Doug Haslam

Gischeleman: "To Create With the Mind"

By

Pan-Mass Challenge: 3-Year Fundraising Review & Thoughts on Doing Good, Well

For the last three years, I have raised money for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston as one of 5,000 riders in the Pan-Mass Challenge. Due to the fact that many people in my city (Newton, MA) also ride the PMC, and the fact that I do a lot of online social networking for fun and for work, I have conducted the bulk of my fundraising online.

While raising money to combat a disease that has affected most of us in some way is an experience fueled by emotions, I thought I would take a more clinical look at how I used social networks for fundraising.

First, a look at the numbers. As you can see, fundraising totals have risen each year:

Meanwhile, the number of donors each year has increased as well:

As has the average donation:

Importantly, repeat donors- and the percentage of those repeating- has gone up each year.

So how has my fundraising been increasingly successful, despite a lingering recession and competition from other cause-related fundraisers?

Social Networks Have Increased Exponentially

When I first rode the PMC in 2008, I was approaching 4,000 followers on Twitter. That was not bad at the time for the young service, but that number is over 25,000 now, and the reach of my appeals has increased correspondingly.

My Facebook network is much more modest. Also, in 2008 I don;t think I had many Facebook friends who were not also on Twitter. By 2009 that had changed drastically, as high school and college classmates, as well as family members and other friends, streamed onto Facebook. Starting with that second year I felt I was reaching  different crowd.

My use of social networks to raise money in the first place was born from the fact that hundreds of people from my home city, Newton, MA, ride the PMC. I knew I couldn’t count on neighbors alone to raise the minimum amount. Plus, my work as it related to social media meant that I should experiment as much as possible to see what works.

Media Helps

Early on, I recognized that using video would help make my fundraising appeal more entertaining. So, I found ways to attach video camera to my bike and took training videos to share with my friends.

Here’s an early one, from 2008:

Personal Touches Help

One thing I made sure to do was to keep things personal- always thank people as I should, respecting privacy but doing so publicly as appropriate. In year 2 (2009), I asked permission to profile sponsors, in a series that created a bit of interest (or at least some appreciation).

Also, I found it important to send hand-written thank you notes. I cannot tell you how gratifying it is to see people remark how pleased they are to receive notes. I overcame a little shyness to include a picture of myself from the ride in each note- to bring a little bit of the event, and proof I participated- to the people who opened their checkbooks for me and the PMC. Also, I hope it inspires others to remember these traditional, offline methods of giving thanks.

Edit: Adding a photo to emphasize the point that visual media help draw attention to your most important content.

Photo by Adam Cohen

In the end, I believe that creating goodwill, while being insistent and not forgetting to ask for the donation (and not being afraid to do it frequently), has been important. That’s pretty old-fashioned, but coupled with the increased reach that social networks afford, it creates a pretty effective way to do good.

31 Responses to Pan-Mass Challenge: 3-Year Fundraising Review & Thoughts on Doing Good, Well

  1. I think you’re also underestimating the personal thank you notes you send out after the race.

    Although I think it’s odd I have more pics of you at my apartment than my parents.

  2. Doug Haslam says:

    Jeremy,

    I did mention it, but you are right it needs more emphasis. I added the photo that I had meant to, but forgot in my rush to publish

  3. Oops – read it too fast, then.

  4. Doug Haslam says:

    More pictures, just for you ;P

  5. Beth Kanter says:

    Thanks so much for sharing the data and trends and reflecting over your three years of campaigns. I did a study for the Case Foundation where we interviewed nonprofits on best practices using social media for fundraising. We discovered the same as you – thank yous and video storytelling. A few more as well – you can find it here:
    http://www.casefoundation.org/blog/agc-conversational-case-studies-special-sauce-contest-success

  6. Pingback: PMC fundraising goes virtual « The Pan-Mass Challenge Blog

  7. Leslie Clay says:

    Just as our mothers have been telling us for decades – writing thank you notes pays off and that note should also include something personal about the gift/giver (hence your photo from the race – great idea!)

  8. Lance says:

    @Lesliem you are so right. I used to complain to my mother all the time when she made me write thank you notes, but they pay off huge!

  9. Pingback: >On Being Thankful | healthitjunkie

  10. Pingback: Doug Haslam » Blog Archive » Pan-Mass Challenge: 2011 Fundraising Overview

  11. Nevertheless another issue you’ll need to take careof is the baby shower wording for your baby shower invitations.
    A common household screen can be used for that purpose.

    Some people like to write a poem from the baby’s level of view or only a short, poem to say thank
    you.

    Also visit my web-site: baby shower at work invitations (http://Chilp.it/)

  12. You should take part in a contest for one
    of the best sites on the net. I most certainly will highly recommend
    this website!

    Feel free to visit my blog post: juices for weight loss (http://Www.ufpa.br)

  13. Pretty great post. I juxt stumbled upon your blog and wanted to mention that
    I’ve truly enjoyed surfing around your blog posts.
    In any case I will be subscribing to your rss feed and I am hoping you
    write once more soon!

    My site pesi healthcare courses (fittingtraining.over-blog.com)

  14. Hi, I think your sige might be having browser compatibility issues.
    When I look at your blog in Opera, iit looks fine but when opening
    in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping.
    I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, very good blog!

    my blog post; branding gratis surabaya

  15. My brother recommended I might like this blog. He was entirely
    right. This post truly made my day. You can not imagine just
    how much time I had spent for this information! Thanks!

  16. Pretty! This has been an extremely wonderful article. Many thanks for supplying this info.

  17. My brother suggested I might like this blog.

    He was entirely right. This post actually made my day.
    You can not imagine just how much time I had spent for this information!
    Thanks!

  18. whoah this weblog is excellent i love reading your posts.
    Stay up the great work! You know, a lot of individuals are looking round
    for this information, you can help them greatly.

  19. I do not leave many responses, but i did some searching and
    wound up here Pan-Mass Challenge: 3-Year Fundraising Review & Thoughts on Doing Good,
    Well | Doug Haslam. And I do have a couple of questions for you if it’s allright.
    Is it only me or does it give the impression like some of these responses come across as
    if they are left by brain dead people? :-P And, if you are writing at additional online social
    sites, I’d like to follow everything fresh you have to post.

    Could you make a list of every one of your community pages like your twitter feed,
    Facebook page or linkedin profile?

  20. However, thhe conposition of dust in the pit walls iss actuallly unknown. Doctors at the National
    University studies Nino’s case till he was three.
    Add to that the very eccentric nature of
    Chavez, the mman who told the world he admires Idi Amin Dada, thee dictator who terrorized Uganda for 8 years, and Carlos the Jackal, the 1970′s
    international terrorist, and has mazde alliances with rogue state
    Iran as well as Russia.

    my web site :: Tours Of Bogota

  21. You’re so cool! I do not believe I’ve read through a single thing like that before.
    So nice to find somebody with some unique thoughts on this subject.
    Really.. many thanks for starting this up. This web site is
    one thing that is required on the web, someone with a bit of originality!

    Feel free to surf to my webpage – หนังxฟรี

  22. google.com says:

    First off I would like to say superb blog! I had a quick question in which I’d like to ask if you don’t mind.

    I was curious to find out how you center yourself and clear your
    thoughts before writing. I have had a difficult time clearing my mind in getting my thoughts out there.

    I truly do enjoy writing however it just seems like
    the first 10 to 15 minutes tend to be lost simply just trying to figure out how to begin. Any ideas or hints?
    Appreciate it!

  23. Each and every person dies to have just one loo of that gorgeous lady delicately draped in an ecstatic bridal jewellery set.
    Satin headbands and jewel-encrusted barrettes and clips make a
    huge statement at very little cost. Whatever the name is, itt
    is very much ideal for all the occasions liuke bridal party, Neww Year’s Eve,
    holiday get together, wedding day, anniversary, special shows
    and even for everyday fashion.

    Loook at my site :: custom wedding and engagement jewellery

  24. Source: Personal Experience Product package instructions.
    Get a load oof all the troubles we humans grapple with.
    Lots of people are conscious of the products that they are employing.

    Feel free to visit my weblog: san antonio pest control; san antonio exterminator

  25. If you do not knhow any of these sports, a skiing vacation is the best time to learn them.

    The most adventurous way to reach Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu
    (and avoid the expensive train ticket) is to travel beyond Ollantaytambo
    inn a local bbus to the town of Samta Maria (15 Soles frolm Cusco).
    Lett them know if you have a preferred method of being awakened, such as being touched on your
    hand, your shoulder, or simply spokenn to.

    Visit my weblog – Arvind Pandit

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>