The hardest part

Written by on May 20, 2009 at 11:57 am

The hardest part of the Walk isn't the fifty miles, it's raising the $1500. So how can you do it year after year? Here are a few tips.

The other day, one of my friends asked me what the hardest part of the Challenge Walk was, and, she added, "you have to tell me in one word." I knew what she was expecting my answer to be. After all, walking fifty miles is no piece of cake. And I am no athlete.
"Asking," I said.

Her eyebrows lifted. "Asking?"

I nodded. "Asking for money is the hardest part of all."

Soliciting donations in a terrible economy can be a daunting task. And for people involved with the Challenge Walk, asking for money is likely not a one-time thing. So how to you raise the $1,500 minimum, not just in year one, but in years two, three, four, five?

  1. Relationships count. Don't hesitate to email, call or write to families and friends. They love you and want to support you. Asking them for contributions includes them in your challenge. They have a vested interest in seeing you succeed.
  2. Explain why you need the money. Tell people not only about the Challenge Walk, but about the people it benefits: direct services, programming and grants. Make it personal.
  3. Partner with another group. Speak at a Rotary, Lions or Kiowans meeting and offer to "partner" with them on an event. By sharing the workload and splitting the ticket sales, both groups will benefit.
  4. Acknowledge every gift. "Thank you" isn't said enough. Say it often!
  5. Consider in-kind services. If an acquaintance isn't able to support you financially this year, consider asking him or her for for an in-kind donation.

Asking for money is never easy, but know this: the people living with MS thank you. Over and over again.

Diagnosed with MS in 1994, Patty responded the way many do: she refused to discuss it. It took her ten years to realize that silence isn't the answer. She, her friends and family formed the Blister Buddies for their first Challenge Walk in 2004. Patty is now on the Challenge Walk Steering Committee and chairs the PR Subcommittee. In November 2008, she became a member of the Greater NE Chapter's Board of Trustees.

1 Comments so far ↓

  1. Ken Ken says:

    Great advice, Patty. It's especially important to acknowledge every gift, particularly for checks sent in the mail, as I've found donors get nervous that the check was lost if it isn't acknowledged. I now send e-cards to those supporters for whom I have email addresses, and postal thank-you cards for the rest, followed by a wrap-up letter to everyone after the event. For the online portion, I personally use Apple Mail's Stationery feature, but your online participant center will also remind you to send follow-up emails.