Your Dollars at Work: 3-Day Funds and Komen’s Mission Objectives

Participants often ask me how 3-Day funds are put to use. It’s a logical question: If you’re working hard towards raising at least $2,300 each year to walk, you want to know how those dollars get put to work.

If you’ve done the 3-Day before, you’ve probably heard that 25% of the net proceeds goes to local Affiliates to fund community education and treatment assistance programs while 75% of the net proceeds is used by Komen on a national basis to fund research programs and global strategies. But what does that really mean? Here’s some detail to help make this more concrete.3DAY_2016_KomenInfographics_3_fp (002)

First, let me explain how Komen is structured: There is the national office based in Dallas, which receives funding through national partnerships, individual giving, and national programs like the 3-Day. And, there are also more than 100 Komen local offices called Affiliates, that receive funding through local events like the Race for the Cure, sponsorships, etc.

The funds you raise through the 3-Day (managed by our national office) and the Race for the Cure (managed by our local Affiliates) are unique as both programs have global, national and local impact.

At the end of each 3-Day season we total all of the funds raised on a national level to distribute to the national and local mission. So, the 3-Day’s local proceeds (that 25%) are divided at the end of each season among the 7 host city affiliates, so that 3-Day dollars have a direct impact in 3-Day cities. In most 3-Day cities, there is a single affiliate office, but in Dallas and Michigan, there are several who divide the funds to maximize reach and opportunity in their respective service areas.

Why is this important? Susan G. Komen has funded nearly $889 million in research and nearly $2 billion in community grants. Through this, we have made great strides in decreasing mortality rates from breast cancer, increasing 5 year survival rates, and improving access to screening and treatment for countless women and men. It is this combination – a balance between funding community needs and research priorities – that is so important, and a big reason that 3-Day and Race for the Cure funding is so unique.

In the coming year, a few of our primary mission goals are:

  • We are focusing major research efforts on metastatic research, primarily what causes the disease to spread from the breast.
    • Nearly half of Komen’s funding in 2015 went to metastatic research (23 grants, $16 million)
  • We are collaborating with other national and international breast cancer organizations to refine goals and minimize redundancy
  • We are working towards making health resources equally available to all, with a focus on disparities and why the risk of breast cancer is higher amongst African-American women.

Komen President and CEO, Dr. Judy Salerno, said at the Komen Impact Forum in Dallas, “I believe that in a generation we will see more treatments and more cures. You, [our 3-Day community], have been a part of this every step of the way. And we must support you so that we can be successful in achieving this goal.”

We want to make it easier for you to talk with your supporters and donors about Komen’s mission in action. So we’re creating a library of sharable resources on The first set is available today: Three infographics talking more about 3-Day funding and our mission in action. (Note: these infographics are in .jpg format below, which you can save to your computer and share on social media. If you would like printable .pdf versions of the infographics, you can find them here.)3DAY_2016_KomenInfographics_33DAY_2016_KomenInfographics_2 3DAY_2016_KomenInfographics_1

Soon, we’ll be sharing more specific details of how each local 3-Day affiliate is putting Komen funds to use in that 3-Day city.

This is just the start of the tools you have told us you need. This will be an on-going project from here forward as your needs change and the 3-Day program begins to grow. As I mentioned in my last blog post, we are forming a 3-Day advisory council (2 participants from each 3-Day city) to help you, the 3-Day family, have a collective voice as we work to meet needs, improve your event experience and grow the 3-Day into the strongest program it can be.

Stay tuned to the blog for more info! Thank you for being you!

– Chrissy Mathews


More Ways to Thank Your 3-Day Donors

As we approach the start of the 2015 Susan G. Komen 3-Day® season, you are probably seeing an uptick in donations coming in. At the end of last year, we shared some ways to thank your Komen 3-Day donors after your event is over, but we thought you might also like some ideas of ways to thank them during your 3-Day®.3DAY_2016_Blog_TitleGraphics_MoreWaystoThank_fp

Carry Them With You – Many walkers find thoughtful and creative ways to recognize and bring their donors along with them while they walk. You can write their names (and the names of the people whom they donated in honor or in memory of) on pink ribbons that you wear on your hat or waist pack. You can inscribe their names on a t-shirt. If you’re feeling very creative, names of donors could also be celebrated on fairy wings, a cape or a tutu.2014_3DAY_MI_BC_0103

Make Your Gratitude Social – Chances are you will be updating your social media throughout your 3-Day weekend anyway, so be sure to take some of those posting breaks to tag and thank your donors too. They’re the ones who helped get you to the 3-Day, so it makes perfect sense to recognize them publicly on your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram as you post from the road.

Say Thank You With a Photo – A great way to thank your donors is to take a picture of you at the 60-mile banner on Day 3 and turn it into a photo card. There are countless websites (Shutterfly, Tiny Prints, Snapfish, etc.) where you can create photo cards, and adding this personal touch brings your thank you notes to a whole new level. If you’re part of a team, think about making it a team photo card; then you can order in bulk and everyone can use them!

Dedicate a Mile – Taking the photo thank you idea one step further, you could dedicate a mile to each of your donors (assuming you have 60 or fewer!). Make a small tribute card with the mile number and the donor’s name, then snap a quick picture of you holding the card when you reach that point on the route. You can post these on social media and/or send the pictures to your donors after the event is over.IMG_0338

Renew Your Commitment – A perfect way to show your donors how grateful you are for their support and how dedicated you are to ending breast cancer is to renew your own commitment and register for a 2016 3-Day event. Walker registration for all seven events will open on August 11.


These are just a few ideas, but you can let your creativity take you anywhere when it comes to showing your thanks.

3 Reasons Why You Should Always Ask for a Specific Donation Amount

susan g komen 3-day breast cancer 60 miles walk blog specific donation amount fundraisingQuick 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.susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk blog fundraising donations

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.susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk blog fundraising donations

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.

susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer walk blog fundraising donations