When it comes to fundraising for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day®, getting started early is the way to go. You may be saying, “But my event isn’t for another 7 (or 8, 9, or 10) months. I have plenty of time!” This is true, but consider:
- That time will fly by. You know it will. It always does.
- Our years of experience have shown that walkers who get their fundraising started early are far more likely to reach their goals. The ones who get started early don’t have to call a 3-Day coach in a panic with three weeks to go until the event and say “help!” (Though we’re there for those people, too. We’ve got your back!)
- You will have other things to do to prepare for the 3-Day as it gets closer (Training! Travel planning! Recruiting teammates!), so why not knock out your fundraising early? It will be SUCH a weight off your shoulders to know that you’ve reached your minimum early and aren’t scrambling for donations at the end amidst everything else you have to do.
- The earlier you get to that $2300 minimum, the more time you have to exceed that amount and bring even more dollars to the cause of ending breast cancer forever.
So how do you get started? Here are a few practical, specific tips to get things rolling:
- List your BFFs – Here’s an exercise for you: Set a timer for 1 minute, and write down the first 15 names that come to your head. Think about the people who are closest to you. Your best friends. Your family. Your biggest supporters. The people who were most excited/amazed/inspired about you registering for the 3-Day in the first place. These are the people who know you the best, love you the greatest, and are most invested in helping you achieve your goals. They’re the ones you’re going to start with.
- Ask – No brainer, right? It is, but you’d be surprised how often this one little step trips people up. Well good thing you have that list from step 1 of amazing people who want to see you succeed. Reach out to each one of them personally. Now is not the time for emails or texts. Make a phone call, plan a chat over coffee or happy hour (your treat, of course!) or write a handwritten note. It’s only February, so you have time to put in that little extra touch of personal effort. Tell them how much doing the 3-Day means to you, and ask them to support you with a donation. Some of you are probably thinking, “I hate to impose on my friends!” and my response is this: they are not going to be mad or offended that you asked them for a donation. On the contrary, they will be honored that you considered them important enough to come to first. Show them the list you made, then let them put a big pink checkmark next to their name. Carry the list with you when you walk. (You just got chills, didn’t you?)
- Share Why NOW is Important – Sometimes, donors will respond to your request by saying they’ll donate “when it’s closer to your walk.” I call these people procras-donators, and you still love and respect them, but you have a great opportunity here to put them straight in their thinking. Tell your donors that the funds that you bring in to the 3-Day go to work right away, helping pay for research grants, local outreach, and programs in our communities immediately. Somewhere, there’s a woman who is seeking support from Susan G. Komen® today, in February. She can’t wait until it’s closer to your walk, so encourage your donors not to wait either. (And if, in the end, they still ask to wait, put a big red circle on your calendar for one month from today, then ask them again. They’ve already said yes and next month, you’ll be “closer.”)
- Break it Down – No, not a dance break, though, if that’ll help you get motivated, I say go for it! I’m talking about breaking down your fundraising goal into smaller, less intimidating amounts. Yes, $2300 is a lot of money to raise. But how does $12 sound? With exactly 192 days between today and Day 1 of the Michigan 3-Day (the first of the 2014 events), all you would have to raise is $12 a day. That’s just one way to break down your goal. You could also break it down by week ($85.19 per week for Michigan), by mile ($38.33 for each of your 60 miles), or make it nice and round ($23 from 100 people). Makes it a heck of a lot less daunting, doesn’t it? You can do the “break it down” trick at any point, but the longer you wait, the higher that “per day” amount gets. So try it now, and watch those $12 donations pour in! (Oh, and any time you want to see how many days or weeks you have left until your event, just log in to your Participant Center on the 3-Day website. You’ll find the countdown right at the top.)
I know that the thought of starting your fundraising can be overwhelming, and so you put it off in the hope of avoiding that scariness just a little longer. When I feel that way, I always remind myself that whatever anxiety I’m feeling about fundraising is nothing—nothing!—compared to the terror of hearing the words, “You have breast cancer.” I don’t ever want to hear those words. I don’t ever want my daughters to hear them. So I’m going to keep raising money for the 3-Day, and keep us moving toward a world without breast cancer.