Avon Walk: Fundraising through Social Media

11 Mar

My family was rocked by breast cancer over the summer of 2009.  My aunt silently battled the disease without seeking the help of doctors, friends or family.  When she was forced by friends to go to the hospital, we were shocked to learn that she had stage 4 Breast Cancer and only weeks to live.  I was incredibly close to my aunt and credit her with my sense of humor and sarcasm–she was the funniest person I have ever met.  This year, my cousins and I will walk in her memory in the Avon 2 Day.

There is no doubt in my mind that the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer will be an incredible experience for my cousin and myself.  I am honored to be walking in my Aunt’s memory, but I was scared out of my mind about the fundraising involved in the walk.  Each walker pledges to donate $1,800.  “$1,800!“, I thought to myself “this is going to be impossible!”.  Not only do I hate asking for money, I also felt that the dollar amount was pretty steep.  I’m really not sure what caused me to have such a gloomy outlook, if you know me you realize how out of character this was.

I really didn’t know where to start, so I figured I would attack my fundraising goal with my social media skills and work from there.  (I never in a million years thought I would reach my goal using ONLY social media, I figured I would need to have a fundraising event also)

My first step was to create a fundraising page that was: A) unique B) compelling and C) easy to access.  I did this by telling my family’s story, creating an iMovie of photos of my aunt and lastly, by creating a custom bit.ly for my fundraising page.  Simple? Yes, but also highly effective.

Second, I emailed my close friends, family and co-workers sharing a brief synopsis of our goal and purpose and the link to the donation page (The intro to this post was taken from that email). This email was sent to about 20 individuals and received a staggering response.  Never underestimate how much your friends and family care for you and for a great cause!

Third, I went to Facebook.  This is where I my social media juices really started to flow!  With each donation I received, I thanked the individual in my Facebook status by tagging their profile and also linking to my fundraising page.  This had HUGE results.  Almost every time I thanked someone for their donation, another donation would roll in.  It is all about staying top of mind, people want to donate at a time that works for them.  By keeping your cause in the Facebook newsfeed, you are bound to hit most people at a time that is convenient for them. This has been the single most effective method in my fundraising.

I think it is important to note that I have seen very little results from Twitter thus far, but will update if that changes.

Currently, I am 5 days into my fundraising efforts and I am 80% complete with my fundraising!  I still can’t believe it.  The main lessons are: A) Do not underestimate the generosity of others and B) Use your networks!

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