3-Day Fundraising for Introverts

“I’m too shy to ask people for money.”

“I don’t know that many people.”

“I live in a small town so my resources are limited.”

When it comes to fundraising for the 3-Day, we hear lots of reasons why walkers are nervous or hesitant about diving in. In many cases, that fundraising anxiety is rooted in a very personal place. Are you an introvert? Typically quiet and uncomfortable with confrontations (even positive ones), many introverts cringe at the thought of asking people for donations. Or in other cases, you not be fearful of asking for donations, except you don’t know very many people to ask. What’s an introverted walker to do?

The 3-Day coaches—all of whom have personal experience with fundraising for the 3-Day themselves—address these concerns from participants all the time, and they’ve shared some ideas and strategies that will help 3-Day participants of all personalities and situations be successful with their fundraising efforts.

Delegate to the Extroverts in Your Life – If you personally are uneasy about asking people for donations, go to some of your more outgoing friends or relatives and ask them to help. We all know those people who aren’t afraid to talk to anyone, and they are wonderful to have in your corner. Ask them post links to your fundraising page on their Facebook, have them stand with you outside the market to collect donations (your precocious and adorable kids are perfect for this job!), or task them with handing out your donation form to their co-workers. Your extroverted friends can be a great asset to your fundraising efforts.

The Kindness of Strangers – If you don’t know very many people whom you can ask directly for donations, there are things you can do to benefit from the generosity of people you don’t even know. “Start simple,” says Tara, the Atlanta 3-Day Local Events Coach. “Put out cans for change at local stores or restaurants, do a restaurant night where they give you a portion of the sales and all you have to do is stand at the door and hand out your flyers during the time they allow. You can make a few hundred dollars at a time with a bake sale at your child’s school, a garage sale, or by setting up outside the local grocery store with pink balloons and information on what you are doing. Even if people don’t give money right away, always hand them your donation form and let them decide to give later.” Your potential donors don’t have to be your best friends. The dry cleaner, your child’s teacher, librarian, coffee shop clerk, neighbor, mailman, dentist, hairstylist – any of these people may have a personal connection to breast cancer and would love to make a donation.2015_3DAY_SEAsun_EDB  (705)

Start Somewhere Comfortable – Michigan 3-Day Participant Coach Jennifer shared this story about a first-time walker she helped: “She really wanted to walk but was very worried about the fundraising and hated the thought of asking people for money. Together, we decided to start with a group of people that she already felt comfortable with: her church. She got up at her church’s Sunday services to speak briefly about the 3-Day and about her fundraising goal. She was very nervous about this, but she know it was a safe and welcoming place, so she did it.  Not only did she get donations from church members but the church itself gave her a check for $1000 directly.” Whether it’s your church, your office, or your immediate family, if you start by asking people you’re very comfortable and familiar with, it will get you going in the right direction and give you the confidence to open that circle even wider when you’re ready.

The Power of Technology – We like to encourage 3-Dayers to ask for donations face-to-face when possible, because that personal contact is really good at compelling people to donate. But for some people, the thought of that kind of interaction is just too intimidating. In that case, the internet is an outstanding resource. Being able to take time to write out a fundraising email or Facebook post allows you to get your wording just right and not have to deal with the awkwardness or discomfort you may feel with a face-to-face request for donations. The internet also allows you to reach much farther than your own immediate community. Even if you live in a small town or far away from your closest friends and family members, technology makes it so easy to reach them across the miles. The 3-Day has a Facebook app that you can set up to post on your behalf, or you can write your own posts on a regular basis that will reach your friends no matter where they live. Same goes for email. It’s fast, easy and free to send email messages to everyone you have an email address for (and I do mean everyone), and if you email from your Participant Center, your message will automatically include a link to your donation page. 2015_3DAY_ATL_GF_0360

Go Old Fashioned – On the other hand, several coaches swear by the power of good ‘ol postal mail. Alyssa, one of the 3-Day’s social media coaches, shared, “My favorite and most successful fundraising tactic was writing a letter and MAILING it. Snail mail, not email. People seem to really respond to something tangible like a heartfelt letter in their hands. Include your donation form (you can write the personal URL for your donation page on the top, in case they want to donate online), a stamped return envelope, a deadline you want to meet, and sign your name (with a pen! Don’t just type it). This really shows people you mean business and have enough passion to give them everything they need to donate besides the check and pen.” Twin Cities Local Events Coach Stephanie agrees. “Mail each letter in a brightly colored envelope or if you have young kids get them involved and have them decorate the envelope for you. Your donors will be sure to open a piece of mail that is hand-written and jumps out of the mailbox at them.”

Something In Return – Ann, the Local Events Coach for the Michigan 3-Day (and a self-proclaimed introvert) uses social media as her go-to fundraising tool, but she knows that people like getting stuff, so she also ties in donor incentives. “I often do giveaways, sales, or auctions and Facebook and Twitter are my main ways of driving awareness and participation in those events.” She also likes to hold restaurant fundraisers, knowing that hey, people have to eat! Folks in her community get a tasty meal and a night of no cooking, and her fundraising account gets a nice bump in dollars. “They’re good ‘in-person’ events because you don’t actually have to interact with people if you don’t want to. If you CAN manage to at least stop by people’s tables and say hello and thank you, you can definitely increase the money you raise with some conversation. But if you absolutely can’t bring yourself to talk to folks, it’s a-ok too, because you’ll still earn funds just from them eating at the restaurant that night!”

Don’t Ask. Instead, Tell Your Story – Paula, the Participant Coach for the Seattle 3-Day, says that you can send a powerful message to your potential donors without ever actually asking them for money. “Write a letter or a Facebook post to tell everyone what you are doing and why. ‘I have decided to do something I never thought possible–walk 60 miles over 3 days–and here’s why.’ Then share your own reason for walking. For example, ‘I had to say goodbye to a dear friend this year after she lost her battle with breast cancer, and vowed that I would honor her memory by challenging myself to walk in the 3-Day and raise $2,300 that will provide research, treatment and education so others are spared the loss of a loved one. Nothing is going to stop me in reaching my goal. Here’s how you can help,’ then share the link to your fundraising page.” Make the story heartfelt and personal to you, and it will become personal to your donors as well.  2015_3DAY_DFWsun_EDB (159)

Team Up! – Many teams take on fundraising as a group, then divide up the proceeds amongst team members who helped with the efforts. “Speak with a coach to get you connected to a team,” says Dallas/Fort Worth 3-Day Local Events Coach Gayla. “Even if you don’t live close by, there are things you can do to include yourself with the team’s fundraisers. Whether it’s selling raffle tickets, creating flyers, calling restaurants to set up fundraisers, etc., this is the kind of help each team needs to have successful fundraisers.”

Keep Your Expectations Realistic – This is important advice for ALL 3-Day fundraisers, introverts and extroverts alike. For the majority of 3-Day walkers, fundraising is a slow-and-steady process. No matter which fundraising strategies you use, more than likely, it will take you several weeks or even months to work up to your $2,300 goal. That’s okay! Don’t get discouraged if it’s taking a long time, just keep chipping away at it. If you approach your fundraising with the realistic expectation that it will take time, you will remain motivated to keep going. And as always, your biggest motivation to not give up should be whatever it was that motivated you to take on the 3-Day to begin with.

8 Reasons Why You Haven’t Started Fundraising, and How to Fix Them

There are good reasons why many walkers sign up for the 3-Day months in advance of their events. A lot of it has to do with training: getting your body ready to walk 60 miles is a gradual process that takes time. But maybe more pressing than training is fundraising: raising the $2,300 required to walk the 3-Day is a task that, in most cases, is achieved gradually over many weeks or months.

Even knowing that, many walkers find themselves putting off their fundraising at this time of year. We’re familiar with the reasons why these delays occur, and have some advice for moving past the fundraising procrastination and getting started early.3DAY_2016_Social_Text_FundraisingFriday_1

Excuse: “Starting my fundraising takes a long time.”
Response: It doesn’t have to. A lot of times, walkers look at fundraising with an enormous expectation in mind: I have to raise all $2,300 right now. If that’s the expectation that you are putting on yourself, then yes, getting started could be daunting. At times like these, it’s important to remember that any start is a good start. Don’t look at the entire objective, just look at the smaller goal of getting yourself off of the $0 mark. Getting started is as simple as asking one person for one donation today.

Excuse: “My event is [6, 7, 8, 9] months away.”
Response: How many times have you looked at the calendar and thought, “Where did the last month go?!” Time has a way of passing very quickly. You don’t want to look back later in the year and wish that you still had 6 months left for fundraising. Think how much better it will be to look back and say, “I sure am glad I got it done early!”

Excuse: “I have tons of time.”
Response: See above. Really, why wait? The great thing about fundraising is that you don’t have to stick to a set schedule other than “reach your goal before your event.” That’s it. The same can’t be said for training (if you started trying to crank out 15-mile training walks in March, you’d probably be burnt out by the time your event gets here) or other event prep (I mean, you can pack your bag now if you want to, but aren’t you really going to need those sneakers and sports bras throughout the spring and summer?). So use this time now to get going on fundraising, and free up your time later for those other things.

Excuse: “My donors said they want to wait until my event gets closer.”
Response: It’s natural for a donor to look at an event that isn’t happening until later in the summer or fall and think, I can wait to donate. Remind them that funds raised for the 3-Day don’t sit in a bank account until they end of the year, they go to work right away, funding vital research, education, screening and treatment programs. A donation made today could conceivably help someone tomorrow.

Excuse: “People are waiting to do their taxes to see if they have money to spend.”
Response: This may be true for some of your donors, but that absolutely shouldn’t stop you from asking for donations now. A lot of people have already done their taxes and know what kind of refund they’ll be getting, and even if they haven’t, it could actually benefit you to put the idea in their heads that they should donate some of their refund to you.

Excuse: “My team raises funds together, and I’m still recruiting teammates.”
Response: Yes, a lot of teams work on fundraising as a group; in most cases, this means working together to hold high-yield fundraising events. But even if your team is not quite whole yet and you don’t feel ready to dive into planning your fundraising event, start your individual fundraising anyway. Ask for donations on Facebook, hit up your closest friends and family for personal donations, send out a fundraising letter to your email contacts. When it’s time to rally the team for group fundraising efforts, you’ll already be off to a great start with your own fundraising goal.

Excuse: “I don’t know what to say in my fundraising letter.”
Response: Look no further than your Participant Center! In it, you’ll find numerous sample letters that you can use as-is, or as a starting point that will inspire your own words to flow. The3Day.org/letters has even more. Your own 3-Day friends and teammates are also a great resource for letter-writing ideas; ask them to share what has worked for them. And if you’re still looking for more sample letters to get you going, try calling your 3-Day coach (800-996-3DAY). Some coaches have been known to keep their own collection of letters that they’ve liked or used over the years.

Excuse: “A lot of my donors have questions/concerns about donating to Susan G. Komen, and I don’t know how to answer them.”
Response: Giving to a charitable organization is a personal decision, and of course your donors want to feel informed and confident about giving to Komen. We have a number of resources, including some very insightful (and easily sharable) infographics that are new for 2016 3-Day participants and supporters. You can find the infographics and links to several other documents and fact sheets by visiting The3Day.org/Komen. Share these with your donors!



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.