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Raising $1,500 is no easy task. These tips will help!

 

The Hall of heroes that keeps me walking

Written by on August 22, 2012 at 10:05 am

Six years ago, the Nintendo Wii came out. As someone who was raised with Mario and Zelda, I was first in line at the game store to get the new video game console. As I'm also Computerworld's youngest editor, I didn't share this interest with many co-workers, but I nonetheless brought the Wii to our annual editorial retreat, figuring it would be a novelty.

Sure enough, the intuitive way in which the Wii's tennis and bowling games are played made it a hit. As he tried the bowling game himself, one co-worker, Mark Hall, commented that his late mother, an avid bowler, would probably have lived longer had she been able to enjoy her favorite sport in this low-impact, risk-free fashion. I empathized, saying that I hoped my mother would similarly enjoy the Wii, since she's not as physically active since being diagnosed with MS.

Mark paused his swing and looked at me. "My wife has MS," he said — not a secret, but not one we expected to have in common.

Although I was still Computerworld's newest hire, had just met Mark and had never met his wife Cathie, and had been doing the MS Challenge Walk for only two years at that point, I boldly solicited them in my fundraising efforts, sending them a letter that concluded, "I am truly grateful for your support and feel fortunate to be able to walk the paths of Cape Cod for those who cannot." What I received in return was more valuable than any impact on my bottom line.

I have noted on this blog and in person what I first do when I receive someone's donation in the mail: I look not at the value of the check, but at the donor's words of encouragement. Every year, Cathie — whom to this day I have still not met — takes a deeply personal and generous perspective that she shares in a note enclosed with her donation. With her permission, I am sharing her letter this year:

Letter from Cathie Hall

A transcript of the above scan follows:

Dear Ken,

I am compelled to echo your own words, in your fundraising letter:

"I am truly grateful…" for your and others' consistent MS fundraising efforts and participation in MS Challenge Walk(s)!!!!! Year after year.

and

"I feel fortunate…" to have been the beneficiary of consistent support & aid from family, friends, and even strangers during my 30 years face-to-face with MS; to have a life better than I imagined it would be.

I send you Mark's and my contribution to your 2012 Cape Cod 50-mile Challenge Walk for MS; our very best wishes for perfect walking weather, Sept. 7—9; and my deep, heartfelt appreciation for all you do to defeat MS!

Thank you!

Cathie Hall

I am humbled and awed by the spirit of individuals such as Cathie. It is for heroes like them that I am glad to walk, peddle, and cheer my way across Cape Cod time and time again, until it is no longer necessary.

Ken joined the MS Challenge Walk in 2005, more than a decade after his mother was diagnosed. After walking for three years and 150 miles, he switched to the support crew and now rides his bicycle along the trail, providing whatever encouragement (and snacks!) he can to the 600 walkers. He is also an alumnus of the event's steering committee and is this site's webmaster.

Posting flyers at the office

Written by on August 16, 2012 at 10:44 am

Fundraising in the workplace can be hard. When I started in my current office five years ago, every posteri or email soliciting donations from co-workers had to be approved by human resources. Given such stringent requirements, not much fundraising happened at work.

The economy is different now, and benefits are fewer, so HR has relaxed its rules on what we can get away with. It's no longer uncommon to see flyers stuck to the break room refrigerators, advertising an employee's favorite cause. I had some luck getting in on that action last year, so I decided to put up my own poster again.

Printing my solicitation letter wouldn't do, though. When someone is sitting at a computer or at their home office, they have time to read an email or postal letter that was addressed specifically to them. By contrast, someone passing through a kitchen area at work is not likely to slow down to absorb a full page of text.

I thought I might be challenged (no pun intended) to create something simpler, as I recently finished a master's degree in publishing, but without taking the one course that would've addressed my weakness: design. Fortunately, the Macintosh program Pages, part of Apple's iWork suite, had plenty of templates for me to choose from.

Apple iWork Pages template chooser

Apple's iWork offers many predesigned templates to help you create a poster.

Of course, most people will use Microsoft Word, but it too has a "Project Gallery" with both flyers and event posters to choose from.

In Pages, I chose to make a "Sports Event Poster Small" that would print on a standard 8.5" x 11" piece of paper. I changed the headline, all the filler text, the year, and the contact info (using a link shortener), then dragged and dropped in some photos — one of me at a National MS Society event, the other of the reason I participate in the MS Challenge Walk. Bam! Done:

Ken Gagne's workplace flyer

It took me about two minutes to make this poster!

As I discovered, creating an attractive flyer or poster for the workplace is easy — and, if your employer allows it, it can be lucrative, since you know your target audience is the gainfully employed. If you give them the opportunity, what's their excuse NOT to give?

Ken joined the MS Challenge Walk in 2005, more than a decade after his mother was diagnosed. After walking for three years and 150 miles, he switched to the support crew and now rides his bicycle along the trail, providing whatever encouragement (and snacks!) he can to the 600 walkers. He is also an alumnus of the event's steering committee and is this site's webmaster.

What's so special about a bunch of candles?

Written by on August 14, 2012 at 3:36 pm

CandleThe captain of The Rhode Trippers, Paige Magratten, whom we interviewed on this blog three months ago, isn't the only member of her family who's active with MS Challenge Walk. Her husband and daughter also do their part to bring the world closer to a cure for multiple sclerosis.

One way 16-year-old Colby Magratten has supported her mom is through her way with words. Two years ago, she penned the poem "The Light of Hope". This year, she produced this solicitation letter that Paige found worth sharing with the MS Challenge Blog community:

In seven weeks The Rhode Trippers will be walking 50 miles on Cape Cod. This will be Brooks' 11th, 50 mile walk: an amazing gift he continues to give each year. The gift of your thoughts and support I feel is a big factor in my "remission" of 11 years now. This weekend always recharges my batteries for the whole year to come. Below are thoughts that Colby shared for our letter this year.

What's so special about a bunch of candles?

A candle is just a string dipped in wax but hundreds of them lit and held high can truly be extraordinary. Under a huge tent hundreds of amazing people all hold up their candles to show their hope for a world free of multiple sclerosis.

With blisters on their feet, these people walk fifty miles over three days all to help people suffering from this disease. We all, one-by-one, lift up our light not letting the wind blow it out. As I wait for my turn to light up the sky, I think of my father. Fighting off the pain that millions of steps bring, trying to find the energy for the miles ahead.

We are there as: one heart, one pain, and one hope for a cure. Why am I here? My reason is my mother. She is still able to stand with us and hold her candle, unlike others who will sit in a chair forever. But still, she is limited. The simple things like taking a walk or going to a museum are major struggles for her. Though she is in remission, that doesn't mean she's going to get better. That is the reason why I stand with my candle; I am standing strong for her. I need to be strong and help her gain strength from this light.

So I stand watching a shared flame. A flame passed on to others affected by MS. We stand as part of a family of strangers holding their candles high for the entire world to see. So let me ask you this: What's so special about a bunch of candles?

Ken joined the MS Challenge Walk in 2005, more than a decade after his mother was diagnosed. After walking for three years and 150 miles, he switched to the support crew and now rides his bicycle along the trail, providing whatever encouragement (and snacks!) he can to the 600 walkers. He is also an alumnus of the event's steering committee and is this site's webmaster.

It's Fun in Fundraising Week!

Written by on July 31, 2012 at 8:22 am

We know MS Challenge Walkers (and some crew) fundraise year round.

Since the MS Challenge Walk is fast approaching, we'd like to offer some incentives for you to boost your fundraising this week.

There are 3 chances to win!

  • If you raise at least $250 online during fundraising week you will be entered to win a $25 a restaurant gift card.
  • If you make a self-donation of $10 or more during fundraising week will be entered to win a $10 Dunkin Donuts gift card.
  • Our grand prize winner who raises the most during fundraising week will receive a $100 American Express gift card.

Raising $1,500 can be a challenge for walkers, but we know that you are not deterred! You know that the MS Challenge Walk pushes you to exceed what you think are your limits, physically and philanthropically.

Our goal is to support and encourage your fundraising efforts every step of the way. One of the keys to successful fundraising for the MS Challenge Walk is to ask absolutely everyone for support.  The more donors you solicit, the more donations you get!

Did you know that walkers who make self-pledges and ask friends for donations typically raise up to six times more money than those who only do one or the other?

Want to learn how others fundraise and see what events are coming up? Check out our MS Challenge Blog to get fundraising ideas, and browse the events calendar.

I look forward to seeing everyone on Cape Cod in a little over a month.

All the best,

Danielle Kempe
Coordinator
MS Challenge Walk Cape Cod 

P.S. Remember to "like" us on Facebook!

Danielle was a Development Manager for the Greater New England Chapter of the National MS Society, managing MS Challenge Walk 2011 and 2012. Prior to joining the staff of the National MS Society, Danielle served as a crew team captain during the 2009 and 2010 MS Challenge Walks.

Notes from the Jumpstart

Written by on June 1, 2012 at 9:09 am

Thank you to the 60 Challenge Walk participants who attended our Jumpstart Your Fundraising sessions on 2/25 and 5/19.

We greatly appreciate veteran Challenge Walk fundraisers working with new participants (and other veterans who are looking for new ideas) to help increase their fundraising.

Here's a summary of the speakers:

  • Tracy Bolduc spoke about the success of her comedy night for team "Stop MS(ing) With Us" and how other teams can replicate their success.
  • Ann Scannell spoke about the Cocktails for a Cure cocktail party and they lesson's they've learned to improve each year.
  • Jack Enright, captain of Team Brian, spoke about his letter writing campaign and how to keep expanding the pool of potential donors you reach out to.
  • Ken Gagne, Challenge Blog webmaster, bike crew member, and Captain of the MSchief Makers, explained how to use the online tools the National MS Society provides.
  • Kevin Lombardi, Co-Captain of the Lombardi Party, shared the different events his team uses to fundraise and raise awareness of MS: including a pub crawl, comedy night, concert, and raffles at each event. New this year, his team has placed lottery card trees in local salons resulting in a 300+% return on investment. He's also started an eBay account for his team, and has offered to list things for other MS Challenge Walk participants, and mail the sale proceeds to them.
  • Kevin did a great job in fostering the idea that we are teams, but not against each other — that we are all there for the same goal — to find the cure!

  • Patty Thorpe, team captain of the Blister Buddies, spoke about presenting to rotary clubs about MS & the MS Challenge Walk, and holding 2 events, Chowderfest and Night at the Museum, to target different audiences.

Here's a list of some of the ideas discussed:

  • Wine Chest Raffle from TWA
  • Scarfs being sold by new Challenge Walker Dorrie Riley
  • Restaurant nights out with proceeds going to the MS Challenge Walk — Try to target local restaurants or restaurants that do not require a patron to use a flyer for your team to get a donation. Flatbread, Cosi, Fresh City, Not Your Average Joes and Fuddruckers were recommended.
  • Joint team events (Teams working together on a fundraising event and sharing the proceeds)
  • "Jeans Day" at work in exchange for donations
  • Sending letters to a friend or family member's address book. See Ken's blog on sending letters to his brother's contacts for an example.
  • Including return addressed envelopes in any mailed letters you send
  • Theme raffle baskets at a fundraising event
  • Balloon pop with prize numbers inside
  • Lottery basket in salons
  • Party of Gold
  • Grill Raffle from Sole Train
  • Use VistaPrint for business card and postcard purchases at a deep discount for non-profits
  • Contact your local paper to share why to walk and you may get some unexpected donations
  • Asking your donors to check if their company offers matching gifts, to increase their donation

Thank you to everyone who attended. If you have questions about fundraising, please let us know. Our speakers and National MS Society staff will be happy to answer your questions, and connect you with a mentor (if you would like one).

Danielle was a Development Manager for the Greater New England Chapter of the National MS Society, managing MS Challenge Walk 2011 and 2012. Prior to joining the staff of the National MS Society, Danielle served as a crew team captain during the 2009 and 2010 MS Challenge Walks.

Fundraising materials available from the National MS Society

Written by on May 29, 2012 at 9:48 am

Are you looking for supplies to use for fundraising, or information on the MS Challenge Walk Cape Cod to display at a fundraising event?

We can provide the following materials to you, free of charge:

  • MS Challenge Walk Cape Cod brochures
  • MS Challenge Walk Cape Cod posters
  • Verification of participation letter (to be used when approaching businesses for donations)
  • MS Awareness Bracelets (to be sold for fundraising)
  • Pin Up Footprints (to be sold for fundraising)
  • E-mail Danielle.Kempe@nmss.org with the type and quantity of the supplies you would like, and I will get supplies out to you.

    Remember to check our online Fundraising & Training Guide for the MS Challenge Walk Cape Cod for fundraising and training advice. Team captains, we also offer an online team captain guide!

    Danielle was a Development Manager for the Greater New England Chapter of the National MS Society, managing MS Challenge Walk 2011 and 2012. Prior to joining the staff of the National MS Society, Danielle served as a crew team captain during the 2009 and 2010 MS Challenge Walks.

Edible Arrangements promotion a success!

Written by on November 4, 2011 at 8:35 am

You may remember back in September when you were encouraged to purchase an "Orange Blossom" from Edible Arrangements. You may have ordered an Orange Blossom yourself and many of you asked your friends to order, too.

On Thursday, October 27th, Nick D'Alleva, Edible Arrangements store owner, stopped by to present the National MS Society Greater New England Chapter with a check for $5,240!

Nick D'Alleva's Edible Arrangements check

What a delicious sum!


Nick owns three Edible Arrangements franchises — one each in Lynn, Peabody and Beverly. His family has been touched by multiple sclerosis. "My brother-in-law has MS and his mother passed away from it," Nick said. "Now his daughter, my niece, has it and they have two cousins as well that have it."

Nick brought the idea of the Orange Blossom donation program to Edible Arrangements, and he's proud that the success will lead to expanding it.

Thanks to your orders, Edible Arrangements and National MS Society staff are in discussions to have a nationwide MS Awareness month program in March, with donations going to the National MS Society. We appreciate everyone's support!

Danielle was a Development Manager for the Greater New England Chapter of the National MS Society, managing MS Challenge Walk 2011 and 2012. Prior to joining the staff of the National MS Society, Danielle served as a crew team captain during the 2009 and 2010 MS Challenge Walks.

Team Apparel

Written by on July 13, 2011 at 9:09 am

Are you planning on purchasing team t-shirts or other apparel to wear during the Cape Cod Challenge Walk? If you purchase a tee shirt through Spreadshirt, 20% of the proceeds will be donated to the National MS Society. The shirt can be fully customized with your team's name, logo, or any other design you wish.

If you order merchandise between July 13 and 20, use coupon code CHALLENGE (case-sensitive!) during checkout to receive 15% off the orders. Spreadshirt will still donate 20% of the pre-discount price.

Looking good while raising funds has never been so easy!

Danielle was a Development Manager for the Greater New England Chapter of the National MS Society, managing MS Challenge Walk 2011 and 2012. Prior to joining the staff of the National MS Society, Danielle served as a crew team captain during the 2009 and 2010 MS Challenge Walks.