Take a LEAP Into Fundraising

Hey 2016 3-Day participants – you get something extra special this February to help you with your fundraising: a whole extra day.

That’s right, 2016 is a leap year, and we want you to be able to make the most out of February 29 with these fun fundraising ideas. For most of the challenges below, social media is the best, quickest way to reach a large group of potential donors with your message at the same time. So get posting on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram – wherever your social circle gathers. This is the last time until 2020 that you’ll be able to use these particular fundraising gimmicks, so don’t miss this chance to take a huge leap in your 3-Day fundraising. 2015_SGK3Day_Dallas_GF_332

  • Get as many $29 donations as you can. This unusual dollar amount is just catchy enough that it will grab donors’ attention and they’ll want to be part of the action. Get 29 of these leap day donations and you’ll have $841, just like that!
  • A leap year has 366 days. Make it your goal to raise $366 in one day on February 29. Again, an unconventional, catchy dollar amount tends to pique interest and get people involved.
  • On February 29, you get an extra 24 hours. See if you can get 24 donations in that amount of time. Ask your donors for a specific amount to make it easy. Getting 24 donations of $50 each will get you more than halfway to your $2,300.
  • Put on your favorite 3-Day victory shirt, team t-shirt or anything pink and have someone snap a picture of you doing your most dramatic leap. Post it to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter on February 29, and every time someone Likes/Hearts/Favorites the photo, send them a direct message and ask them for a donation. Want to take this photographic fun to the next level? Snap and post a different leaping picture every day between now and the 29th. By the time your friends and followers see two or three of them, they’ll be anxious to know the story behind the photos, and you can use that curiosity to open the conversation about donating.
  • Make your own personal list of 29 reasons why you take part in the 3-Day and share the list with your donors. You can make your list funny, sentimental, powerful, or any combination, as long as you make it personal. Send it out all at once as an email, post Facebook status updates throughout the day on February 29. Or if you’re feeling really ambitious and are savvy with moviemaking, put your list into video form and share it that way (video posts on social media are considerably more successful at reaching followers than text-only posts).
  • Leap year comes once every 4 years, so use this February 29 to remind your donors that they can break their donation up to 4 monthly payments. Being able to pay in installments over several months often compels donors to give even more than they would have with a one-time donation.
  • Mile 29 of the 3-Day is at roughly the halfway point of Day 2. Set a personal fundraising goal just for February 29 (aim to raise $500 in that one day, for example), and tell your donors that if they get you to that goal, you’ll do something funny/crazy/playfully embarrassing at Mile 29. What kinds of things could you do? Let your teammates attack you with silly string; choreograph a song and dance routine and perform it at the Day 2 lunch stop; stop at mile 29 and write your Leap Day donors’ names on your arms and legs in Sharpie… You know yourself best, so pick a payoff that’s good for you, but try to go a little (or a lot) out of your comfort zone and make it entertaining. Whatever you decide to do, be sure someone is taking video for you to share with your donors and supporters.

Got any other Leap Day fundraising ideas? Share them in comments! And keep an eye out for a shareable Leap Day graphic we’ll be putting up on the 3-Day’s Facebook page next Monday.

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 The3Day.org/Komen. 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


Fundraising Strategies for Returning 3-Day Walkers

Fundraising for the Komen 3-Day can be challenging for all walkers, whether they are walking for the first time or have taken the 60-mile trek before. When it comes to raising money for the 3-Day, new walkers have the benefit of first-time enthusiasm to fuel their fundraising efforts. They (and their donors) are excited about the 3-Day and making a difference in the fight to end breast cancer, and often that excitement can sustain them during the weeks or months that it may take to reach their fundraising goals.

But what about walkers who are returning to the 3-Day for the second time? Or the fifth time? Or the fifteenth? Many worry that fundraising will get harder and harder the more times they do it. So I put my head together with Seattle 3-Day coach Paula—between the two of us, we have walked/fundraised for the 3-Day 32 times—and came up with some tips specifically for returning 3-Day fundraisers.3DAY_2016_Blog_TitleGraphics_FundraisingStrategies_fp

Go Back to the Well — Have you raised some or all of your money for past 3-Day events by asking your family and friends directly for donations? If it’s a strategy that has worked for you before, use that strategy again! I know that many veteran walkers worry that their donors will tire of their fundraising requests year after year. In answer to that concern, I can confidently say no, your donors are not getting sick of you asking. Statistically, a donor who has supported your 3-Day fundraising in the past is more likely to donate, and will give more, than someone you’ve never approached before. You may think you’re being a pain in the backside by asking year after year, but with few exceptions, you’ll find that your donors are honored to support you as you continue your 3-Day journey. Your years-long commitment is extraordinary, and your donors will be happy to recognize that.

Be Specific — As a returning walker, you have a fantastic resource at your fingertips that can easily direct your fundraising: your donation history. Look at your list of donors from last year’s 3-Day (The Contacts section of your Participant Center has all of your donors conveniently grouped together. If you can’t find it, the 3-Day coaches can send it to you). Send each donor a personal message or note asking them to match or increase what they gave last year, naming the amount they gave in the past, in case they forgot. If every person gives at least as much as they did before, you’ll find yourself at or near your goal in no time. (Here are some other reasons why asking for a specific amount is a great fundraising tactic.) We’ve crunched the numbers, and 3-Day donors are more likely to increase their donation amounts over time, rather than decrease them.

Add a Gimmick or a Goal — If you feel like a standard fundraising ask won’t be enough to persuade your past donors to give again, try adding an attention-grabbing angle to inspire them. Say you’re fundraising for your 10th 3-Day; ask donors to increase what they gave last year by 10%. Or perhaps your lifetime fundraising total is close to a notable number (you’ve raised $16,500 over the past 7 years, for example); entreat your supporters to help you get to that milestone total (“Help me make it to $20,000 in 2016!”).IMG_8057

Don’t Make Assumptions — Paula emphasized the point about not shying away from asking people for donations because you think that they’ll say no: “Don’t assume friends and family won’t donate. Always ask them, and they can decide if they will donate or not.” Furthermore, don’t automatically assume that a lack of response means no; just because someone doesn’t donate right away doesn’t mean that they never will. Following up periodically with updates about your progress is a great way to remind procrastinating donors that there’s still time to support you. Many 3-Day participants report that it’s the second or third request that gets the donation. So don’t give up after just one try.

Focus on the Cause — For as amazing an experience as the 3-Day is for participants, at its core is an awful disease that has affected so many of us personally. Remind your donors that, while your 60 miles of walking is an important accomplishment and an unforgettable experience, it’s really their fundraising dollars that are making a huge difference in pushing us closer and closer to ending breast cancer forever. Share how much you—with your donors’ help—have raised over your years as a 3-Day participant (and if you walked in 2015, share how much your event raised in total), and let them know where those dollars are going. In the past 13 years, 3-Day participants and donors have raised more than $800 million. Direct them to The3Day.org/Komen for more information about how their donations are making a difference.IMG_8454

Try Something New — Mixing things up (hosting a fundraising event, pursuing corporate gifts, cashing in on the power of matching gifts) can be a whole new fundraising strategy for you, or simply a way to supplement other fundraising tactics that have worked for you in the past. Paula says, “If you feel you have tapped out friends and family, consider a fundraising party, or other means—market your talents!” And Paula would know; she has held Boobapalooza, her backyard fundraising extravaganza, seven times, and it has become a much-anticipated party that raises thousands of dollars every time.

Share Your Experience — As someone who has done the 3-Day before, you can show your donors the power of the 3-Day event itself and move them to generosity. Create an online photo album of past events you’ve participated in, or go ‘old school’ and make up a photo collage to copy and send out with mailed letters. If you let your donors see firsthand your remarkable commitment to the 3-Day and the powerful effect the 3-Day experience has had on your life, they will be inspired to support you with donations. Paula is great about making sure her supporters feel included in her journey when she communicates with them: “I always make it about what we have done, meaning my past donors have already ‘participated’ as well. I remind them of what we have accomplished and what we can still do together.” If you somehow got through your 3-Day journey without taking any pictures, we have some good ones at The3Day.org/Pinterest that you can use.IMG_7298

Say Thank You — This is particularly important if you’re asking past donors to give again. When you’re writing your fundraising letter, be sure to include a heartfelt thank you to folks who have supported you before. Thank them by name and let them know that your 3-Day journey would not have been possible without their help. Recognize their past gift first before you ask for the next.


Walkers who come back to the 3-Day year after year are such an incredible part of what makes the 3-Day so special. We’re always here to help our walkers—new and veteran—to reach their goals. Let us know how we can help you!