First-Timer’s Guide to the 3-Day: Sheilla on Fundraising

Fundraising for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day® can be a daunting task, especially for a new participant. For today’s “First-Timer’s Guide to the 3-Day,” Philadelphia 3-Day first-timer Sheilla shares some thoughts about her journey as a Komen 3-Day fundraiser. (Spoiler alert: this incredible first-timer, who asked herself “how will I ever do this?” reached her fundraising minimum in only 6 months.) Do you recognize any of your own story in hers? susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer 60 mile walk blog fundraising first timer Before I signed up to walk in the 3-Day, I had very little fundraising experience. In the past, I had participated and assisted in group fundraisers (i.e. school events), but not anything on my own, and especially nothing this big. Initially, the fundraising goal of $2,300 was VERY intimidating to me, and it felt like an impossible task. I was extremely afraid that I would not reach my goal and not be able to walk in the event, which meant I would disappoint many people, but mostly myself. It concerned me enough that I was actually hesitant about signing up at all. Without a doubt, I wanted so badly to walk 60 miles in October and I was afraid that not raising the money—even if I gave it my best effort—would leave me feeling defeated. I finally convinced myself there was no harm in accepting the challenge, and only positive outcomes would result. What did I have to lose? Nothing–and only a lot to gain. I had to think a lot about what my fundraising strategy would be. I am not good at asking people for anything, especially money. Even though it wasn’t for me, and was for a great cause, I knew I would feel uncomfortable. So, how did I raise $2,300 and reach my goal in 6 months? (I’m super proud, I won’t lie.)

  • I signed up early. I registered for the Philadelphia 3-Day a full year in advance (in October of 2014), and used the fast-approaching holidays to my advantage.
  • I had to be creative. I didn’t ask anyone for money directly. Rather I used creative ways to have people donate.
  • I continuously brainstormed ideas and kept a running list.
  • Facebook! Definitely a great resource.
  • The fundraisers I organized were ones that appealed to the interests of those around me and seemed to be popular at the time.
  • Fundraisers were an exchange, meaning that individuals “paid” for an activity, item, etc. with a donation, so they walked away with something or enjoyed some experience. Win-win for all!

Putting together fundraisers takes a lot of planning and time to organize, send invitations and follow up with reminders. Sometimes it was stressful because you think a fundraiser is going to do well and you have expectations to receive a lot of donations, but that may or may not happen. But that’s when you have to remind yourself to never give up, and move on to the next idea. Fundraising strategies that I used:

  • Letters to businesses that I visit frequently (doctors’ offices, hair salon, gym, etc.)
  • Facebook:
    • Used the 3-Day app, which automatically posts reminders every week to my homepage for friends to see.
    • When a donation was received, the 3-Day app shared donation announcement, and I also gave a personal shout-out on my page to the person/business who donated.
    • Advertise fundraisers on personal homepage as well as on the 3-Day Facebook page.
    • Share pictures and quotes, and update profile picture and cover page with 3-Day images.
  • Five Below (awesome during the holidays)
  • Mixed Bag Designs (another good one during the holidays)
  • Penny Social Drawing at a local high school basketball gamesusan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer 60 mile walk blog fundraising first timer
  • Rubber Bracelets (either sell or gift to those who donate)
  • Canvas Painting parties (huge hit!)susan g. komen 3-Day breast cancer 60 mile walk blog fundraising first timer
  • 3-Day Business Cards
  • Afternoon event at Texas Roadhouse restaurant, with games, baked goods and vendors
  • Be a walking advertisement every day (this was probably my most successful strategy). I think the best way to receive donations is to share breast cancer awareness daily. By actively being involved, others will notice, ask questions and share stories, and before you know it there’s a donation added to your page.
    • Home: my house has a flag in the front and other memorabilia. It serves as a “shrine” to the cause.
    • Work: the office at the school where I work also has breast cancer awareness memorabilia
    • Me: my tattoo, pink ribbon necklace and bracelets, and other accessories are great conversations starters. I am always talking about the 3-Day – training, ideas, etc. I especially try to talk to people who I notice also have breast cancer awareness paraphernalia. You’d be surprised the people you meet who are thrilled you are participating in such a big event and will gladly donate.

Other Ideas I’d Still Like to Try!:

  • Stuffed Animal Sale – the donor pays for the stuffed animal and writes a message on a tag; animal is donated to local organization (kids with cancer, etc.) and the money is donated to your cause
  • Magnabilities sales
  • Bedazzle-a-Bra Contest
  • Exchange your talents/skills for donations (for me, I’d teach a yoga class!)
  • Poker or Golf tournament
  • Designer bag Bingo
  • Football or Basketball pool
  • Wawa Hoagie Sale
  • maniCURE—local nail salon donates money paid for manicures
  • Restaurant Fundraiser Nights (Ex. Chick-Fil-A)

The advice I would give to other first-timers, or anyone who is anxious about fundraising, is to believe in themselves and stick with it. If they are like me and are starting out with limited experience, I would definitely be honest and say it was stressful, but that’s me. However, it IS possible. It takes a lot of planning, creativity and interpersonal skills, but it is an awesome experience because you learn a lot about the event, about others and most importantly, about yourself. Like the old saying goes, “where there’s a will, there’s a way,” and I believe this is true for the 3-Day, especially the fundraising. So first-timers, lace up your shoes, embrace the pink and face the challenge.   Note from the 3-Day: Please check our fundraising policies at The3Day.org/policies before planning any fundraising events, to make sure you are collecting donations in compliance with our guidelines and your local laws.

The First-Timers’ Guide to the 3-Day: Saying Yes, Part 3 of 3

The First-Timers’ Guide to the 3-Day is a series featuring blog posts from three brand new Susan G. Komen 3-Day® walkers (Crystal, Sheilla and Jodie). We met the First-Timers earlier this month, and now they’re back to tell us about how they got involved with the Komen 3-Day, and what compelled them to finally say yes and sign up to walk for the first time. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out our other two First-Timers’ stories; Sheilla’s is here, and Jodie’s here.

Crystal (Michigan 3-Day)susan g. komen 3-day breast cancer walk blog first timers guide crystal

In the grand scheme of things, my life has been what my teenage daughter would refer to as “fluffy.” I grew up in a beautiful suburb and had family vacations where I got to spend quality time with my best friend in the whole world, my grandma. I have a sister whom I cherish with my whole heart. I have two beautiful children. Even though I lost my grandma in 2000 (just months before my daughter was born), all I can think about is how blessed I am to be surrounded by healthy, beautiful women. Breast cancer, fortunately, has not touched my family at all, and I count my blessings every day.  As the mother of an extraordinarily talented soon-to-be lawyer daughter, I want her to live in a world where breast cancer doesn’t exist.

When I was pregnant with my son, on bed rest, a commercial came on for the 3-Day®. I remember stopping in my tracks to watch it, and made a mental note to do that “one day.”

I’m sure you other moms out there can relate to how “one day” can easily turn into a decade without blinking an eye. I’ve dealt with many health problems, resulting in a hysterectomy this past February, but in the 7 years, as I dealt with issue after issue, unknown masses and scary, sleepless nights filled with worry, I made a promise to myself sitting in my doctor’s office that my “one day” would be this year.

I’ve never been one to take a risk or a chance, and certainly not one to ever do anything for myself. I’m selfless, I give all of my time to others. But participating in the 3-Day is something I wanted, a hunger deep within me. Once the decision was made that 2015 would be my year to walk, I didn’t discuss it with anyone, I just signed up on a sunny afternoon in December. I have many reservations about walking: that I’m not fit enough, or strong enough, or ready to do whatever crazy thing I’ve gotten myself into. But I figure I will go in it open-minded and expect nothing, and when I cross that finish line, I know deep within my heart and soul, not only will my grandma be with me in spirit, but I will come out changed forever.

I’ve learned something in my 38 years on this amazing planet: when you decide to make a difference for no other reason than to make a difference, not only do good things happen, but you become someone else and thankfully you can never go back. Life is a beautifully amazing journey, and I am so thankful I can make a difference.

 

 

The First-Timers’ Guide to the 3-Day: Saying Yes, Part 2 of 3

The First-Timers’ Guide to the 3-Day is a series featuring blog posts from three brand new Susan G. Komen 3-Day® walkers (Sheilla, Jodie and Crystal). We met the First-Timers earlier this month, and now they’re back to tell us about how they got involved with the Komen 3-Day, and what compelled them to finally say yes and sign up to walk for the first time. Sheilla shared her story yesterday (see it here), and today, we’re happy to hear from Jodie.

Jodie (Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day)susan g. komen 3-day breast cancer walk blog first timers guide jodie

Participating in the 3-Day® has intrigued me for a number of years. Jean, a dear family friend, took part in this 60 miles of pink (her fave color) several times even though neither she, nor her family, were physically touched by breast cancer. However, she was emotionally touched by the women and men affected by the disease. Jean repeatedly asked me to join her on this endeavor, but I was intimidated by the distance and by the amount of money that needed to be raised, so I declined. Sadly, I will never experience walking with Jean for 20 miles over 3 days. Her generous spirit reached to many facets of her life; while volunteering in a free eye clinic in Haiti with her longtime employers, she perished from injuries sustained in the 2010 earthquake.

Walking the Komen 3-Day with Jean became a heartbreaking lost opportunity, but other doors to the 3-Day continued to open to me. Belinda, one of my Pink Sistas, walked the 3-Day last year, and asked me to walk with her. My hesitations to join the event remained the same: too much walking and too much money to raise. However, when I viewed Belinda’s photos on social media documenting the 3-Day, I SO wanted to be a part of it; her smile said it all! I did not want to be apart from this event any longer. I began to give it serious thought. If I joined the 2015 3-Day, I would be walking it as a 12-year breast cancer survivor. I am not into numerology, but one of my favorite numbers is 12: I was born on the 12th of October, I was married on the 12th of June. I just like the number 12. I had convinced myself that I could do this! One week after Belinda posted those pictures of her and her fellow walkers—images of dedication, pride, strength and lots of pink, I registered online for the Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day in November of 2015, where I will walk during my 12th year of survivorship!

I still worry that I am behind on my fundraising; I have emails and letters still to compose and send. I also fear that I’m behind on my training, as I experienced a pulled muscle, the pain and location of which had me overly concerned. On top of that, I’m currently home for a few days, with four prescriptions, and bronchitis. I promise, I truly believe I am younger than I actually am! But I know that these are just minor setbacks, and that my fundraising and training will resume.

When I signed up last November, I did so individually. In February, I was invited to a 3-Day meet-up, where I met Coach Gayla (what an asset to the 3-Day she is!) and some incredibly inspiring walkers, and at that meeting, I found myself being recruited to join the Boxing Babes team. I am extremely impressed with the many opportunities, for individuals and team members alike, to take part in meet-ups, trainings for walking and fundraising, and the varied fundraising events.

Like my fellow pink enthusiasts Jean, Belinda, and my other Pink Sistas, I have close connections to breast cancer as well. I began getting mammograms in my 30s, and on August 8, 2003, during a routine mammogram, I was called back twice for additional views. Further screening confirmed Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. Facing this diagnosis, I never thought, “Why me?” Rather, considering the statistics, I thought, “Why NOT me?” Luckily, my breast cancer was caught early, was small, and was treatable. But my connections with breast cancer go so much further than my own diagnosis. Nearly a decade after my diagnosis, my youngest sister Kellie called (from her home eight hours away) to tell me, “I have breast cancer.” It was exponentially more difficult hearing those words from her, 10.5 years younger than myself, than from my physician. When I was the patient, I knew what I had to do; my medical team and I had a plan, etc. With her, I felt helpless and so wanted to take it all away from her! Beyond that, my paternal aunt had breast cancer in her late 60s, and courageously fought for twelve years with several recurrences. Another aunt, by marriage, had breast cancer in her mid-60s. A dear childhood friend had breast cancer in her 30s with two young children under the age of two. An older neighbor had breast cancer. I’ve known several men who have had breast cancer (one 30+ years ago, when my father told us the man had “chest cancer,” because no one spoke of the disease in women, much less in men). Many co-workers and their relatives have had breast cancer. Women with whom I have worshipped, have been diagnosed, and countless current Pink Sistas I’ve met through Survivor/Thriver events have experienced various diagnostic procedures, surgeries, radiation, chemotherapy, and hormonal treatments.

You may have heard those four little words from a loved one or friend. And even if you haven’t yet, you may, as one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. For all the times I wished I could do something, or something MORE, or wanted to, but lacked the confidence, I did finally accept the 3-Day challenge, for all of the above reasons, and missed opportunities.

 

Tomorrow, our third First Timer, Crystal, will tell about how and why she got involved with the 3-Day. Are you a first-timer too? Share your story in comments!