotional (and hopefully financial) investment on their part. One walker I know writes the honorees’ names on individual pink ribbons and wears the ribbons during her walk. After her event she sends each donor a personal thank you note, along with ‘their’ ribbon(s) and a photo of herself on the event, with the ribbons proudly displayed. I love the way this closes the circle with her donors.

 “Another unique fundraising event I heard of this year was by a participant who hosted a huge ‘pig feed.’ The money raised came from selling tickets and a silent auction, but this walker raised breast cancer awareness in a striking way as well. Every 2 minutes (for an hour during dinner) they rang a bell and an event volunteer randomly delivered a pink ribbon drink coozie to an attendee. At the end of the event they had everyone with a coozie stand up to represent the frequency of breast cancer diagnoses in a powerfully visual way. The impact of this activity prompted some attendees to give additional donations on the spot.”

  Jen, one of our fabulous Philadelphia coaches, suggested the following strategy for getting your community involved with your 3-Day fundraising:

“A team I know chooses one weekend every year in their community when they pick various intersections and collect money at red lights with signs, everyone wearing pink, etc. With a little effort and coordination (and comfortable shoes!), they do very well with this team fundraiser. And honestly, this makes a great cross training activity, too!”

  Many of our younger walkers (high school or college age in particular) frequently look to the coaches for help with fundraising because at that young age, not many of their young friends have money to give. Michigan coach Jennifer has some advice especially for these young walkers:

“Ask for donations from your friends’ parents, since they are more likely to have money to donate. Ask them in person or hand deliver your fundraising letters instead of sending via the mail or email to make it more personal.

 “If you’re still in high school or college, get permission to fundraise through school. You may not get huge donations, but there’s at least a huge pool of potential donors who can each give a little bit. It will add up. Schools are also great places for fundraising gimmicks, such as ‘Change Wars’ between classes (or dorms, or sororities and fraternities), dares (within reason) during lunch hour in exchange for donations, or selling donuts or ice cream during lunch hour. I remember talking to a college student a few years ago who made a fundraising flyer and taped it to the door of everyone in her dorm; she raised close to $750 within one week.”

Coach Stephanie (Twin Cities) had loads of great suggestions, which she regularly shares with walkers whom she talks to on the phone or at local events.

  • “If your birthday comes up before your 3-Day event, ask friends for donations instead of gifts. You can ask for a dollar amount corresponding to your age, or set a loftier goal and see if you can raise the amount of your birth year within one week of your birthday.
  • Ask your company’s HR department if you can host a ‘jeans day’ or ‘dress down day’ for $5.
  • Sell hot dog lunches outside Wal-Mart, Home Depot or your local grocery store. Charge $2 for hot dog, chips and soda. Most people will give a $5, 10 or $20 bill and hopefully tell you to keep the change. Make your lunch display full of pink – balloons, napkins, plates, signage about the 3-Day, breast cancer facts and Komen facts so donors know where the funds are going. Most of the lunch products can be bought in bulk at Sam’s Club or Costco for a small expense.
  • Host dining out nights at local restaurants and receive 10%, 15% or even 20% of that night’s sales.”

Seattle coach Paula has participated in over 20 3-Day events, and she shared the following fabulous fundraising ideas:

“If you’re hosting a fundraising event, incorporate a 50/50 raffle. Get a roll of double tickets (one part goes in the raffle basket, you keep the other part). Set a ticket price that works for you. For Boobapalooza [the fundraising concert Paula holds each year] we sell tickets at 1 for $5/ 3 for $10 / 7 for $20. Periodically announce how big the pot is to build excitement and encourage more ticket purchases. When the raffle closes, have your banker count the collected donations and divide by two. Set aside half of the proceeds as yours – yay! Put the other half in an envelope and draw the winning ticket. One year, the winner re-donated a portion of their winnings back to us. Win, win!

 “Are you crafty? Find or design a simple bracelet that can be made at a reasonable cost, and sell them. I funded my 3-Day entirely with bracelet proceeds one year. I made them for $5 and they sold for $20. People are still wearing them.

 “Have a green thumb? Capitalize on the succulent craze and make some ‘Cancer Sucks-ulents’ to sell or raffle. These little ‘succers’ are easy to propagate, easier to grow, and you can turn cuttings from just a few plants into cute little mini-gardens. Containers can be anything – think dollar and thrift stores buys. Sell them to your friends, at fundraising events, or even display a table of your creations at your garage sale.” Komen_3day_fundraising_coaches tips_succulents

“If life puts a roller coaster in your path, ride it!” : The 3-Day Coaches’ Favorite Moments from 2013, Part 3

For the final post in the Coaches’ Favorite Moments series, we hear from Michigan coach Jennifer Hanskat. Jennifer has been a 3-Day coach for 9 years, and has also participated in the 3-Day 17 times. One of her most cherished 3-Day memories happened just this year in San Diego, where a promise made to a friend finally was fulfilled.

b and hanskat

Bridget and Jennifer on the 2008 San Diego 3-Day

“In 2008 I walked with Bridget [Spence] in San Diego. It was the first and only time that both of us were able to participate as walkers in two events within the same year. I had previously walked in Michigan with my family, Bridget in DC with her family, and then we came together in San Diego for the last event of the year. We walked the entire walk together, and on Saturday afternoon we saw the roller coaster at Belmont Park and talked about how fun it would be to ride the coaster.

“By the time we were at the pit stop next to the coaster it was late in the day, we were tired, hungry and just ready to be done. For a variety of reasons we passed up the coaster and didn’t ride it. The very next day we talked about it and decided, we should have done it. The regret of not riding the coaster came up a few times over the next few years and we came up with our very own slogan: ‘If life puts a roller coaster in your path, ride it!’

“When I registered to walk in San Diego this year, I knew I was going to ride that coaster, to honor the memory of my beautiful friend, Bridget, who passed away earlier this year. I discussed this with my team and many were on board with me. A few weeks before the event, I learned that the route may have changed and that we might pass Belmont Park early in the morning before it was opened. I was disappointed but ultimately thought that if it was meant to be, it would work out.

“As we began Day 2 I realized that yes, we were going to pass by Belmont Park later in the afternoon on the way back to camp. I was walking with several members of my team and I told them that I was riding the coaster. As we neared the pit stop close to Belmont Park, several more members of my team ended up at the same location. It was meant to be!

“In the end, 13 of us rode the coaster…I rode in the front car with my dear friend, Nanette, who was also very close with Bridget. We rode that coaster with our hands in the air the entire time, laughing and celebrating the life of Bridget. I am sure that Bridget was smiling and laughing from heaven as she watched us. It worked out exactly like it was supposed to.”

coaster hands up

Jennifer and her teammates rode the Belmont Park roller coaster on the 2013 San Diego walk, to celebrate Bridget’s life.

coaster coming in

The riders come home!

 

I was honored to be one of the 13 coaster riders that day too, and I can’t help but smile at the correlation between that literal roller coaster ride we took and the symbolic roller coaster ride that so many experience on their 3-Day journey. You approach the coaster with excitement and maybe some trepidation. Maybe you made the choice on your own or maybe your friends talked you into it. You wait, you prepare and finally, you board the train. From there, you take off on a thrilling ride that’s exhilarating and sometimes scary. It’s full of ups and downs, unexpected turns and bumps, and in most cases, lots of smiles and laughter. It’s the same with the 3-Day, and I am thankful every day that I said “Yes” to that ride the first time.

Right There With You: The 3-Day Coaches’ Favorite Moments from 2013, Part 2

In the last 3-Day blog post, some of our coaches shared their favorite moments from 2013. The inspiring interactions and conversations that the coaches have with the Susan G. Komen 3-Day® walkers and crew members are an immensely rewarding part of the job, and part of what makes it so easy for our participants to connect so closely with the coaches is that many of the coaches participate in the 3-Day themselves.

Let’s hear more from the coaches who walked and worked alongside you in 2013.

Seattle coach Aubrey Cushing was a first-time 3-Day crew member in 2013. As part of the Camp Services crew team in San Diego, she had many opportunities to meet and congratulate the walkers she had been in touch with by phone or email all year long. “I adored coming to San Diego and finally putting faces to names of participants I had spoken with over the course of the year. The hugs and high fives were some of the most special ones I’ve received and I cherish the love that was shared with me that weekend. Do something you love and you’ll never work a day in your life. I have been gifted the opportunity to connect with the world’s most impactful people. Who could ask for anything more?”

Paula Hultman, another Seattle coach, walked in San Diego with her husband George. Together, the Hultmans have walked a combined 26 3-Day events (wow!), but the emotional impact of the 3-Day is as strong now as it has ever been for them: “I was moved to tears twice this year, at the outpouring of community support by the people of San Diego. On Day 1, as we climbed the first hill to the picturesque town of Del Mar Village, we were met by several blocks of well-wishers who lined the sidewalks in front of their businesses, offering their thanks, and showering us with words of gratitude and support. It was remarkable. On Day 2, when I was walking with tremendous knee pain, we came across yet another stretch of supporters along the San Diego River. Again, their cheers, signs and thanks brought tears to my eyes, and eased the pain I had to deal with. My husband and I are forever grateful to the community support we have found in our 11 years of walking in San Diego.”

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The Hultmans pause for a picture in San Diego

Val Jones, one of our Dallas/Fort Worth coaches, was part of the 2013 3-Day event staff, working as the on-event crew coordinator for all 14 3-Days this year. “We had so much to do on the Twin Cities 3-Day with the changing of Day 3’s route, due to excessive heat.  What struck me and can occasionally make me tear up thinking about it is the kindness of the crew.  Upon receipt of the news regarding the scaled down Day 3, they immediately went into action doing what needed to be done and being so extremely flexible!  The Camp Hydration Captain, Tom B., stands out most, as he made it his mission to ensure that every walker, crew member, AND staff member was staying hydrated.  Tom didn’t have to go above and beyond, but he did, and for that, I will forever be grateful.”

tom b. and wife

Tom B. and his wife at the Opening Ceremony in Twin Cities

For coach and walker Kim Collings, one of the most moving things she saw was at the very beginning of the San Diego 3-Day.  “I saw a father and daughter walking next to each other just after the Opening Ceremony, with smiles and tears, knowing that his wife, her mother had just passed away on the Tuesday before the 3-Day.” Kim also shared another stirring sight that waited at the end of a particularly grueling hill climb. “Just after finishing the famous Juan Street hill, we walked through that really pretty neighborhood. We came up on a nice house with a little boy in a swing clapping and thanking us for making his mommy better. Then I saw a handwritten sign on cardboard and looked up on the porch to see the woman who had written it sobbing while thanking us for walking. I had to run back and up to her for the best hug ever! If I had any doubts as to why I walk, they all went away with that hug.”

sign

A heartfelt display of thanks

Thank you coaches, for letting us experience the 3-Day through your eyes. Readers, what about you? Post comments about your experiences with the 3-Day coaches!