Keeping the “fun” in fundraising

TORONTO July 8th. Digital Champion Cory Pagett was introduced to the world of running at the Pride and Remembrance Run in 2008. This year, he is excited to bring his love of running and his work as a volunteer and mentor with LGBTQ youth together as he runs the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon for the Sherbourne Health Centre’s SOY (Supporting Our Youth Program.) You can connect with Cory on Twitter @CMDPcomm.

Keeping the “fun” in fundraising. By Cory Pagett

Since I began running as an adult, part of my motivation has been the charity component of racing. While I enjoyed the physical benefits of dedicating myself to training, I also quickly learned about the capacity to raise awareness about causes that are important to me. As time went on, it became a sort of catch phrase for me to add “meaning to my miles.” (I realize we measure in kilometres in Canada, but it didn’t roll off the tongue as easily.)

Once again this year, my participation in the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon is connected with an effort to raise funds. This time I am running for the Sherbourne Health Centre’s SOY (Supporting Our Youth Program.) I initially became involved the organization as a volunteer at their Monday drop-in for LGBTQ youth who are homeless or facing housing challenges. In addition to providing meals, there are social/support groups, and arts-based and recreational programs for all LGBT youth. Most importantly, SOY provides a safe space for youth to come and talk to someone who will listen. More recently, I have also become part of the one-on-one mentoring program, where I have been matched up with youth for a more direct relationship.

As you will see from the Charity Challenge page on the STWM website, there are hundreds of great organizations to choose from. Even if you have already registered, you can still make the decision to add a charity challenge to your experience. While I certainly enjoy this element, here are some thoughts to make sure that you keep the “fun” in fundraising!

1) Choose a cause that has a personal connection for you – Not only will you be more motivated to raise funds, it is also easier to personalize your requests for funds when you can explain why the cause is so important for you. This means having a small personal story on your fundraising page or blog that doesn’t come across as a general template. Photos are a great way to make your appeal more engaging.

2) Make use of donation tools available to you – Technology can be your friend and most charities make collecting funds easy with online donations systems that help you send emails to your contacts, track donations, and set a visual goal. This year, STWM launched the Charity Challenge app which you can download free here for Apple and here for Android.

3) Show some creativity – Don’t forget about the chance to engage with people and show a little imagination. Host a bake sale, a clothing swap, a garage sale or a dinner party with the proceeds going to your charity. This way, your donors will feel like they are actively participating in your campaign.

4) Flex some social media muscle – I first joined Twitter last year in advance of the NYC Marathon as a way to reach beyond just friends and family as I was fundraising for Team for Kids. The online running community is very strong and willing to help spread the word.

5) Exercise gratitude – We all receive many donation requests throughout the year, so regardless of the donation amount, be sure to send a thank you to all the people who support your campaign! I often add into my fundraising appeal that even an email of support is appreciated.

If this is your first time fundraising and running, don’t hesitate to drop me a line @CMDPcomm and I’ll be happy to share some more details about my experiences reaching both of these goals!

Who are you running for at STWM this year? How is your fundraising going? Let us know in the comments below.

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