The fundraising totals listed above represent how much was raised by the time each event began, and we’re thrilled to share that every single Komen 3-Day continued bringing in donation dollars even after the last walker left each Closing Ceremony. With those continued donations, plus matching gifts and series gifts, the 2015 3-Day® Series has exceeded its goal of $20 million raised to end breast cancer.
There’s not a number big enough to calculate our gratitude to you, our 3-Day family, for your part in the fight.
On the Susan G. Komen 3-Day®, it’s not unusual for a team to round up a handful of new walkers each year. But some teams set their sights a little higher.
Enter Sally Dunbar.
Sally is the captain of the 2015 San Diego 3-Day team Hands Up for Hooters, and she was simply not going to settle for a handful of teammates. Sally successfully convinced 69 people to join her team in 2015, 65 of whom were brand new to the 3-Day. I had the chance to speak with Sally, a delightful woman who is a 10-year survivor and 4-time 3-Day walker, and she shared her secrets to team-building success.
Hands Up for Hooters Team Captain Sally in San Diego
Set A Big Goal – Sally is fond of saying “No big achievement ever came without a big goal.” When she registered for the 2015 San Diego 3-Day in late 2014, she set a fundraising goal of $25,000. “Then I thought, don’t be a wimp, make it $50,000,” Sally recalls with a chuckle. But even that wasn’t a lofty enough target for Sally to aim for, and she found herself typing $100,000 into the Fundraising Goal box on her 3-Day Participant Center. The goal was set, and Sally’s mind was set on reaching it.
Crunch The Numbers – “I didn’t even have a team at that point,” Sally said. “So I started thinking, all right, to get $100,000, I can’t do it by myself. I knew that I needed to build a team. I did the math and figured I needed 35 people to walk. With 35 walking, we could make $100,000. But then I thought, I’d better get 45 or 50 so that if anyone dropped out, we’d still have enough. And so I set my goal at 45 team members and started recruiting.”
Start Early, No Pressure – “I started in December [of 2014]. I sent out a letter just saying ‘I want you to think about this.’” Sally stands by this soft-sell technique: “Just a ‘think about it’ letter. I told them, I’m going to send you a request to join my team in January, so just think about it. Then in January I started sending out emails, and I changed my signature on my email and whatnot.” By starting to ask early, you give your recruits time to get comfortable with the journey of fundraising and training that they’ll be taking.
Walk the Walk–Sally incorporated casual walking into her recruitment strategy long before anyone was diving into any serious training. “We started walking together in January, having ‘fun walks’ every Sunday. We’d meet at our local deli at 8 o’clock, and if it was raining, we’d have coffee, but if it wasn’t raining, we would walk, just for fun. In May we started a training schedule. We just marched on. We did a training walk every Saturday and every Sunday until the weekend before our San Diego event.” These walks became weekly excursions that Sally’s friends and family looked forward to, and the camaraderie that developed convinced many team members to register officially and start moving toward that big goal.
Face Your Fears – “I realized pretty quickly that people have the same fears,” Sally shared. “They can’t walk that far, they can’t raise that much money, they can’t take that much time from whatever their life is involving…” Sally didn’t back down from those fears, but faced them, inviting anyone and everyone to come to her Sunday walks, even if they weren’t registered 3-Dayers yet. “At the team meetings we would have, we would just talk about, okay, introduce yourself, tell us what’s your fear in doing this.” Getting face to face with someone who might have some anxiety about doing the 3-Day is a great way to assure them that they’re not alone. Even veteran walkers like Sally can benefit from this open airing of concerns: “I don’t know who it’s been better for, them or me. I was very fearful now and then, thinking, what if I get into this and I can’t pull it off? It’s like, you gotta be kidding. Just have no fear, girl.”
Dial Up the Fun – With her team, Sally created a fun and lively atmosphere and shared the team’s exploits frequently on social media. “Every walk we did, I took pictures, I tagged every single person, and we just made it fun. I’m constantly taking pictures and I show all those fun pictures, and so people just kept seeing what we’re doing.” This repeated exposure to Hands Up For Hooters’ good times prompted many of her followers to say, “I want to be part of that!”
Sally and friends take a break to spell out HOOTERS
Any Reason is a Good Reason – Some people may hesitate to join the 3-Day because they haven’t been personally touched by breast cancer. Sally reassured people that that didn’t matter. “I would let people know, look, you can join because you want to lose weight, you can join because you want to get some exercise, you can join because you want to meet new people, because you want to learn new walking trails, or because you have a personal connection to breast cancer. You will end up having that personal connection to breast cancer at some point in your life, and being involved in this team will help bring you to that point, but for now, it doesn’t matter what your reason is. I’ll take you for any reason, it’s fine!”
Do Your Homework – Getting involved with a charitable organization or event is a personal decision, and knowing a lot about the organization goes a long way in quieting doubts. “I know a lot of people at Komen,” Sally says, “and I asked a lot of people questions so I could prepare my team for those ‘Komen questions.’ I read the financial reports and I read some of the research so that I could answer them. I answered all of my hesitations and my doubts, and I feel very resolved that there’s not an argument that someone could put up that I can’t address.” Chrissy Mathews, Susan G. Komen® 3-Day Program Manager, introduced Sally at the Friday night camp show in San Diego to recognize her incredible team-building success, and Chrissy reminds the entire extended 3-Day family that she is always available to chat with and answer your questions or concerns.
Sally and Chrissy in San Diego
Calm the Fundraising Fright – Being afraid of the 3-Day’s fundraising requirement holds many people back from registering, so I asked Sally how she addressed her potential teammates’ fundraising anxieties. “I just promise them that if you send out a letter from the heart, if you do a lot of emailing, change your email signature with a link to your donation page and tell people what you’re doing…if you put it out there, I promise you will raise your money.” This up-front reassurance was also supplemented by team fundraising efforts that helped everyone. “We did a couple of [restaurant] nights at a local brew pub where, anyone who donated to us, [the owner] would give them 20% off their bill. We made more money that way than if he had given us 20% of their ticket.”
Donors Are Part of the Team – Hands Up for Hooters made their donors feel like part of the family. “We made our little Hootie pin, so if someone donated to us, we gave them a pin.” And the celebration of donors didn’t stop there: “We did another big group fundraiser, Hooterpalooza, where we basically were just thanking our donors. If they donated to us, we invited them to this party, we put it on, and at the party, we did a killer raffle. We made a lot of money that way.”
Keep The Team Energy Going All Year! – Sally shared, “We just really connected as a team, bonded as a team, and really supported each other. And then we would talk about the successes. ‘I just made my goal.’ ‘How’d you do it?’ ‘Here’s what I did…’ And usually it’s very simple. You just put it out there.” These weekly check-ins kept her teammates engaged, motivated, and let them know that they would be supported no matter where they were in their training and fundraising progress.
So…Did Hands Up For Hooters Reach Their Goal? – Sally was thrilled to share, “We raised $142,000. After we blew by $100,000, which was my goal, I raised the goal to $150,000 and thought, you’ve got to have an unreachable goal. I just hope by the end of the year, we can get our number up to $150K.” At press time, Hands Up for Hooters’s fundraising total was just north of $147,000.
What’s Next? – I asked Sally if she thinks most of her first-timer teammates will return to the 3-Day next year, and she responded with a confident “Oh yeah. We’re not sure yet [where we’ll walk]. I figured, I can’t have them vote without having finished this one first. I’ve been collecting prizes, and we going to have awards in January and just kind of wrap up everything and get things kicked off for next year, and we’ll vote on where we want to go. But San Diego’s pretty darn awesome.” And her teammates, it seems, have caught the recruitment bug too. “What’s really funny is, many of them on the team are coming to me saying, ‘I figured out if we each recruit three new people, we could triple the money, we could make $300,000!’ That kind of intimidates me,” Sally laughs. “But we’re absolutely going to go for it and have a big team next year.”
Sally’s daughter (left) was one of the 65 first-time walkers on Hands Up for Hooters
Are you looking to build YOUR team? Don’t forget that Wednesday, Dec. 9 is the last day to take advantage of our $35 discounted registration fee. Encourage your friends to get registered today before the price goes up, and see the amazing things you and your team can do! The3Day.org/register
If you’ve been a part of the Susan G. Komen 3-Day® in any way, you know how powerful sharing your story can be, as well as how meaningful it is to listen to the others’ stories. Our stories are what unite us together as a whole, as the Komen 3-Day community. Every week, we bring you some of those stories through the 3-Day® blog: stories that make us smile, stories that evoke emotion, stories that serve as helpful tools for achieving success on the 3-Day and stories that bring us closer together. Let’s take a look back at some of the best of the best blog posts from 2015. Whether you’re new to the 3-Day, a seasoned veteran or somewhere in between, with our wide variety of stories there’s truly something relevant to everyone.
The Community That Walks Together
12 Things 3-Day Walkers Have to Explain to Outsiders –Let’s kick things off with this year’s most viewed blog post. There’s absolutely no other experience like participating in the 3-Day, and we’ve highlighted some of the event’s main features here (grahamwich goodness included).
The Insider’s Peek at the 3-Day Route – Part 1 (also see Part 2) -Here’s another one of our most viewed posts from 2015. The yellow brick road to the 3-Day finish line, known as the route, is the place where most walkers spend the majority of their waking hours while on the 3-Day. Maybe you’ve blazed the 3-Day trail many times or perhaps you’ll be hitting the ground walking your first event next year. Either way, get the exclusive behind-the-scenes scoop on all the detail and care that goes into planning the route (warning: hills ahead).
3-Day Training Walk Leaders Answer the Question: Why Should I Come to a Training Walk? -Walking 60 miles in 3 days is no easy feat. Even for the most athletic of us, the right kind of training isn’t something that should be overlooked. Throughout the year, our training walk leaders bring 3-Day walkers together not only to walk, but for a number of other reasons. Some of our training walk leaders explain the many benefits of attending official training events in this insightful blog post.
“I know she’s there.” –Anna’s Story -We see hundreds of people on every 3-Day event as extraordinary as Anna and her family. People who have endured pain that many of us can’t fathom. People who have celebrated small victories only then to be faced with indescribable losses. But people who also possess some of the strongest spirits of hope you could conceive. Tissues highly recommended while reading this story.
A Piglet Princess Makes Her 3-Day Debut -It’s all in the family. This cute and heartwarming story about how a daughter is following in her (famous) father’s footsteps, carrying on his unique 3-Day legacy in her own way, is guaranteed to brighten your day!
A Disruption of Pink – Seattle 3-Day Team GTM -When a family member was diagnosed with breast cancer last summer, one extended family decided to take action by forming a 3-Day team. What started out as the name of their high school basement band years ago, ended up becoming team GTM – a force of pink to be reckoned with.
Fundraising Strategy: Mark Your Calendars! -Of course, there are many strategies you could use to achieve your fundraising goal. We’ve got a whole section of our blog dedicated solely to fundraising tips and resources, which you can find here. Maybe your fundraising goal isn’t attainable in one month. What’s important is that you have a plan. A great strategy 3-Day coach, Eileen, shared with us involves assigning creative fundraising ideas to holidays and special events throughout the year.
How to Tell Your Story – A Guest Post by Coach Susan -Your story is very important; it is powerful and has the potential to impact others in extraordinary ways. However, at times, it can be difficult to share. One of our 3-Day coaches, Susan, gives her advice on how you can share your valuable story the way it deserves to be shared.
In Their Own Words – Featured Guest Posts
“Love will still be there…” –A Guest Post Love Story -“Cancer can’t change who you are or those qualities that you carry which someone who truly loves you will adore despite your cancer. I want that young survivor to keep hope, to keep dreaming, to not let fear take over the strength and beauty she has within her.” Rachel shares beautiful love story for the romantic and an empowering love letter to cancer survivors.
“I didn’t have to watch anymore. I could walk.” – A Guest Post -“This walk became one of the best things I could do for myself. The thing with cancer is it makes you feel helpless. You watch your mom become weak, her body a shell of what it once was…you watch. But with the 3-Day, I didn’t have to watch anymore. I could walk.” Carly opens up about her mother’s difficult battle with breast cancer, and why she, as a mother herself now, has walked eight 3-Day events.
10 Reasons to Register Today – A Guest Post by Jessica C. – 3-Day participants make sacrifices to be a part of the fight against breast cancer, but those sacrifices are not without reward. If you’ve ever considered walking the 3-Day before, we encourage you to expand your ideas on not only what you can give to the 3-Day, but what the 3-Day can give to you (and no, that’s not being selfish).
5 Essential Links to Prepare You for the 3-Day -You may want to bookmark this one for next year. We provide you with the resources you’ll need to make sure you’re ready to go for the 3-Day–from what to pack to walking hacks–all wrapped up in one short and sweet blog post.
Essential Tips for 3-Day Travelers – “It’s not just about the destination; it’s about the journey.” That journey doesn’t simply include the 3-Day itself, but also the travel and preparation it takes to get to the starting line. Travel can be stressful, but this useful guide will help you make your trip to and from the 3-Day as smooth as possible, that way, you’ll be a happy camper.
What’s in Your Pack? -As the saying goes: a good 3-Day walker is always prepared (or something along those lines). Do you have all the necessities needed to survive the 3-Day? See what essentials some of our seasoned 3-Day professionals keep in their packs.
Just For Fun
Things No 3-Day Walker Said, Ever – “We’d bet our fanny packs that there are some things you’ll never hear a Komen 3-Day walker say.” We brought out the silly side of the 3-Day in this hilarious blog post. Go ahead, have a laugh!
16 Ways to Pass the Time While Walking in the 3-Day – For 3-Day walkers, it takes about 8 hours to walk the 20-mile route each day, and even the most dazzling conversationalists sometimes run out of things to talk about during those many hours of walking. Or perhaps sometimes they just need a playful diversion. This list gives walkers some fun ways to pass the time to keep them focused on something other than how much their feet hurt or how badly they need a porta-potty.
9 Ways You Can Make Friends Through the 3-Day – On the 3-Day, we like to say “there are no strangers, just friends you haven’t met yet.” It’s no secret that we’re like one big, pink family. Learn more about the many ways in which the 3-Day is a fantastic opportunity to get to know other people and make meaningful connections.
What was your favorite post from 2015? Share in the comments below!