Jim Hillmann knows a thing or two about being a Susan G. Komen 3-Day® walker. He has completed 28 Komen 3-Day events since 2008, including all 14 events in 2011. This year again, Jim is one of a handful of walkers participating in all seven 3-Day® events – an incredible commitment! Participating in so many walks means completing an impressive amount of fundraising, so Jim employs dozens of different tactics and strategies to reach his fundraising goals.
He shared the story behind one of his fundraising strategies: recycling for cash.
“In 2012, at the suggestion of a fellow 3-Day friend, I began raising funds through recycling CRV plastic and glass bottles and aluminum cans. Although it began slowly with my first trip to the recycling center bringing in $45, the amounts gradually grew to $100, then $150 then $200 and more each trip to the recycle center.” Jim visits his local recycling center in San Jose, California about every 5-6 weeks. “In 2012, I raised $1050, then nearly $1500 in 2013 and I have already raised nearly $700 in 2014 so far, with the goal to break $2000 for the first time. Ultimately, I would like to raise enough to fully fund one 3-Day.”
Jim shared that the key to his success with raising 3-Day funds through recycling is not any different than what makes other fundraising methods successful: building a network of supporters. For his recycling efforts, he wasn’t content to just cash in whatever ended up in his own recycle bin. “What first began as two [collection] locations at work has now grown into four work locations, multiple people at church who save their recyclables, and a network of friends who do the same. The gym I work out at even allows me to have a recycling container that I collect twice a week.”
Raising money for his 3-Day events is the biggest benefit of his recycling efforts, but it’s not the only benefit. “The super part, besides the funds raised, is that I also have the opportunity to spread more breast cancer awareness. Many people have asked why I am doing this, and asked if their help really matters even though it is only a ‘small bag’ of recyclables. When this happens, the door has been opened to tell them about our wonderful 3-Day community and all that it does for those affected by breast cancer.”
Jim has an inspiring perspective on the whole thing. “With our walks, sixty miles is a long distance to travel and we accomplish it by taking one step at a time over the course of three days, not sixty miles in one long step. I relate our walks to the recyclable fundraising, letting people know that a single given bottle may not seem like much, but bottle-by-bottle, can-by-can, they really do add up both in quantity and dollars. Through their individual gatherings, when combined with others, a huge difference is being made in people’s lives.”
We applaud Jim for his creativity and dedication to fundraising for the 3-Day. To date, he and his wonderful network of “co-collectors” have raised over $3200 total since 2012. As Jim puts it, “Not only are the streets and landfills a bit cleaner, but lives have been changed!”
Tell us about ways that you have engaged your community, and what creative fundraising strategies you have you tried!