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! 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.”