Quick poll: while fundraising for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day®, who among you has written a fundraising letter or email, posted a Facebook ask, or made an in-person request and used some version of the following statement: “Please donate whatever amount you’re comfortable with.”
It’s true that every donation made to the Komen 3-Day—no matter the amount—is important and will make an impact in the fight against breast cancer. But experience has shown us that asking your donors to give a specific amount is a more successful fundraising tactic than the “whatever you’re comfortable with” route. Here’s why:
An Unmistakable Call to Action – People like to be given directions. When you ask for 3-Day® donations in a specific amount, you give your donors a clear instruction to act on, which will make them more likely to donate right away. Putting a deadline on your request is another great way to motivate your donors to give without delay.
Aim High, Land High – For the past several years, I’ve straight-up asked my donors for $100 donations in my initial fundraising emails. I make no apologies for it, and I remind my donors that my job as a 3-Day walker, first and foremost, is to raise as much money as I can for Susan G. Komen®. I make this request knowing full well that many of my donors will not donate that much. But what I’m really doing is setting an expectation. Asking for a large amount says to my donors, “This is important, and your part in it is important.” Sometimes it works and I see those hundred dollar donations hit my account, but even if the donor is not willing or able to give that much, they will still end up giving as much as they can. On the other hand, back when I used to say, “Any amount is okay,” I found that donors would often give far less.
Attention-Grabbing Gimmicks Work – Last year, I sent out a fundraising email two weeks before my 37th birthday, challenging my supporters to help me raise 37 donations of $37 each before my big day. The amount I asked for was very specific, very manageable, and since the birthday angle tied to it was personal to me, it was highly appealing to my friends and family members. The response I got from donors was immediate and generous; I raised over $1300 in less than 2 weeks, based on this tactic alone. If I had thrown out a request that said, “Please make a donation in any amount in honor of my birthday” I can’t imagine the ploy would have been as successful. Click here to find some other fundraising strategies that incorporate specific donation amounts.
Last year, our Insider’s Guide to the 3-Day brought you details about the entire 3-Day experience from the perspective of one grizzled old veteran walker (me), but this year, we thought we’d get a different point of view. So, we asked three women who are participating in the 3-Day for the very first time to share that journey with us. And just like that, the First-Timers’ Guide to the 3-Day was born! So today, it’s our pleasure to introduce you to our three first-timers. You’ll be hearing a lot more from them throughout the next few months, as they tell us about their very first 3-Day adventures, but for now, let’s get to know them a little bit, in their own words…
Crystal – Michigan 3-Day First-Timer
“My name is Crystal Spagnuolo, a 38-year young single Mom to two amazingly beautiful kids. I have a teenage daughter named Jocelyn and a young stud of a son named Mateo. He prefers to be called Teo now, since he is the “man of the house.” I am born and raised in Windsor, ON, a small Canadian town a mere jaunt across the bridge or tunnel from Detroit, MI. My family has been here since 1955 when my grandparents moved here from Lincoln Park, MI. “Most of my free time (yeah, what is that?) is spent taking care of my babies. They are both energetic, outgoing, more athletic than I have ever been, and two of the biggest pains in my butt. Between soccer practice, softball tryouts, all star tournaments, youth group dances and birthday parties, I fully engulf myself in getting to know these rare creatures I am blessed to raise. Life has thrown us a few loops, and after a few very financially trying years we ended up back at my parents’ house to regenerate. It all worked out as my step-dad needed bypass surgery and we got to help out. As we have firmly planted our feet back on the ground, we are looking eagerly at spreading our wings and flying the coop within the next few months. “I work at a cell phone company where I assist people with technical issues when it comes to these devices we’ve become accustomed to living our lives through. I love the challenge of each email or phone call. I love helping people and tutor often on the side to all the friends and family around me who are otherwise technologically challenged. “I’m a fighter, so I’m told, but for the greater good. I wear my heart on my sleeve and always root for the underdog. I had to battle my health for the past seven years and I will honestly tell you I didn’t realize how bad until my hysterectomy this past February. Dealing with cancer scares and pain, agonizing months of stress and anxiety for test results have all made me a well-rounded basket case. I have a tight-knit circle of friends, mainly due to my children’s never-ending social lives, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’ve wanted to give something back and show my kids that hard work pays off. This walk means so very much to me but not for reasons you may think. I’ve been blessed to not have lost or battled this disease but after the marathon I just ran with my health, walking 60 miles in memory and spirit for those who no longer can is an honour that I will cherish forever. “When I mention what I’m doing this summer, most of the people I deal with on a daily basis smile and simply say, “of course you are, you are amazing.” Now not to toot my own horn, but I feel amazing having this opportunity to give back and change my life forever. “I look forward to seeing you all in August, wearing my absolutely favourite colour (Canadian spelling) in the whole world.”
Sheilla – Philadelphia 3-Day First-Timer
“Name: Sheilla Carvalho Age: 34 Hometown: Vineland, New Jersey Current Residence: Williamstown, New Jersey, where I live with my adorable and amazing 9 year old furry child, Sketch. Occupation: School Counselor Hobbies: yoga, shopping, spending time with family/friends/Sketch, going to the beach, reading, traveling, walking/running, etc. Interesting Facts About Me:
I speak 3 languages (English, Portuguese, & Spanish). Portuguese was my first.
I enjoy traveling to and learning about other countries/cultures; I have visited France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, England, Ireland, China, Brasil and will be traveling to Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji in July.
I have dual citizenship: United States and Brasil; Rio de Janiero is my favorite place!
I have had many part-time jobs (due to various interests): student advisor at local community college, receptionist and teacher at local yoga studio, Weight Watchers, volunteer leader for People to People Ambassador programs, and now 3-Day training walk leader!
Thank you so much for this opportunity. I’m thankful to be a part of all this. The last couple of months have been truly amazing. I have met so many people, felt so accomplished (reached my goal in 6 months), felt inspired, motivated, grateful, etc. The amount of positive feelings and energy is very rewarding.”
Jodie – Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day First-Timer
“I am Jodie Mannlin, a 56 year-old paraprofessional working with elementary students in a Life Skills class, an 11.5-year breast cancer survivor, and 3-Day first-timer, set to participate in the Dallas/Ft. Worth 3-Day on November 6-8! My husband (of almost 33 years) and I live in Mesquite, Texas (near Dallas, where I was born). I enjoy: reading; movie-going; attending any breast cancer event, such as brunches, fashion shows, seminars, Race for the Cure walks in the cities of Dallas, Fort Worth, and Plano, and participating in the Cowboys’ Pink Ribbon Halftime Show (where I saw my favorite QB, Peyton Manning when he and the Broncos came to town a couple of years ago :); and attending outdoor concerts from spring through fall. The entire 3-Day experience is proving to be exciting and rewarding, as I have met many inspiring walkers from my Boxing Babes team, as well as other teams. I am overjoyed to have finally accepted the challenge to “do something more” by entering the Komen 3-Day world! And, to have been given the opportunity to share my thoughts as a 3-Day first-timer blogger! More to come …” Please join us in welcoming Crystal, Sheilla, and Jodie to the 3-Day family! Stay tuned to the 3-Day blog over the next several months to hear all about their journeys. Are you a 3-Day first-timer too? Welcome! Don’t forget, your 3-Day coaches love to share tips, tricks, and advice for everything 3-Day. You can reach them by calling 800-996-3DAY.
In February of this year, we treated our readers to The Insider’s Peek at the 3-Day Route, where we gave you a detailed look at the planning, work and execution that goes into creating the routes for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day® events. While that two-part Insider’s Peek was full of tasty details, it was still kind of broad in the sense that it didn’t explicitly address the particulars of any specific Komen 3-Day location.
It seemed like a natural progression to go from an expansive overview of 3-Day® route-planning in general, to a more pinpointed look at each of the seven 3-Day events individually. So I’ve been picking the brains of the event planning team and local coaches, to get the skinny on what walkers can expect. Sharing this information early in the year will help walkers prepare for their events, train for what’s to come and have a few exciting high points to look forward to.
We’ll be publishing one of these location-specific peeks for every 2015 3-Day event (we kicked off the series with the Michigan peek a couple of weeks ago), and today, the Twin Cities 3-Day is in the spotlight. Here’s what the Event Planning Manager Kendra and Local Events Coach Stephanie had to say:
Will there be any major changes to the route from last year? Kendra shared, “No major changes to the route from 2014. However, walkers can expect a direction reversal on Day 2.” Stephanie added, “There’s also a new Closing Ceremony site this year.” (Click here for a recap of the 2014 Twin Cities event, including route highlights, as well as the 2014 Twin Cities Journey Map.)
What, if any, geographical challenges does the Twin Cities route present (i.e., are there hills? Sections with no shade? Portions of the route that sweep vans can’t access easily?) Stephanie, who you will often find joining local Twin Cities 3-Dayers for training walks, said, “The Twin Cities 3-Day route, for the most part, is pretty flat, but there are a few hills after lunch on Day 2 and again on Day 3 towards the end of the route. You will definitely want to include some hill training over the next few months.” But she’s extremely confident in her walkers’ abilities: “Nothing too major though that tough Twin Cities 3-Dayers can’t handle!” Kendra agreed on all points, and added, “We’ve experienced some hot 3-Day weekends in Minnesota over the last couple years, so walkers should come prepared with a hat and sunscreen and drink plenty of water throughout the weekend.”
Any specific highlights/locations that walkers can look forward to seeing along the way? From Stephanie: “Day 1 will take our walkers around some of the beautiful lakes that Minneapolis has to offer. They’ll pass by a favorite Twin Cities attraction, The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden – a great photo op! Here you’ll also find gorgeous views of the Minneapolis skylines and the Basilica of St. Mary. Lunch is served in downtown Minneapolis at Loring Park and it’s always fun to see all the pink walking through the heart of the city.” Kendra continues, “Day 2 swaps the action of the city for the quietness of the suburbs. There are some great trails and neighborhoods to take in. Day 3 is a good mix of suburban and rural as walkers make their way into downtown St. Paul, for a Closing Ceremony on the shores of the Mississippi River.”
Any other information you can provide about the overall “essence” of the Twin Cities route? Stephanie and Kendra, who both live in the Twin Cities area, are quick to brag about their community: “The Twin Cities 3-Day has a reputation for having tremendous community support along our route, and we are very proud of this. It’s a great showcase of two vibrant metropolitan cities and the natural beauty that surround them.”
The Bottom Line: Twin Cities walkers should plan on working a few hills into their training, and should prepare themselves as much as possible for walking in hot weather (and meanwhile, we’ll continue to keep our fingers crossed for a mild weekend forecast). Aside from that, they should be sure to free up lots of memory on their phones and cameras so that they can capture the picture-perfect beauty of the Twin Cities.
The Insider’s Take: Yes, Kendra and Stephanie, as the local experts on the Twin Cities route, are the ultimate insiders, but I’ve walked in the Twin Cities, and my biggest take-away was that it was the most naturally beautiful route I’ve seen. It seemed like we didn’t turn a corner without coming head-on with another gorgeous lake, park, or riverfront pathway (There were bald eagles along the Mississippi, people. Bald eagles!). Was it hot? Heck yeah it was, but there were also wonderful supporters around every corner handing out popsicles, frozen grapes or cool face wipes; and the Twin Cities 3-Day was where we discovered the Orange Shirt Drinking Game, a guaranteed way to stay hydrated. The route didn’t strike me as particularly hilly, especially compared to other 3-Day routes I’ve walked, but I could see how someone might be in for a shock if they didn’t do any training on hills.
Still have questions about the Twin Cities 3-Day route? Call your Twin Cities 3-Day coach Eileen at 800-996-3DAY (select option 8 for Twin Cities), or email firstname.lastname@example.org.