Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Never give up

This is the time of year that so many of us are fundraising like crazy for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's largest fundraiser: Great Strides.

The year Andrea was diagnosed with CF, was the year I started raising funds. It was January of 2001 and by May of that same year, Andrea's angels had raised $5,000. All I did was a letter writing campaign. Each year after that, the amount of money raised has gone up, except for 2010 because I took a break from fundraising. I took an entire year off from raising money, but somehow Andrea's angels still raised a little bit of money. Money was raised from people who, despite my fundraising break, donated a little something anyways. When I found out that people were giving money without me even asking them to do so, I knew immediately that I would not take a year off again from raising money we so desperately need.

When 2011 rolled round, there I was mailing letters requesting donations and thinking of ways to hold events to raise funds as well. I asked everyone I have always asked for money, and I asked new people who weren't even aware I had a child with cystic fibrosis. A friend even shaved her lovely locks off as a fundraiser we call Locks Be Gone. Her sister had done it in 2009 and it raised thousands of dollars, so she wanted to give it a try and sure enough she raised thousands of dollars too. Locks Be Gone 3 takes place this Friday, where a 3rd friend has agreed to shave off his locks...and he too has raised thousands of dollars in honor of Andrea angels!

Every year I try and think of new ways to get people to part with their money. I did a 65 Roses Countdown to Great Strides event, where a picture of Andrea was posted daily on our online donation page where she was wearing something with a rose on it. I had photographers (LandryAnna Designs, ikonix Studio, Anna Jones Photography) assist by donating their time and talent and that one event brought in a few thousand dollars. Another friend helped us by making a short, video documentary (Munoz Productions) of the life of CF and Andrea. That short video clip brought in another couple of thousand dollars for the CFF. I have friends join me online and create their own donation webpage and raise money asking their friends to contribute what they can. I'm just always amazed at everything my friends will do to help the Andrea's angels team be one of the top fundraising teams for the state of Iowa.

This year one friend that has truly amazed me has not raised thousands of dollars. She didn't hold a large fundraising event, and compared to others raised a relatively small amount of money. Yet my amazement has been huge! This friend put me at awe because she actually took on the challenge I asked all my friends take on, to find 10 people to donate $10. In this years letter, I asked everyone to not only donate what they normally do, but to find 10 people to donate $10 each so that when they mailed me their donation it would include an additional $100. Of all my friends to take on this challenge, this friend did so knowing she has never been comfortable asking for donations. Don't get me wrong, this friend has been very supportive since the beginning; she just did it by volunteering to stuff envelopes for the Iowa Chapter, inputting names on a database, overseeing the basket raffle on walk day and of course by making a donation herself. But to get her to ask others for money, that was just not her...until this year. She not only found 10 people to give $10 each, she found more than 10 people and many gave more than the $10 requested. Knowing she went out of her comfort zone to do this has meant the world to me and I just wanted to share it.

The lesson here for anyone fundraising for Great Strides is...to never give up. Continue asking for donations, even if it's the same people that never donate...because you just never know when they'll not only donate, but they may actually raise funds as well. Asking for money is not easy, and sometimes it has a lot to do with timing. There may be times it's not feasible for someone to give, and then there may be times they can give and give more than anticipated.

Our CF kids are doing so well these days because of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and all the volunteers from years past, that have raised the monies to bring us some of the best medicines we have that allow our kids to live longer. Every dollar counts towards funding the science that buys us more time, more years with our kiddos.

So don't hold back...keep on asking for donations and keep on thinking of events to raise more money. Bottom line...don't give up and never give up on those you're surrounded by.

I was so happy to get this in the mail, by my one friend who has never liked asking for money. I'm so proud of her!

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