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Live tweeting MS Challenge Walk 2014

Written by on September 4, 2014 at 9:00 am

For the fourth consecutive year, walker and committee member Jennifer Yates will be live-tweeting the MS Challenge Walk Cape Cod. Her tweets and several other walkers' and volunteers' will appear on our Twitter landing page.

Share this weekend's experience with a friend and invite them to live the Challenge vicariously by following along with our tweets! Here's the link:

https://www.challengeblog.org/twitter/

The tweets will also appear live on our Facebook page, so feel free to follow along there if you prefer:

https://www.facebook.com/MSChallengeWalkCapeCod

Are you a Twitter or Instagram user? Want to get in on the action? Use hashtag #MSChallengeCapeCod!

Ken, an Arlington resident, 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.

Tweeting live from MS Challenge Walk 2013

Written by on September 5, 2013 at 8:59 am

We're pleased to welcome committee member Jennifer Rebecca Yates back to our Twitter account. As she did last year and the year before, Jen will be tweeting live from the Cape Cod Rail Trail using the official @MSChallengeWalk account starting tomorrow. This means that throughout the weekend, you or your friends and family back home can experience the event live in real time by visiting this blog to see short text messages and even photos from the route. All our tweets will also appear on the MS Challenge Walk's Facebook page!

Jen won't be the only Twitter user at MS Challenge Walk; you can follow our list of walkers to get even more perspectives. Their tweets will also be included in the below stream (but not on our Facebook page). Will you be tweeting? Let us know, and use hashtag #MSCW (short for MS Challenge Walk) in your own tweets!

[The live tweet has concluded! Please see Jen's archive of tweets for the full story.]

Ken, an Arlington resident, 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.

Jumpstart your online fundraising

Written by on February 8, 2013 at 8:11 am

A growing percentage of MS Challenge Walk fundraising occurs online — and why not? Which is easier: sending a letter to your friend in Nome, Alaska, her writing a check and returning it in your self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE), you then writing a receipt and mailing the check to the NMSS; or sending your friend an email and asking her to punch in her credit card online?

Not only does the online approach get the money into the bank more quickly, it also gives the National MS Society a bigger cut, as fewer hands need to be hired to process a check. It's a winning situation for all parties.

There are other online fundraising tools, too: you can make every email into a fundraising solicitation; a handy Facebook application can do your fundraising for you; you can promote your offline events in an online event calendar; you can even get Amazon.com to give you a piece of the action.

I reviewed all these tools and more at last month's Jumpstart Your Fundraising meeting. Didn't attend? A 20-minute recording of that presentation is available in the below YouTube video:

If you want more details about any of these opportunities, please email me or leave a comment. For more advice from Jumpstart, listen to the MS Challenge Talk audio recordings. To be alerted to future Jumpstart sessions, sign up for free email notifications!

Ken, an Arlington resident, 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 in a podcast name?

Written by on September 24, 2012 at 11:14 am

When it comes to naming something, I'm better at quantity over quality. Whether it's a book, dog, slogan, or podcast, I'll throw out dozens of awful ideas and ask someone with more sense which one is the least bad.

Take for example these team names I proposed back in 2009, from which my teammate Tracy selected "MSChief Makers"

  • MSbehavior
  • MScreants
  • MSfits
  • MSchief Makers
  • MSery Loves Company

In the instance of launching this blog back in 2009, I started off with what Internet domain I would want to register, since a site's Web address can determine how easily it is found by both users and search engines like Google. Todd Krohne made the final selection from these candidates:

  • threedaysfiftymiles.org
  • challengeblog.org
  • challengewalkers.org
  • mschallengewalkNE.org
  • MAchallengewalk.com

Three years later, we decided to add a podcast to the show. Danielle Kempe and I had to choose from these suggested names:

  • Talking for a Cure
  • The Challenge Talk
  • Walk the Walk, Talk the Talk
  • Talk the Walk
  • The Walkthrough

It was suggested that "Talking for a Cure" might capitalize on Google searches for The Talking Dead, a television show and podcast about the AMC television series The Walking Dead. But we were launching an interview series about multiple sclerosis, not zombies, and we decided to avoid that overlap as much as possible, lest we confuse our visitors.

Once we settled on MS Challenge Talk, I went to register challengetalk.org. Like any good online business, my registrar tried to upsell me by asking if I wanted to corner the market by purchasing several similar-sounding domain names. The list of suggestions read like a thesaurus run amok:

Suggested alternatives for ChallengeTalk.org

My favorites: "Dare Chat", "Venture Talk", and "Hazard Call".

I wonder how Danielle would've felt about talking to me on any of those shows??

Ken, an Arlington resident, 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.

MS Challenge Walk 2012's tweets

Written by on September 10, 2012 at 9:24 am

Thanks to everyone who participated in this year's MS Challenge Walk! Over 550 walkers and 200 crew collaborated to bring us three days, fifty miles, and $1 million toward a world free from multiple sclerosis. What a team!!

We couldn't have done it without the larger support network of friends, families, and co-workers who cheered us on physically, emotionally, and financially. We gave advocates a blow-by-blow report from the route courtesy the microblogging site Twitter. Jennifer Rebecca Yates assumed control of the account, issuing 58 "tweets" over the course of the weekend (40% more than last year!). For the first time ever, these tweets included photos from the trail and were also streamed to our Facebook page, opening the event to an even wider audience.

We'll now resume our usual Twitter schedule, but for posterity (or for those of you who missed it), here are Jen's tweets, presented in chronological order. Watch this blog in the weeks to come as we publish more media, including audio, video, and photos!

Click to continue »

Ken, an Arlington resident, 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.

Live tweets from MS Challenge Walk 2012

Written by on September 5, 2012 at 9:00 am

We're pleased to welcome committee member Jennifer Rebecca Yates back to our Twitter account. As she did last year and Emily Kahm did the year before that, Jen will be tweeting live from the Cape Cod Rail Trail using the official @MSChallengeWalk account starting tomorrow. This means that throughout the weekend, you or your friends and family back home can experience the event live in real time by visiting this blog to see short text messages and even photos from the route. All our tweets will also appear on the MS Challenge Walk's Facebook page!

Jen won't be the only Twitter user at MS Challenge Walk; you can follow our list of walkers to get even more perspectives. Their tweets will also be included in the below stream (but not on our Facebook page). Will you be tweeting? Let us know, and use hashtag #MSCW (short for MS Challenge Walk) in your own tweets!

[The live tweet has concluded! Please see Jen's archive of tweets for the full story.]

Ken, an Arlington resident, 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.

Challenge Walk 2011 tweets

Written by on September 28, 2011 at 10:33 am

Most Challenge Walkers are familiar with our Facebook page as a place to interact with other walkers and crew members. But growing in popularity for real-time communication is Twitter, through which walkers can issue short updates from their computers or cell phones. It's like the "status update" feature of Facebook as a standalone service.

Twitter has proven useful on each of the last two MS Challenge Walkers to share and document our experiences and observations while on the fifty-mile trail. Last year, first-year walker Emily Kahm tweeted live from the trail for a total of twenty brief messages across the three days and thirty kilometers. This year, ten-year veteran Jennifer Rebecca Yates issued 42 tweets from the @mschallengewalk account, producing a living diary that friends, family, walkers, and crew could read and interact with. Those tweets are now archived below, in chronological order.

We'll be even better prepared to accommodate walkers who wish to use Twitter in 2012. Are you already on the service, or do you plan to join? Let us know your screenname, and we'll add you to our list of walkers. You can also "follow" this list on Twitter to instantly subscribe to all our walkers with just a single click!


  • So many familiar faces at the Cape Codder! Yay for walk weekend! Thu Sep 08 18:50:27
  • Up bright and early to get ready to walk! See you on Hyannis Green for opening ceremonies @8! Fri Sep 09 05:54:53
  • On the bus from Kalmus Beach! Thanks to the crew for taking all the luggage! We have the best crew! Fri Sep 09 06:55:54
  • Hyannis Green is buzzing already! Less than an hour until kickoff! Fri Sep 09 07:05:27
  • Go Team Walk With Wheels!!@rossiwheels Fri Sep 09 07:19:15
  • The General's here!! Fri Sep 09 07:20:22
  • First @jackright sighting!! Fri Sep 09 07:45:17
  • And we're off!!! Fri Sep 09 08:33:51
  • 1st rest stop…all 10s!!! Fri Sep 09 09:07:57
  • Our crew's so good, they'll look for a lost bear in a porta-potty! Fri Sep 09 09:54:07
  • Aloha rest stop 4!!! Fri Sep 09 10:56:07
  • PB&J for lunch! Fluffernutter too if you're so inclined! Fri Sep 09 12:05:22
  • @jackright just skipped by. Literally. Or maybe it was dancing?!?! Fri Sep 09 12:23:41
  • Day 1 is in the books! Off to showers and massages!! Fri Sep 09 15:11:08
  • Fantastic massage by George from the Salter school!! Fri Sep 09 16:34:03
  • It's a beautiful day on the lawn outside the circus tent! Fri Sep 09 17:43:11
  • Slideshow has started in the tent! Love seeing all the pix from the day! Fri Sep 09 19:01:22
  • What fun to celebrate all the first year walkers and all the ones up to 10 years!! Sat Sep 10 00:04:56
  • The 5:30 wakeup call was sounded! Only 3 or 4 folks in this cabin heard it, it seems. Sleepy folks!! Sat Sep 10 05:38:00
  • On the road again! Sat Sep 10 07:23:37
  • The ants are marching in…to Steve's hat this morning. Much to Tee's horror! Sat Sep 10 10:50:45
  • Trapeze artists on the lawn outside the tent!!! Sat Sep 10 15:55:08
  • We have our own Challenge Walk cirque de soleil!! Sat Sep 10 17:03:20
  • The clown is now on the trapeze. This can't end well! Sat Sep 10 17:35:31
  • Finale of the trapeze gals was pretty amazing! Sat Sep 10 18:04:37
  • Another FANTASTIC slide show! Love our photographers!! Sat Sep 10 19:17:31
  • Amazing. Sun Sep 11 00:19:58
  • Fire on the beach time!! Sun Sep 11 00:48:33
  • The 5:30 wake-up call seems so much earlier on Day 3!! Sun Sep 11 05:37:31
  • On the road again for Day 3. Also remembering 9/11. Sun Sep 11 07:38:07
  • Carolyn is AMAZING!!! Sun Sep 11 10:09:02
  • Just passing Perseverance Path! Perfect street name for MSCallengeWalk! Sun Sep 11 10:11:10
  • At the school for the barbecue! Can't wait for the year we just get to have the party! Sun Sep 11 10:51:42
  • Yay for Carolyn!! Sun Sep 11 11:42:08
  • Love seeing all the smiles on the faces of the finishing walkers! Sun Sep 11 11:43:01
  • My favorite part…bike and motorcycle crews coming back! Sun Sep 11 12:15:44
  • Just had a picture with the rest of the 10-year walkers an crew! Great group!!! Sun Sep 11 12:49:03
  • At the transportation center lining up for closing ceremonies! Sun Sep 11 13:29:52
  • The town green is packed. Amazing to see everyone together! 1000 people at least! Sun Sep 11 13:55:02
  • Sad to be on the bus back to my car. Love this weekend! Love these people! Sun Sep 11 14:10:48
  • RT @rossiwheels: Those 43 MILES can kiss my butt!! -Love Carolyn @mschallengewalk Sun Sep 11 17:25:36
  • Finally home after a long journey. Happy to hand this back to Ken Gagne! Loved tweeting the walk! Mon Sep 12 03:40:31

Ken, an Arlington resident, 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.

Let the fundraising begin!

Written by on March 28, 2011 at 10:27 am

I was in Columbia, South Carolina, for the weekend as my family there hosted our team's annual fundraising golf tournament. It is always a beautiful time of year down there, and a great time is had out on the course. My deepest thanks and love go out to my family for continuing to support the National MS Society by organizing this fundraising tournament each year.

Our family's team fundraising campaign is kicked off each year with golf tournament, which raises a significant portion of the team's funds. We are fortunate for so many wonderful personal and corporate supporters.

Now that we have entered our fundraising season, I look forward to reaching out to friends, family and new co-workers (if done selectively) to ask them to support our family's team at the upcoming MS Challenge Walk. As I've been mentally (and manually) organizing my "ask", and starting to compile a list of people to solicit, I am eager to take advantage of the online tools in my Participant Center.

While its functionality (and ease) is great, I don't it to lull me into laziness in my solicitations. It would be easiest to import all the email addresses from my contact list into my Participant Center and shoot out a generic email to all, asking them for money. While there is a group of people to whom I will send such an email, I'll avoid this approach for just everyone. When you think about it, there are some people who should be sent an individualized email or letter. I mean, isn't the money they give valuable enough to take another moment to send them a special correspondence. I think it is.

The point is this: think about each person to whom you are soliciting. If someone falls into the category of receiving a more general email, that is fine. But if you come across someone who for whatever reason prompts your mind (or heart) to pause and suggest you send a personalized correspondence, follow your instincts and go that route. If you need help writing your letter, check out our advice and templates. The extra minute it will take to send them a personal solicitation may just turn out to be your biggest donor because of the attention and care you showed them. The money they give is worth your investment of time.

Todd, formerly the Director of Development for the Greater New England Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, is now the the Regional Director of FAS Capital Giving at Harvard University. In addition to reading his blog posts, you can also find Todd on Twitter.