Saturday, January 19, 2013

Fundraising Tips

It is that time of year again! Around this time every year, I begin to go a little Great Strides crazy. Last year, Kayla's Krusaders was the top fundraising team at the Knoxville Great Strides walk. Some people wonder why I put so much effort into my fundraising. Others ask me what I do to successfully raise so much money. I'm going to let you in on all of the tricks. :)

I'll start off by saying that my parents set up my drive for fundraising as soon as I was diagnosed. Unlike most with cystic fibrosis, I was not diagnosed until I was six years old. My parents did not put their heads in the sand and hide. Instead, they made a decision to do everything they could to try to find a cure for me. That first year, they began participating in Great Strides and raising money. After I graduated from college, I realized that they should no longer have to be doing all of the work. It's my life they are fighting for.... I should be fighting just as hard or harder. I took the reigns of the fundraising a couple of years ago, but my parents still do a ton of work with it. We came up with a fun name for the team. Instead of just being Team Rose, we became Kayla's Krusaders.

When I think about all of the reasons I work so hard to raise money, I realize how widespread they are. The first and probably the most important is the fact that I have cystic fibrosis. If I am not willing to work towards finding a cure, how could I ask someone else to do it for me? I have plans to stick around for a while, and you better believe that I'm going to do everything in my power to  make that happen. Along those same lines, I have so many people who I owe all of my efforts to. My husband wants me around, and I know he wants to find a cure maybe even more than I do. All of my friends and family would like to see the disease defeated. When I think about others who are fighting CF, my heart goes out to the young children and their parents who are in the beginning stages of dealing with the disease. How wonderful would it be if those kids never had to hear the words that I heard a few years ago? "You might need a lung transplant soon." Even though I am still too healthy for a transplant, those words were probably the most terrifying words I have ever heard. And then, there are the people who have lost their battle with cystic fibrosis to fight for. I don't want their fights to be in vain. I could probably go on, but I won't for now.

Now, on to how I fund raise. It is something that I find very difficult to do, because I hate asking people for money. I find that's where most people give up. You just have to remind yourself that people do want to help. I remind myself that every year before I start getting to work. Here's how I get the donations that the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation so desperately needs. My parents send a letter out to all of their family and friends. That is a huge way to bring in money. They send a self-addressed, stamped envelope with each letter, and many people send donations. I do the letter writing campaign in a slightly different way. I send a message to every single person I am friends with on Facebook. This is something I started just a few years ago, because before that, I had really kept my CF a secret from most people. I had to let the embarrassment caused by the disease go and just accept it as part of who I am. I have been blown away by the generosity of my Facebook friends. People I haven't seen since high school make donations, and friends of friends add to it as well. I ask the people I am around on a daily basis in person. The people that I work with are always willing to give something, and this year, I have many more people to ask. :) It's just another added bonus of being a teacher. Finally, last year, I designed a t-shirt for my team. I sell them for $20 each. The more shirts that are ordered, the cheaper they become. I then take all of the extra money after covering the cost of shirts, and donate it. Last year, I raised $200 from selling the shirts. When asking for donations, make sure to explain what cystic fibrosis is. Most people have no clue what it involves. They may have heard of it, but that's about it.
This is a picture the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation posted on their Facebook page. It shows the basic issues caused by cystic fibrosis, and it could be a great tool to use when fundraising.
That's it. I do four things to raise money. You just have to be willing to put yourself out there and tell your story. Be willing to fight for the cure we all want so badly!

I'll leave you with a link to an article from Forbes Magazine about Kalydeco which is a drug created with the money raised by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. One step closer to a cure.... one more reason to get out there and ask people for help! Forbes Article

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