Just Ask

June 27th, 2011 | Posted by john in Fund Raising Tips - (Comments Off on Just Ask)

My first year walking on the 3-Day I had a hard time raising funds to meet my minimum. I have talked to several people since then that have said the same thing. The first year is just hard to get going. At the time I thought that it was just because people didn’t want to donate and because of that I was having a hard time. With several years between me and that year now, I think I can look back and say pretty confidently that my issue had to do with lack of focus on one key component to fund raising.

That same year, I was in a Bible study group with a guy named Mike Carrell. Mike’s job is in sales and even though I have never seen him at his job I can’t imagine a world where he is not good at it. Mike is the kind of person that gets along with everyone. He listens attentively to your stories and shows genuine interest in the things you talk about. If you are in a group he will pull you into a conversation because he sees that you aren’t in it. He is a genuinely good guy. I bring all this up, not so that you will seek him out to become his friend, but to give you background to where I was reminded of thus common sense advice.

One day, Mike and I and some others were talking about something. I honestly don’t remember what, but I can tell you that it wasn’t about the 3-Day. I tried to start typing what the conversation was but I just don’t remember. In a nutshell someone was thinking about asking someone else for something. Vague, but it serves the point of the story. Mike listens to the conversation and then says something to the effect of, “They can’t say yes if you don’t ask.'” Ok, those probably weren’t the exact words used, but it is the sentiment: if you don’t ask someone for something, you’re a whole lot less likely to get it than if you do ask for it. It seems really common sense, but I think a lot of us forget that and get so tied up in being afraid of asking for donations that we forget that simple concept.

That first year I was really good about telling people that I was walking in the 3-Day. There were a lot of oohs and ahhhs at the mileage that I was going to walk and the amount of money that I had to raise. I was not terribly good at asking people for donations to help me get to the point where I could actually do the walk.

Let’s face it. It’s easy to tell people that you are walking in this amazing event to end breast cancer. It does garner a lot of attention. And it really is a lot easier to tell people that you are doing the walk and then hope that they will get the picture than it is to actually ask them to donate. Yes, after hearing my story, some people did make a donation without me asking but I still had a long way to go. It took a little while for Mike’s advice to sink in, but once I started asking people for donations, sometimes repeatedly, my fund raising took off.

Even with that simple piece of advice, I know that it may still be difficult to start on your way to asking for donations. So here are a few things to do to get you working towards being more comfortable with asking for donations:

  • Pick a lesser goal, maybe the goal is just to get your first donation. Maybe it’s a monetary figure. Pick something attainable and work towards it and then pick a new goal.
  • Everyone always says to remember that you aren’t asking for the money for yourself. I like to take it one step further and combine it with the last item. Have you looked at your donation form? Did you notice that on the donation levels the 3-Day people gave put benchmarks for what your donation will go towards? I personally like the mammogram level ($120). I like to not only remember that I am not asking for money for myself, I am asking for money to fund Sue’s mammogram. Sue is a fictitious person I have made up representing one of the strangers that will benefit from the mammogram I helping to fund. Now I have a goal I can laser focus on, and it makes it that much easier go ask for donations.
  • Start with your sure bets. I think I have said this before, but you should always start with people you are next to certain will donate. It helps you build momentum. This person may be your mom or it may be your co-worker whose daughter you always buy girl scout cookies from. I don’t know who it is for you, but I am sure there is someone in your life that matches the description.

What’s the worst that can happen? Most likely the worst thing is going to be an answer of no. And some people are going to say no, but that’s ok. It’s just a word, no one is saying anything about your worth because they didn’t donate, they are just saying that right now they aren’t going to donate.

Right now is a good word in that sentence. Some people will say no and you know it’s over. Some people will not respond (if you are sending mail or email this is pretty common), this doesn’t really mean no, but it does mean you should follow up. I have gotten many donations from people for the simple reason that I don’t ask once, I ask week after week. Some will never donate, but a lot just forgot or meant to do it and lost the email. Stay on it, keep asking!

Just a few tips, but hopefully it will get you moving in the right direction. Remember, the key is to just ask. You may have some people say no, but you will have a whole lot more people donate than if you didn’t ask. Good luck, and I hope you reach your fund raising goals!


The First Goal

December 13th, 2010 | Posted by john in Fund Raising Tips - (Comments Off on The First Goal)

I have recently, if not always, said that in order to succeed in the 3-Day for both training and fund raising you need to start early.  It’s not even 2011 yet and I’m already starting to fund raise for my walk next year.  If I remember to do it this year, I’m going to try and post periodic goals that I will try to hit to not only accomplish my fund raising, but to help my team stay motivated to accomplish theirs as well.  Hopefully by posting this it will also help another 3-Day walker to keep their fund raising in mind and meet and exceed their fund raising requirements.  I’m walking in San Diego in 2011, so the pace at which I am intending to raise money may not be exactly what you are looking to hit, but you can definitely up the monetary goals to adjust them for what you need.  Remember, these are just goals and exceeding goals is an fantastic thing, so don’t just stop when you hit the goal!

The goal this month is more difficult than it might seem at first glance.  The goal is to raise $100 in the next 30 days.  Sounds simple enough, and really since in a previous post I said that you needed to average about $200 per month in order to hit the minimum, this is below average.  But that’s alright.  $100 is something that I think everyone can accomplish if they put their mind to it.

Here’s the twist that makes it a little difficult.  Part of the goal this month is HOW you communicate and raise those funds.  Sure it’s easy to send out a bazillion e-mails or Facebook posts or letters and raise some quick cash, but wouldn’t it be great if you had some starting money before you actually relied on those e-mail contacts and Facebook friends?  And yes, you could probably pretty easily get these funds by asking several of your family members or even donating some yourself.  But all of those things are not allowed this month.  Yes, if a family member wants to send in a donation, definitely accept it, but don’t count it as part of your $100 goal.  Count it as bonus.

But wait!  If you can’t e-mail or social network and you can’t ask family, how the heck will you raise the money and who will you raise it from?  Let’s start with the how first.  The answer is simple and I’m sure you’ve guessed it already.  Talk to people.  Whether it be on the phone or talking to them face to face I find that talking to people has a MUCH higher percentage of success than any of the other methods of fund raising.  It’s a little harder because you do actually have to talk to someone, but it’s also much harder for the person you are asking to not pay attention and just hit delete if you’re standing there right in front of them or are on the other end of the telephone line.  To be honest, most people want to help you.  But they don’t necessarily want to read your e-mail.

Now on to who you’re going to contact.  That’s simple.  Anyone and everyone that is not in your family!  If you haven’t relied upon them in the past for donations, then even better because it just widens your fund raising reach.  This could be co-workers, friends, neighbors, people in your book club, cub scout den or knitting circle, local businesses or even total strangers.  If you only have a certain amount of time, then try to focus on the people that you know you won’t be able to e-mail for one reason or another, that way when we get to the e-mail goal a little later on, you will still have plenty of people left to e-mail.  Remember these two important things when you’re asking these people for a donation:

1. You are not asking for yourself.  You’re asking for money to help save the lives of women and help eradicate breast cancer.  It’s a lot easier to ask for money when you think of it that way instead of asking people to give “you” money.

2. You’re not just asking for a donation.  You’re spreading awareness.  Make sure that people know why you’re walking.  Tell them what this money is going towards and how much you have to raise to participate.  If you happen to run into someone who seems a little more interested in most, take the time to talk to them about what you’re doing and then if they still seem pretty interested you might think about asking them to walk with you.  Let’s face it, having one more person raising $2300 for the cause is a lot better than having one more person donate $20 to the cause (though either is hugely welcome!)

The last thing I will talk about is the average.  I’m big on thinking about the average.  If I say that I have to raise $100 then that means that if I try to get every person that I ask to donate at least $20 then that means I only have to have 5 people donate.  Wow, that’s not bad.  Now, even if I only get 1 person out of every 5 that I ask to donate, I could ask 5 people a day for 5 days and be done with the $100 goal.  How awesome would that be to accomplish your first month’s goal in 5 days?  The important thing to note here is that it does require you to go out and talk to five people about the 3-Day every day for five days in order to achieve those results.

I wish you luck in achieving your goal over the next month.  Good luck, remember the earlier you start with your fund raising, the easier it will be to accomplish your goals!


Setting Goals

September 28th, 2010 | Posted by john in Fund Raising Tips | Training Tips - (3 Comments)

If you have looked into your participant center and seen the “Goal” section then you know as well as anyone that setting goals for yourself on the 3-Day is an important thing.  Goals will help you keep going and give you something to shoot for as you make your way towards and on your 3-Day journey.  But the goals that you focus on may or may not be related to fund raising.

As I see it, there are there are several different categories of goals.  This week, I hope to cover what I see as some of the different categories and maybe mention what my goals have been through the years.  Hopefully it will inspire you to expand your goals for this year or years in the future on the 3-Day.

Planned Controllable Goals

Planned controllable goals are just that.  Goals that you set out in your plan at the beginning of the year that you have a good deal of control over.  Sure, everything in the world has some outside influence on the outcome of your goals, but there are things that you have more control over than others.  For instance, the economy could have a negative influence on your fund raising, but you still have control over the methods you use to fund raise and the amount that you put into your fund raising.  You may have a goal to finish all 60 miles.  Yes, injury could take you out of that, but a good deal of control lies in your hands for how much you train to get you ready enough to hopefully make it through the walk without being injured.

Ok, so here’s my planned controllable goals this year:

  1. Complete two 3-Day walks this year.  I am halfway through with this goal!
  2. Raise the minimum fund raising for both walks and do it before the end of May.  This one was accomplished thanks to some awesome friends and family and of course the guys at TheSpeedGamers.com
  3. Use Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to raise donations.  In the past I had used some Facebook to do this, but I really wanted to push myself further with the use of Social Medial and fund raising.  I think this goal is accomplished.  I had a lot of donations from my video fund raising series and am still getting donations on both Facebook and Twitter thanks to the Winners Choice Sweepstakes.
  4. Raise a good deal of money going door to door.  So far I have raised over $800 and I’m still plugging away at it, so I would say it’s a success.

Planned Uncontrollable Goals

The next type of goal is one that you plan but you have much less control over.  In my mind, these tend to be the larger goals or the goals that you are in competition with others for.  It may be that you can put a ton of effort in there, but if the goal is too large or the competition is too stiff then you might not be able to achieve your goal.  Since these goals are larger and more long term usually than the controlled goals, they are a good way to stay motivated to keep fund raising or training or talking to people about the 3-Day moving even after I have achieved the minimum set forth by the 3-Day.  Personally, these are goals that I don’t usually share with anyone, but as time goes on, if I am making great strides towards my goals it becomes apparent to some people in my life.  Here are what my planned uncontrollable goals set this year are:

  1. Raise $20,000 – This is one that I hadn’t told anyone but the team from Boston and then only because at our first team meeting the question was asked what our goals were.  I realize that this is a fund raising goal and I could really push it and make the goal, but with the balance that I’m trying to maintain there are just to many variables to say that I can do it.  So far though, I am at about $17,000 so I would call it a success even if I don’t meet my goal.
  2. Be the top fund raiser in Dallas – This was one of my goals last year too and I didn’t make it, but that doesn’t mean that I should stop trying.  Currently I am leapfrogging with another walker over who the top fund raiser is, so I’m trying to pull out all of the stops to raise as much money as possible to achieve this goal.  I would REALLY like to make this one.

If there is anyone that would like to help me achieve one of the above goals, please donate whatever you can at http://60miles3days.com/donate.  Anything that you can donate to help me reach those goals would be hugely appreciated!

Unplanned Goals

All of the goals that I have mentioned so far have been things that, at the beginning of the year, I have planned to strive for.  This next section is for those things that cropped up through the year that I decided to make a goal of even if I hadn’t thought of it before.  This could be anything.  I am pretty sure that Jay Furr had an unplanned goal to walk in 3 3-Day walks this year.  He didn’t start out doing this, but as circumstances changed he realized that it was a possibility and set his goal to do it.  My unplanned goal this year was to be an Energizer® Keep Going® Blogger.  It came up after I had set my goals and sounded like a great thing to try out for.  There was some fantastic competition and somehow I was chosen for Dallas.

The Point

So what’s the point of all this?  It’s definitely not labeling the goals that you have.  If that were the point I could have come up with a lot better names than I did.  Something like “The Super Terrific Awesome Sparkly Goal”.  No, the point is realizing that having goals on the 3-Day, just as in life, helps you realize where you need to be going so that you can determine the best way to get there.  Once you have the goals you can start your way to accomplishing them.  How you get there is entirely up to you!

What about you?  What are your goals for the 3-Day either this year or next?  I’d really like to know, please comment and share them!


If you follow me on Twitter of know me from Facebook, you probably saw posts recently that I had reached $2600 and had done it in 17 days. I have had a couple of people ask how I did it and so I thought that it might make a good topic for something to post on the site. As with any of the fund raising advice on here, this may or may not work for you depending on several factors, some of which will be mentioned below. So let’s cover the factors of what I did to raise this money.

The Video

If you go to the Fund Raising category on this page, you’ll see several videos that I did to try and get people to donate money. I had done e-mails in the past with decent success, but I hadn’t had a whole lot of success getting my friends on Facebook to see what I had to say. I figured that if I did a video and involved the kids in it that it would be more attention grabbing than a couple lines asking for a donation. In addition, I tagged 50 of my friends on each video every time I posted a new one (I believe 50 is the limit) so that after a three I had tagged about 150 friends. Which means that their friends can see the video too. So I posted the video on Facebook and then e-mailed a link to it as well as the script for the video to friends that weren’t on Facebook.

The Challenge

The other thing that I have realized in the past years is that even if people want to donate, unless you give them a date that is some time soon and keep reminding them about it even the most well minded person will forget to donate. So here is the challenge that I issued to my friends:

I want to hit the $2500 fund raising mark in 5 weeks. I had already raised $700 from a couple of donations and a lot of going door to door, I mentioned that, told them what the money was going for and then did a little math. I said that the message was going out to about 200 people, but I knew that some people were already walking in the 3-Day and some just wouldn’t see it on time, so I estimated that only about 60 people would see it and donate in time. I divided it up and told people that if everyone that donated gave at least $30 then we would hit the goal easily. I know that setting a dollar amount usually makes people give just that much, but when I hit the goal that I set, the average donation was $95 so I think it worked out.

The Reward

With every challenge that I do, I try to have some kind of reward. Something that makes people want to give money. For my fund raiser, the reward was that if we hit the $2500 by the end of five weeks, then I would make my hair pink for both the Boston and Dallas 3-Day walks. For some people this was enough to get them excited and donating. They were just excited about the prospects of seeing me with pink hair.

Then after the second week was over, I was $495 away from the $2500 goal. On the second week, the donation were about half of what they were on the first week, but I kind of expected that. I wanted to ramp up donations again, so I issued another challenge. This time, I said that if we reached $2600 by the end of the week that not only would I have pink hair, but I would also wear a bra (on the outside of my clothes) for both walks. Now, if you’ve been on the walk before, you know that seeing guys wear bras is not unheard of, so I was fully prepared to do this. This got more people interested in donating and I even had a donor make a repeat donation (after verifying that I was indeed going to wear the bra where people could see it). With these two rewards, that didn’t cost anything substantially more (except hair dye and a bra or two), I was able to meet both goals that I set out ($2500 in 5 weeks and $2600 by the end of the third week).

Repeat! Repeat! Repeat!

I alluded to this before, but I did weekly updates of where we were with the fund raising. In these videos, I restated what we were doing, said how the fund raising was going and thanked all the people who donated the week before. I had several people thank me for sending a follow up e-mail because they would have forgotten otherwise. That’s the key thing to remember here, there are many people out there who want to donate, and there are just as many people who would possibly forget that you needed a donation. If you keep reminding them on a regular basis then they don’t have to remember on their own!

I Got the Kids Involved

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a piece about getting the kids involved in the fund raising. That’s exactly what I did here. Instead of me thanking everyone that donated, I had my kids read the names of people. They really enjoyed it and started asking me when we were going to do the next video! It was really fun to watch the video and I hope that everyone that donated got to see their names called out by Jackson and Sawyer.

AWESOME Friends!

After reading through this, it probably goes without saying that I had some awesome friends that enabled me to raise that much money that fast. This is my fourth year of participating in the 3-Day and every year I wonder if my friends will still be interested in helping me out with fund raising and every year I am pleasantly surprised with the immense amount of support that comes from them. Thank you to all the friends that made this fund raiser short and successful!

Take a look at the videos from this fund raiser that I posted and see if they help you out. Maybe you can hit a fantastic goal too!


Get the Kids Involved!

April 29th, 2010 | Posted by john in Fund Raising Tips - (3 Comments)

When you think of talking to people about fund raising, it’s hard not to think of your kids making noise and getting in the way of getting your message out. It’s very easy to think that you would do much better in your fund raising on your own, but you should really take a second and think about getting them involved. It’s for your own good, and theirs, that you get them involved when you try to do your fund raising for the 3-Day for the Cure, or for that matter any charity work.

As I mentioned in an earlier item, I have been doing a lot of door to door fund raising this year. When I started out, I wasn’t sure about taking the kids, but I had an unavoidable event that caused me to have to take my 4-year old son with me on the first outing that I did. I cringed a little bit at my prospects, I even thought that having him in tow might cause me to have to cut my expedition short, but soon I found that all of my fears were unfounded.

Sawyer was actually excited about going. He pointed out houses that we needed to visit and made sure to ring the doorbell at every house. I think he had an idea of why we were going to all these houses and he was extremely well behaved. In fact, when it came time that we had to go pick up my wife, he still wanted to go to more houses. He kept saying, “Let’s go to the next house daddy!” Talk about keeping someone motivated to keep at it!

The next weekend I was going out again and my wife suggested that I take both of the boys with me. I wasn’t sure about having both children in tow at once but I still went and it worked out just as well. I started giving away thank you gifts that week to anyone that donated and Jackson (he’s 8) asked if he could have the job of handing out the gifts. It worked out well, they both had a job that they enjoyed doing! As we walked, we came to one of Jackson’s friends’ houses. They then asked if they could go along with us to. So here I was going door to door with FOUR kids when the week before I wasn’t even sure about one! They all gave themselves individual jobs.

With all this going on, I didn’t notice a few really neat things. First, as I went to people’s doors they definitely took notice of me and listened to what I had to say. I’m sure that they wanted to know why I had four kids with me, but the fact that it caused them to listen to my message which was great. I was spreading breast cancer awareness of children!

The second thing that I noticed needs a little background. Being a man going door to door, there are definitely some houses that people just don’t want to open the door to you. When I had children with me, there was not one door that stayed closed if someone was home. In fact, it made people a lot more conversational. They all wanted to know about the four kids that were all within four years of each others age!

The last thing that I noticed was that getting them involved actually did get them involved. Jackson started to ask when I was going to go out next to raise money for breast cancer. All the kids wanted to keep going when I was ready to stop and it really seemed like they wanted to do this good thing. The next time I went out the neighbors saw us on the street and asked if they could come along again. It was really cool to see.

So involve the kids in your fund raising activities, it’s highly likely that they will help out and it’s also really likely that they will pick up something from doing such a fantastic thing for other people. Want some other evidence of how kids helped out with fund raising? Check out Beckie at Ta Ta Sisterhood’s post about her recent fund raising events, one that she had the kids help with! Also, in my fund raising video that I sent out last week, I had the kids read the names of people that had donated as a way to say thank you. It went over really well!