Let’s Keep It Going! Beginning Your Fundraising Journey for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day

Welcome to part two of our fundraising how-two series!

This week, we’ll be talking about how to start your fundraising. By the time you’re reading this, the New England 3-Day, our very first of the 2023 season, is exactly 64 days away, with Denver and Chicago close on its heels. Although that may seem like plenty of time, it’ll be here before you know it. That said, a sense of urgency is your best friend as you work to meet or exceed your fundraising goals. But where to begin?  

Spotlight: Check out this handy guide on Raising $2,300 in 2 Months

Whether this is your first walk or your 101st, The3Day.org can serve as your central hub for help. The fundraising page hosts a wide range of invaluable resources to help orient you on this journey. Trying to utilize social media for your campaign and want to know what to post? Check the Fundraising page. Need 101 different appeal ideas, or are you attempting to meet your $2,300 goal in one month? Fundraising page. Searching for sample solicitation letters to get in touch with a local business? Fundraising page. From outreach templates to thank you notes and everything in between, the 3-Day fundraising page serves as a comprehensive online resource, along with all of the tools in your Participant Center.  

If you’re like some participants, fundraising for the 3-Day could be the first time you’ve ever raised money for an event. Not to fear! Taking care of things early means you can free up mental space and energy to focus all of your attention on training. Approaching your fundraising with strategy and careful planning can make all the difference. For example, rather than asking a potential donor, “Hey, I’m walking the Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day in October, would you like to donate?”, be as specific as possible! “I’m aiming to raise $3,000 [or whatever your fundraising goal is — name a specific amount] by the end of July. Can I count on you to make a donation of $60 today?” Do you have 23 family members that you can ask for $100? Are there 46 friends who could support you with $50 each? Asking for a specific amount, and asking big, is the best way to get you to your goals faster. Whatever the denomination and whomever the patron base is, thinking critically about how to best navigate the landscape can be just the move to put the winds in your sails.  

Regardless of your preferred methods or how you choose to space out different milestones, the biggest stride you can take toward success is simply getting started. Go for that initial ask, make your first donation follow up, and don’t be afraid to tap into your network. While there are many people just waiting to support you, life can get busy! Even with the best intentions, your donors can forget to revisit Facebook fundraisers, or lose track of email requests. You will have to ask more than once or twice. Be brave in how you approach family, friends, and community members, and just as you push your body to cover more and more ground each week during training, you can push yourself more and more to march toward your fundraising target. 

The money we raise is invaluable to the individuals and their loved ones supported by Susan G. Komen. Your efforts are instrumental in the funding of research, as well as patient care and advocacy, all of which help us in the fight against breast cancer. These real efforts impact real people and are fueled by the fundraising dollars you raise!  

Stay tuned for our July post as we dive into part three of our series and, in the meantime, check out part one. As always, feel free to share your thoughts and drop a comment below!   

To recap: 

Tip #1 — Check out the fundraising page. If you’re in search of creative ideas or need a bit of structure, this resource is sure to act as your starting point and guide you in the right direction.  

Tip #2 — Stick to your plan. The equation for donations is pretty simple: your solicitations + support from your community = you hitting your goal! Take a moment to map out the time you have, the people you know, and the dollars you need. If you do your math correctly, your solution will come that much easier. 

Tip #3 — The best way to build momentum is by moving! If you don’t know who to start with, consider your last call or text message. Chances are, you were just speaking with someone who’d love to help you on your quest. 

Let’s Get it Started! Your Ultimate Fundraising Guide to the Susan G. Komen 3-Day 

Welcome to our new fundraising how-to blog series! As we get closer to event day, we’re here to bring you all the tips and tricks you need to hit your fundraising goals. These monthly posts will cover everything from goal-setting to creative asks, but May is kicking off with the most essential subject of all: how to start. 

Step #1: Register!  

So, you’ve taken the big first step of any Susan G. Komen 3-Day event: registering. Whether this is your fiftieth event or you’re gearing yourself up for the first-ever, you’ve made an extraordinary commitment in entering the Pink Bubble and starting the journey. (That alone deserves a round of applause!) There are countless out of the box ideas to get your fundraising soaring, but before you find yourself among the clouds, you’ll have to get off the ground first. But where do you begin? Although hitting your minimum fundraising requirement may seem like a daunting task, as the saying goes, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” 

Step #2: Get Personal with your Participant Center 

Personalize your fundraising page in your Participant Center, as this is the platform that you’ll use to not only raise money, but also share your story. Upload your photo or record a video, customize your URL, take some time to sit and write why the 3-Day matters to you, and get ready to relay it to the world. For some, vulnerability is a challenge. Putting yourself out there means being open and honest about how breast cancer has impacted your life. You yourself might be a survivor, currently in the fight, or walking in honor/memory of someone close to you. Regardless, your experience is exactly what will help people understand what motivates you to walk. Whether implemented in a Facebook fundraiser, your email signature, or even decorating your car, this page will serve as your primary calling card, so make sure it’s shipshape. 

Step #3: Walk the Walk and Make Your Own Donation 

Before you get to the potential donors in your circle, do yourself a favor and be your very own inaugural patron. Whether it’s $500 or $5, why not be the first individual to contribute to your own efforts?  

Step #4: Talk the Talk and Secure Your Second Donation  

After that, make a personal commitment to secure another donation within 24 hours. Momentum is the name of the game, so finding ways to keep the ball rolling, and the funds incoming, is key. Between parents and siblings, friends and coworkers, there are probably plenty of names right on the tip of your tongue, and those should be some of the first people you solicit. It could be face-to-face, by text, phone, email, or social media, but choose one of the many options at your disposal to connect with those around you. 

Getting the ball rolling might be difficult at first, but never forget that you’re not alone! Between your coach and the Facebook groups, there’s always a community standing at the ready to offer sparks of inspiration. Once you’re up and running, you’ll be well on your way to hitting your target and contributing to our shared vision: a world without breast cancer. Join us in June as we spotlight our next topic, and please leave a comment with any of your own tips or tricks! 


A Limitless Goal – Rachel B. Reaches $250K and Isn’t Stopping There! 

After her mom was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004, Rachel B. decided she wanted to do something to make a difference. When she saw an advertisement for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day in a newspaper, she knew she had found that “something.” Now, 19 years later, she has raised more than $250,000! 

How long have you been participating in the 3-Day and how many events have you done?   

This year, Dallas/Fort Worth will be my 29th Susan G. Komen 3-Day event. I’ve participated since 2005 and have done 27 60-mile walks including 3-Day Nation, and I also crewed one year. I am fortunate to have walked in every city the 3-Day has ever been in.  

What is your connection to breast cancer? 

My mom is a survivor and that’s why I got involved. My mom has walked, crewed and cheered for the 3-Day. Since my first event, I’ve had many friends get diagnosed with breast cancer.   

Why do you think it’s important to raise money for this cause? 

I don’t think I understood the importance of fundraising when I walked my first 3-Day in 2005. I did understand that I couldn’t sit idly by when my mom had gone through radiation treatments to beat breast cancer. In 2004, you didn’t talk about breast cancer. Now we talk about it, which allows for more specific research and treatments. We’ve seen the advances in treatments and the importance of educating everyone about annual mammograms (Have you scheduled yours?).  

We raise money to help fund research. You can’t provide research or help to those in need without money. When people work together, you can raise a lot of money and have a greater impact in a shorter period of time.    

What makes you go above and beyond the fundraising minimum? 

My first year at the 3-Day, my younger sister raised over $3,000 in five days with less than ten people, so she showed me what was possible. I naturally set large goals that push me to raise more money or sign up for more events. In 2012, I remember setting a goal that I wanted to earn the big tent that a sponsor used to provide to the top fundraiser. That year, they changed the reward, and the top fundraiser got something different. I was proud to be top fundraiser, but I really wanted that big tent! The sponsor representative surprised me with it when I arrived at camp. What a selfless gift, and an amazing representation of the Pink Bubble! I know it’s crazy that I was excited about a tent, but we stayed at camp in tents for the first 10 years. Once we began earning a free hotel for our fundraising, our team enjoyed the comfy bed and dry conditions, so we have been glamping. 

We are an Ohio team, and therefore, the incentive to earn a flight and hotel motivated our team to be super fundraisers. Some years our team is small, and one year we had 17 people participate on the Bouncin’ Buckeyes team. Raising extra money allows us to help our teammates so they reach their fundraising requirement. 

I see a number like this: $281,064 raised and say to myself, I can reach $300,000. 

What are your best fundraising tips? 

Keep asking. Email and send physical letters with your donation form. Send reminders, because we all get busy. Create a sense of urgency (like, two days before the deadline). Share your story. There are many worthwhile charities and the people that donate have a set amount of money. By sharing your passion, they will donate to you and your efforts. Send thank you cards with your link for the following year, so you kick off fundraising for your next walk. 

My older sister worked for a company that offered matching gift donations and her donations helped us tremendously. We are so grateful for her generosity! 

Any advice you have for those struggling to meet their fundraising minimum? 

Set goals. Make it fun! Remember why you signed up. If you are speaking negatively, change your mindset. Don’t get discouraged when someone doesn’t donate. I have extended family members and friends that have been diagnosed that haven’t donated to me. I’ve also had strangers and people that I barely know who have donated to me. Refer to the fundraising tips on the 3-Day website. Share your pictures from the 3-Day and from your training walks. Be sure to include the link to your donation page. If someone has to turn to Google to find out how to donate, they may not take the extra steps to make a donation.   

What impact has being on a team made for you? Would you advise other walkers to join a team? 

I’ve been part of a team of two and a team of 17. They are different experiences, and all bring great joy. I’ve been walking with one of my teammates, Heather, since my second walk and with another teammate, Bobbi, since my third walk. We have people that have walked once and some that have walked and crewed multiple years. All of these situations were exactly what we needed as a team for that year. Life takes us in different directions and even though we can’t all gather to walk the 3-Day, we have amazing support from those that have walked with us over the years.   

I have walked in 3-Day events where people walk alone, but they really don’t walk alone. You always see people say “hi” as they pass by or even walk with them. It’s an amazing community. New walkers should try to train with others. If I had not met Dancing Lady and her team in 2005, I don’t believe I would have been set up for success. As we did training walks, we learned what shoes and clothes work and which ones do not. Training alone can be challenging to stay motivated for a 5–8-hour walk, but if you are a solo walker, you will never be alone during those 60 miles. 

What does the 3-Day/Pink Bubble mean to you? 

I look forward to the “Pink Bubble” each year. It’s a few days a year where people gather that have made sacrifices to end breast cancer. We are an elite group that sees value in improving lives around the world. Remember, if it were easy, everyone would do it. We show up so that others can have moments with their families.   

We are a loving and inspiring “Pink Bubble” and I only wish I lived closer to more of my 3-Day family. Since we can go a year or more between seeing each other, it makes the 3-Day even more special. Thank you, social media, for bringing us together throughout the year! 

What’s something you want the Pink Bubble to know about you? 

I love animals (I have two golden retrievers and two cats). Our team always stops to pet dogs. If I see a snake on the road I will jump and run away (happened on a training walk). I love taking vacations with my mom, two sisters, nephew and friends. I love to visit National Parks! 

Anything else you’d like to add? 

I’ve worked very hard to raise the money that I have for Susan G. Komen. I wouldn’t be successful without my family, team and our supporters over the years. My older sister has walked but we all love that she is now our mobile cheer station and supports us on route. To date, our Bouncin’ Buckeyes team has raised over $654,974 since 2005. I had no idea when our team of three signed up in 2005 what this would turn into. We each make a difference! Thank you! 

For more inspiring stories and fundraising tips from our other $250,000 lifetime fundraisers, click here.