email

...now browsing by tag

 
 

Getting your story publicity

Written by on August 7, 2013 at 12:04 pm

Do you need help getting the word out to people in your local area about the MS Challenge Walk?

Do you want people where you live to know about your personal commitment to fundraising for MS?

If you answered yes to either of these questions, approaching your local newspaper and asking them to do a human interest story about you and your participation in the MS Challenge Walk is a great way to get the word out.

A new resource in the Challenge Walk participant center will make it easier for you with sample letters for reaching out to newspaper editors and radio stations, and suggesting talking points for your interview. Please visit the page and see what resources are available to you.

Be sure to check out our other publicity stories, too!

Sue has been an MS Challenge Walker since 2003. She began her journey with MS in honor of two good friends who were diagnosed with MS in the early 1980s; since then, the list of people she proudly walks for has grown.  Sue is committed to continue her fundraising efforts for as long as it takes.  She has made lifelong friends at MS Challenge Walk and looks forward to spending one weekend each September with the ladies of Cabin 56! Sue works for UBS Financial Services in Boston and is a professional violinist. She lives in Woburn, MA, with her son, Nathan.

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 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 #11: Send reminders

Written by on July 21, 2010 at 10:42 am

With the MS Challenge Walk less than two months away, chances are you've begun your fundraising in earnest. Depending on when you started, now may be a good time to remind your potential donors of your progress toward your goal and that you need their help to reach it.

Since I walk for my mom, who has MS, I send my postal solicitation letter around Mother's Day every year. That's four months before the walk, which puts July at a halfway point to my fundraising deadline. By now, I have collected dozens of checks and online donations — yet less than half of the people I solicited have responded. I hope many more of them want to, but summer vacations inspire forgetfulness of more mundane tasks, and mail gets piled in the corner of the kitchen with my SASE at the bottom. A gentle reminder helps these friends and family avoid the "Oh, crap, I forgot!" moment that occurs when they realize in late September that you've already walked!

Since I have already reached out to my donors postally, I send reminders via email. You may do this via your Participant Center or regular email. If the latter, be sure to include a link to your online donation page. Just like including a SASE makes it easy to receive checks, providing a link makes it easy for donors to click and donate.

If you feel uncomfortable nagging your friends, remember that that's not what you're doing. You're providing them the opportunity to help someone they care about and be a part of something greater. Fewer people will begrudge you that than will 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.

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.

You just never know…

Written by on June 7, 2010 at 10:32 am

Fundraising is always a challenge to everyone. I'm noticing that last year, since it was my first year asking people, the donations came in pretty quickly. This year, well, maybe the economy has something to do with it, as it seems to be going slower. Asking people for money isn't always easy but, I've learned that you never know until you ask! People do surprise you!

My team and I put on a large fundraiser last year that went well, and we are hoping this year also goes well. How do I get the donations, money, or raffle items for these events? Just ask! Make copies of your letters, flyers, tax information, and whatever else you'll need, and get out there! I keep event flyers in my car and in my purse, because you never know when you might need them. When going to a party, dinner, or shopping, you might ask the business there for help — or you just might run into someone that you haven't seen in a while and invite them to your event.

As for personal donations: reminders are essential! I know a lot of people send out donations via email, but I've found that some people need that hardcopy, so send them out regular old snail mail. Be sure to include a stamp — it will come back to you faster. For those who you send via email, send a gentle reminder; some people just really do forget.

Good luck to all who are fundraising, and thank you for all you do!

Wendy, the captain of Team WWW (Walk With Wendy), was diagnosed with MS in 2006.  Although she cut down on her work hours during the past year, she still loves her job as a teacher.  Wendy lives in Attleboro, MA, with her supportive husband and 9-year-old son, who provides inspiration for her daily!

Ask and you shall receive

Written by on August 10, 2009 at 10:03 am

I have to admit, I was nervous about reaching this year's fundraising goal. We are dealing with an unstable economy, and we all know people who are struggling financially. I had a friend who walked in previous years and decided to take this year off because she did not want to reach out ask for money this year. 

I approached this year's fundraising with the attitude that this was not going to be a record breaking year. This is my fifth year doing the walk, and it was hard for me to ask the same network or people for money. I sent out my emails, mentioning that I recognized that people are struggling. Within minutes of sending my first email blast, I was overwhelmed with the number of donations and inspirational messages. It is overwhelming to see the continued support that friends and family provide each year. I actually had a huge "a-ha!" moment when I realized that people will reach into their pockets even in these tough times.  Friends, family, and strangers continue to support a cause which which they have a personal connection. They will also find a way to support something that makes them feel they are making a difference. I had people tell me that they set aside this money every year in anticipation of getting my email. I had no idea!

We are getting down to the last weeks of fundraising. Don't be afraid to ask for support. I think that you will be surprised with people's generosity and their need to be a part of something positive.

Five more weeks. Woo-hoooo!!!

Caroline is getting ready to walk her fifth MS Challenge Walk. This is also the anniversary of when she was herself diagnosed with MS. Her walking team is Kranny's Cruisin' Divas. Caroline spoke at last year's last year's August Celebration and is a member of the walk's steering committee.

Turn every email into a fundraising opportunity

Written by on July 3, 2009 at 12:02 pm

Asking for money is perhaps the hardest part of the MS Challenge Walk. Fortunately, there are many ways to do so. I rely primarily on postal mail, having sent 142 letters of solicitation with self-addressed stamped envelopes (SASEs) back on May 7th.

Another approach is online, and if you're reading this blog, then you're probably a computer maven. Perhaps you don't rely on online communication to the extent I do (since May 7th, I've sent 1,368 personal emails… make that 1,369), but you probably send at least a few messages each day. Why not add an innocuous reminder to each outgoing email that you're campaigning for a world free from multiple sclerosis?

You can do this by adding a brief line to the end of your emails. If you already sign your emails with your name, just extend it a bit further by writing, "I'm walking 50 miles to end multiple sclerosis. Can you help?" Then include a link to your online participant center (which you can make really short — easy for including in an email!).

You can automate your emails so that they always include this closing text by default. Look in your email program on how to define a "signature". For example, here's how to do so in Microsoft Outlook and Gmail.

Adding a signature won't cost you any money, and once it's automated, it won't cost you any time, either. Make every email you send work for you!

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.