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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.

This week is fundraising week!

Written by on July 12, 2011 at 8:08 am

Have you reached your personal fundraising goal for the MS Challenge Walk 2011? This week (July 11–15) is a great opportunity to meet your goal as well as help to move toward reaching our overall Challenge Walk MS goal of $1,150,000!

Each walker is challenged to raise $1,500. Our goal is to support and encourage your fundraising efforts every step of the way! With that in mind, we are offering three special fundraising incentives for walkers and teams participating in the Challenge Walk.

We will be hosting an informational phone and online presentation for walkers to ask questions about fundraising and also to exchange unique ways to solicit donations! Visit the event's listing for details on how you can participate.

It's not too late to register your friends and family, fundraise and join the movement.

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!  The walker with the highest number of donors as of August 15th will 'feel the love' and receive special recognition along the walk route and lunch stop each day and during the evening programs.

Mini-Challenges This Week

Fundraise Online! Each person who raises at least $250 online this week will be entered to win a fabulous gift certificate for dinner at a local restaurant!*

Show Yourself Some Love! 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? Each person who makes a self-donation of $10 or more will be entered to win a gift card for Dunkin Donuts!

THE GRAND PRIZE: The person who turns in the most money this week will win an Amazon.com gift card!

Winners will be announced on the MS Challenge Walk Facebook page on Monday, July 18th.

*Participants must raise donations online to be eligible for prizes. Enter offline donations in your participant center before mailing the checks to our PO Box.

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.

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.

Shorten your online donation page's address

Written by on June 12, 2009 at 12:47 pm

As you solicit donations, remember to make use of your online participant center, which lets donors contribute using their credit cards. It's a valuable tool that will increase the quantity and quality of your fundraising. For example, in 2008, 33% of my donations came via my online page, and those donations were 50% larger than those made by check. Apparently, people love to "charge it!"

To make donating online as easy as possible, you should consider abbreviating the address to your page. For example, my default, my donation page is found here:

http://main.nationalmssociety.org/site/TR?px=1866672&pg=personal&fr_id=10051

That's a mouthful! Your participant center has instructions on how to shorten it. For example, the alias for my personal page is

http://main.nationalmssociety.org/goto/kgagne

This method has some problems, though. First, that's still a pretty long address that's not very memorable. Second, each shortcut can be used for only one event at a time. Since the above address was created for the 2009 MS Challenge Walk, until that event is officially "closed", I can't reuse it in 2010.

Instead, try using an online tool with the dedicated function of chopping up long addresses. I recommend either bit.ly or snipurl.com. Both are free and let you define your own short and easy addresses, like mine:

http://snipurl.com/ms-gagne

Should your online donation page's address change (which it does with each MS Challenge Walk you do), you can update your bit.ly or snipurl.com shortcut to point to the new address, meaning you can use the same shortcut every year. That's one less part of your solicitation letter you have to worry about revising! These services also give you statistics on how many people click the link to visit your site, in case you're wondering how popular your page is.

Snipurl.com lets you define an alias and track its usage.

Snipurl.com lets you define an alias and track its usage.

If you need any help getting your shortcut to work, please contact me.

Here's to small addresses and large donations!

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 fundraise

Written by on May 6, 2009 at 11:30 am

The Internet is becoming an essential communications tool for many of us, both in our professional and personal lives. Every year, more and more Challenge Walk participants are using email and the web to recruit team members and solicit contributions from friends, family and co-workers. The reason is simple: by using the Internet, you can reach a greater number of people, more efficiently and with greater impact than you can by using the phone or mail alone.

The National MS Society provides every participant with free access to robust and easy-to-use email and web marketing tools to recruit, organize, and manage their fundraising and teams while helping them to solicit and keep track of their own contributors. Through your online Participant Center you can:

  • Set up a fundraising account and check your progress online
  • Create and build a personalized Web page to support your fundraising effort
  • Send emails with links directly to your personal Web page to ask for donations
  • Use email to invite and motivate team members (team captains only!)
  • Build a database of team members and contributors to facilitate future communications (you can easily enter the email addresses or upload contacts from other address book applications, such as Google Mail, Yahoo Mail, Microsoft Hotmail, Outlook, or Outlook Express)
  • Be reminded to send donation reminders and thank yous to donors

Need one-on-one training? Contact me, Kara Kelley, from the MS Challenge Walk Team, and we can work together to increase your knowledge of these tools. By using these tools, you can make 2009 your biggest fund raising year ever and bring us all one step closer to finding a cure for MS.

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