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Fundraising on Facebook

Written by on January 26, 2011 at 2:21 pm

As we start to kick our team's fundraising into gear, I activated the Facebook "Boundless Fundraising" tool recently. For those who haven't seen this yet, just log into your Participant Center, click on the "Fundraise with Facebook" icon near the end of the page, and it will take you through a few easy steps so that you can fundraising for the Challenge Walk directly through your Facebook page!

Although this application no longer offers a thermometer on your profile like it used to, it will still share your fundraising progress with your friends, encouraging them to help you reach your goal. You'll need to issue these updates manually, not automatically like before. Full instructions are available online.

Boundless Fundraising

Fundraising on Facebook is just a click away.


Boundless Fundraising is really an easy process and usually results in donations from old friends that you wouldn't have normally secured. Good luck fundraising!

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.

A trove of tweets

Written by on September 21, 2010 at 11:27 am

Over the course of the three days of the MS Challenge Walk 2010, Challenge Blogger Emily Kahm reported live via the microblogging service Twitter. By using her cell phone, she could send brief messages about what she was seeing, doing, or feeling to the Internet, where anyone could read them. She told her family about this opportunity before the event, allowing them and anyone else interested to follow her first experience of the MS Challenge Walk as it was happening. This story could be read in real-time, for free and without registration, either on Twitter or here on the blog.

To reflect on the record of tweets Kahm wrote, I've compiled her 40 messages, each fewer than 140 characters, here in chronological order. (Other Twitter users are listed at the bottom of this post.)

  • Almost packed, almost ready to get going-let's get this walk started! Sep. 10, 2010 2:12 PM
  • Defeated the traffic heading towards the Cape-on the bus and headed out! What a pretty area! Sep. 10, 2010 5:01 PM
  • Just checked in-got a green sticker, which the volunteer assured me would get me lots of hugs-apparently people love first timers! Sep. 10, 2010 6:02 PM
  • Just met Wendy, a fellow blogger, of team Walk With Wendy. She mentioned there being an ice cream truck on the route-I'll be looking for it! Sep. 10, 2010 6:09 PM
  • Omg SO MUCH FOOD. Chocolate milkshakes=ultimate pre-walk drink. Sep. 10, 2010 6:38 PM
  • Mama Hen made her appearance on stage-nothing like a grown woman in a chicken suit to get us raring for a 20 mile Saturday! Sep. 10, 2010 8:12 PM
  • So that med tent is seriously well stocked-I didn't know there were so many ways to treat blisters, but I'll probably be thankful tomorrow! Sep. 10, 2010 8:43 PM
  • 6:20am, honking horn, U2 blaring…there are worse ways to wake up. Sep. 11, 2010 6:29 AM
  • Quite the energetic breakfast crew! Lots of people eating considering wake-up call was 10 minutes ago. But why would they serve decaf here? Sep. 11, 2010 6:57 AM
  • @kgagne is off to join bike crew, Im waiting to represent MO in the state flag parade…seems like a good time to stretch! Sep. 11, 2010 7:52 AM
  • No MO flag for me :-( Maybe next year? Sep. 11, 2010 8:17 AM
  • Walking with Jennifer of EMD Serono-already gone almost 4 miles? Not sure how that happened! Sep. 11, 2010 10:01 AM
  • Maybe around 6 miles…body is fine but feet are unhappy. Where is that next rest stop? Sep. 11, 2010 11:03 AM
  • 6.6 mile marker! The next rest stop really WAS just around the corner! Sep. 11, 2010 11:10 AM
  • Free ice cream at 7.5 miles!!! Thank you hyannis ice cream! And the next stop is lunch :-) Sep. 11, 2010 11:38 AM
  • Going to the beach to hit the turnaround before getting lunch…so…where's the beach? Sep. 11, 2010 12:39 PM
  • Taking tight shoes off swollen feet…didn't know anything could feel that satisfying! Sep. 11, 2010 1:27 PM
  • One of the last to leave lunch-surprise surprise. But the feet are feeling better after a stop in the med tent! Sep. 11, 2010 1:57 PM
  • After a 1/2 hour of solitary walking, finally spotted another walker! How far back from the pack am I?! Sep. 11, 2010 2:25 PM
  • Just passed the Gilligans Island rest stop. Got some gatorade from a rather manly Ginger. 6.4 miles to go! Sep. 11, 2010 2:49 PM
  • 2nd stop at the med tents complete. 3 brand new blisters i've earned! Thank goodness the finish line is only 4 more miles. Sep. 11, 2010 3:45 PM
  • Still a couple miles out…Id go for the sprint to the finish if I didn't think my feet would fall off. Hope @kgagne reserved me a massage! Sep. 11, 2010 4:22 PM
  • OMG IM DONE. And here 10 minutes before my massage. Shoes come OFF! Sep. 11, 2010 5:20 PM
  • God bless the med tent! Watching the slideshow now :-) Sep. 11, 2010 7:18 PM
  • BUSY MORNING. Wake up call @ 5:30, headed straight to breakfast, then to the med tent to get some blisters drained and bandaged. Sep. 12, 2010 7:12 AM
  • Then came back to pack, and discovered my cabin mates had done the lions share of the cleaning…now off to the starting line! Sep. 12, 2010 7:13 AM
  • Yet another med tent visit, now at the 2nd rest stop…and they have DUNKIN!! Sep. 12, 2010 9:04 AM
  • Just had the same EMT at the rest stop that i had last night! Here's to hoping thats the last of my new blisters. Sep. 12, 2010 9:45 AM
  • Never thought Id be so grateful to see a sidewalk! Been some traffic on the roads, so now we don't have to dodge cars anymore! Sep. 12, 2010 10:35 AM
  • Last rest stop! @Rossiwheels, Jojoba, Cocktails for a Cure-lots of teams hanging out here. 1.75 miles-even with throbbing feet, it's doable. Sep. 12, 2010 10:54 AM
  • In the home stretch! We've got a support vehicle cruising beside us blaring Beat It :-) Sep. 12, 2010 11:26 AM
  • At the middle school!!! No more massages, but I got to use a real bathroom and have donned my blue shirt. Now…food!!! Sep. 12, 2010 12:08 PM
  • Last walkers coming in now! Welcome to the party, Sarahs Sponsors! Soon we'll be taking off for the finish line-on a trolley! Sep. 12, 2010 12:24 PM
  • Lots of blue shirts here…the people who have MS are a small group compared to all the people who care about them! Sep. 12, 2010 12:33 PM
  • On the trolley with Gordons Team, Walk With Wendy, Jojoba, Mashpokha, and my one MSChief Maker teammate @kgagne! Job well done, everybody! Sep. 12, 2010 1:06 PM
  • Almost fell asleep on the trolley…just waiting at the stop. Come on, someone give us the go ahead to get to the finish line! Sep. 12, 2010 1:37 PM
  • And………FINISH! Sep. 12, 2010 1:47 PM
  • Jumped up to touch the finish sign…not a great idea when your feet are this sore! :-) Sep. 12, 2010 1:48 PM
  • All done! Hope to be back to do it all again next year-but with one more day and 20 more miles. They claim it doesn't hurt that much worse. Sep. 12, 2010 2:11 PM
  • Like the General says, the important thing is that we decided to do something. And once MS is history, we'll just find another cause. Sep. 12, 2010 2:13 PM

Other folks who were tweeting over the weekend included Chris Cullinan, Gregory Kulowiec, Aaron Cunningham, Heidi Dyer, Lindsay, Jodi Dwyer, Brian Rossi, and Todd Krohne. If you're on Twitter, be sure to follow them!

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.

Tweets from the trail

Written by on September 10, 2010 at 1:00 pm

As promised, here are my last ten Twitter tweets from the MS Challenge Walk! I'm limited to 140 characters, so the messages are short. I also shouldn't be using my cell phone while walking, so I'll probably be updating only at rest stops.

The newest tweets are on the top. Refresh this page regularly to see new ones, or visit us on Twitter.

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

Kahmmie was a first-year walker in 2010 and had just started to get involved with the MS community, with the inspiration of her then significant other, Ken, this site's webmaster. She lived in the Boston area and attended graduate school full-time.

Live reporting from the Challenge Walk

Written by on September 6, 2010 at 1:26 pm

Those who participate in the MS Challenge Walk share the Cape Cod Rail Trail with 600 other walkers, but everyone's different walking speeds quickly break everyone up into smaller groups. As everyone spreads out, it's hard to know what's happening to those in front of or behind you, or to find out later what one person's experience was. Friends and family who are rooting for us from home have an even harder time vicariously experiencing the MS Challenge Walk.

This year, all these worries fly away when we report live from the MS Challenge Walk via Twitter. Throughout the weekend, first-time walker and MS Challenge Blogger Emily Kahm will be sending brief updates to the microblogging service under the screen name @MSChallengeWalk. It will be a fascinating opportunity to virtually walk alongside her and to watch someone's first MS Challenge Walk unfold in real-time.

Twitter logoIf your friends or family want to read Kahm's Twitter updates from their computer, tell them to come back to this site's home page on Friday, where we'll they'll find the latest ten tweets being automatically updated throughout the weekend. On-the-go readers can follow Kahm's updates by installing the free Twitter app on your iPhone or your BlackBerry. Other cell phones users can sign up for a free Twitter account and then enable mobile updates.

Although it's wise to have a cell phone with you on the trail in case of emergency, remember this rule: "Walkers may not wear earphones, headphones, or use radios or cellular phones while walking." That's why Kahm will be stepping off the trail or stopping at rest stops before pulling out her mobile device to post her latest update. If you want to read her tweets, please be safe and do the same.

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.

Fundraising Tip #15: Promoting your fundraiser on the event calendar

Written by on August 18, 2010 at 2:38 pm

Some folks rely solely on solicitation letters for their fundraising. Others — especially teams — complement this approach by hosting a variety of events, from dinner parties to yard sales to bowlathons. But no matter how creative the occasion and passionate its hosts, fundraisers need promotion to attract a potential donors. So what's the easiest way to promote your event?

Why, by letting us do it for you, of course!

Event calendarNo doubt you've seen many fundraisers listed on this site over the summer. The next month continues to be filled with such opportunities. A quick look at the calendar shows a baseball game in Dracut and a clambake in Denver this Saturday; a restaurant outing and a training walk on Sunday; a dinner in Portsmouth on Tuesday; a pottery-painting party next Wednesday; and a baseball game and a training walk next Sunday. Phew! Many of you are intent on those last-minute fundraisers, apparently!

It's not too late to be included on this list — just fill out this online form with your event details. This will put the event on this blog's homepage, where it'll be seen by hundreds of people and emailed to more; put it on our Facebook page, where it will show up in our hundreds of fans' news feeds; and even get it tweeted, where Boston-area event calendars might see it.

There are a few caveats: the event calendar is not well-suited for recurring events (eg, something that happens every Tuesday) or events that have no specific time or place (such as an online sale). But submit these events anyway, and we'll work with you to find ways to publicize it.

Getting others to promote your event for you is more tactful than your own blatant plugs, but it's worth doing both. If you're on Facebook, post your Challenge Blog event listing to your own Facebook profile and invite your friends to come.

May all your fundraisers be the successes they deserve!

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.

Using your Participant Center to enter offline gifts

Written by on July 16, 2010 at 10:02 am

Do you have checks from donors that you would like to instantly show in your fundraising total on your Participant Center? Instead of waiting until after you send in your donations to the National MS Society (donation processing is currently taking up to three weeks), you can enter in these gifts as offline donations. Using this method, you and your donors see their name scrolling on your page and the updated total of your fundraising without waiting.

To enter offline donations, just follow these instructions:

  1. Log into your Participant Center.
  2. At the top of your Participant Center, click on the "My Progress" button.
  3. When the page appears, look to the "Gift Summary" box.
  4. Click on the link "Enter gifts received offline".
  5. The page that will appear will be a form for the information of the check holder/donor. Fill out this form, indicating how the payment was made and for what amount and how they would like their name displayed on the "Fundraising Honor Roll".
  6. The donation is now listed in your fundraising as type "Offline (Unconfirmed)".
  7. You can then send them to our P.O. Box address (with the proper paperwork), and they will be confirmed by our data entry department.

We have created a visual demonstration of these instructions on YouTube:

For more details, see our offline gift guidelines. If you have any other questions about entering offline donations or logging into your Participant Center, please feel free to contact the MS Challenge Walk Team.

Kara is the former Development Coordinator for the Greater New England Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Fundraising Tip #9: Using online tools

Written by on July 7, 2010 at 11:01 am

The MS Challenge Walk is an annual event that gives us the sense of community we need to do what we do all year round. The rest of the year, it's difficult, if not impossible, for us to get together in person. That's why online communications, such as this blog and our Facebook page, are such wonderful opportunities to complement, not substitute, that vital face-to-face interaction. Those same venues can be used to help you meet your goal of a world free from MS.

Boundless FundraisingIf you belong to Facebook, then you can enhance your profile by displaying your fundraising progress and reminding friends how to donate. See our instructions on how to use Boundless Fundraising.

If you prefer the one-to-one communication of personal email, there's a way to make that work to your advantage, too. By adding a brief reminder of your goal to the end of every email, your friends and family will find it convenient to click to your participant center and donate online. Learn how to add an email signature.

Want to make it easy to tell people how to donate online? Don't send them a really long Web address that's hard to remember. Create your own personalized shortcut.

Finally, if you are holding or organizing a fundraising event, be sure to publicize it! Add it to our event calendar, and we'll make sure all of this blog's readers and all our Facebook fans know about it.

What other online tools are you using to fundraise for the MS Challenge Walk? What online resources can we provide you to help you meet your goal?

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.

Share your stories on the Challenge Blog message board

Written by on May 24, 2010 at 10:47 am

It's been said that "multiple sclerosis is a terrible way to meet wonderful people." And it's true: although few of us would wish this condition on anyone, it nonetheless brings us together to share a common goal, inspire each other to greatness, and become the best of friends.

Although the Challenge Walk is the best opportunity to engage in that team spirit, the Internet brings us ways to keep in touch year-round. Today, I'd like to introduce you to a new way to meet your fellow walkers online.

This blog now sports a message board where anyone can post their thoughts. Whether it's fundraising, team-building, training, or gear, you can write about whatever topics YOU want to talk about. You can answer other people's questions, comment on their stories, and share your own. It's completely up to you whether you want to quietly read or jump in with your own messages.

Chances are you already have an account on another service, be it Facebook, MySpace, Yahoo!, Twitter, AOL, or others. Don't worry — the Challenge Blog forum isn't yet another site for you to sign up for! You can log in with the same username you use on those other sites. Once you do, you can even be automatically emailed anytime a conversation you've participated in receives a reply. No more having to remember to check back to see if anyone's responded to your question — now you won't miss a thing! If you want to see every message posted to the forum, you can also sign up for email alerts.

Visit our new message board today and introduce yourself! If you have any questions, suggestions, or concerns, please let us know.

UPDATE: The forum was closed on Monday, November 14, 2011. Thanks to all who participated!

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.