Doug Haslam

Gischeleman: "To Create With the Mind"

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Pan-Mass Challenge 2013 Fundraising Review

The new calendar closed the book on my sixth year riding the Pan-Mass Challenge. First of all, one more big Thank You to everyone who supported my participation: those of you who donated money first of all, but anyone who lent moral support, helped me train, and even got me a ride home from the ferry (something I always manage to forget to arrange; it never fails).

I am officially signed up for the 2014 ride, and am looking forward to another year of training for this 2-day ride to fight cancer, and of raising money, 100% of which goes to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. While the ride is in August, it is never too soon to donate – the link to do so is: http://bit.ly/pmcdoug.

The past few years, I have used this space to analyze my fundraising efforts and compare them to prior years. As with any analysis, the numbers are not just numbers, but hint at a story; finding and telling that story is the real fun part.

First up is the final number: the total amount raised. After a peak in 2010, this year’s total went up for the first time since then. It was an unexpected and welcome upturn, made possible not by a broader reach, but by some more generous sponsors, as we shall see:

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Average donation size skyrocketed in 2013. While the median donation amount was the usual $50, the average donation exceeded $70 for the only the second time. What helped? Two factors: first, I had three $500 donations (plus  one matching donation), after having none last year. These were all from people who increased their donations from previous years. Depending on the reasons, I will not expect that to sustain, but it shows that some steady donors can unexpectedly change their amounts. Additionally, I had one other matching corporate donation in a smaller amount, also contributing to the totals.

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Total donations slipped below 2010 levels. As shown above, the increased average donation erased this as an overall factor, but I should note this as a potential concern. Should I try to broaden my reach to new people in 2014?

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One new thing from last year that I continued was my email campaign to previous donors. I used MailChimp.com to manage the mails this time, and once again did two mailings: one in March and one in June. With MailChimp, I was able to design a still simple, but slightly more attractive email using one of my ride photos. This may have helped make the mailing more effective; as shown below, my percentage of returning donors was far higher than in any other year (more than 75%).

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I will definitely continue my email campaign for the 2014 Pan-Mass Challenge, but I will not assume the increased average donation rate will hold, and will think of ways to broaden my reach for the next fundraising campaign.

Wish me luck! And, if you are so inclined, help fight cancer with the Pan-Mass Challenge at http://bit.ly/pmcdoug. – Thank you!

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Pan-Mass Challenge 2013 in Review

With Nomo of @smacancer at #PMC2013 lunch stop, Dighton doughaslam

With Nomo, the Cancer-Fighting Sock Monkey

The Pan-Mass Challenge – my sixth – has come and gone, and this year may have been the best yet, in my unscientific opinion. The weather was beautiful, even with a little Day 1 rain, and I felt as though I was in my best riding shape.

This year I got to ride with a special guest – Nomo, the cancer-fighting sock monkey, courtesy of my friend Jennifer Stauss Windrum and her SMAC! Cancer campaign. Nomo took being tied to my handlebars for 170 miles like a champ.
I would like to thank all that have donated to support my ride against cancer and blew away my $7,500 goal – by several hundred dollars! If you would like to join in, the PMC take donations until October 1, and you can do so at: http://bit.ly/pmcdoug.

As I do every year, I took some video from my bike as I made my way from Wellesley, MA to the very tip of Cape Cod. I got some great views, and as usual I had fun pulling out some footage to assemble this short video.

Again, thanks to all!

The sunrise this year over the Bourne Bridge and along the Cape Cod Canal was extra breathtaking. While I included it in the video above, there is a little more footage in this excerpt.

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Pan-Mass Challenge 2012 Fundraising Review

Last summer, I rode in my fifth Pan-Mass Challenge. This two-day ride to benefit the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston has been the centerpiece of my summer since 2008. At first, it was an excuse to do more cycling, get more fit, and benefit a worthy cause in the process. As the years went on, it became more personal, as I lost my father-in-law, then my father, to cancer, and have seen several friends’ lives affected by cancer in various ways.

The Pan-Mass Challenge requires its riders to make a strong commitment to fundraising. With over 5,000 riders, and 100% of the funds raised going to Dana Farber, it’s hard to complain, though it is a challenge on a par with the cycling itself. The Pan-Mass Challenge in total raised $37 million for Dana Farber last year; I’m glad to have made, with your significant help, some contribution toward that total. At this time each year I take a look back at my fundraising efforts and evaluate how I did, what I did to get to that level of success, and what factors influenced the results.

First, total funds raised: I set a goal of $7,500 last year, well above the minimum of $4,300 and even the “Heavy Hitter” line of $6,600 (my fundraising page is found here). I figured I could match the level set in 2011. As you can see, my total fundraising lifted significantly the previous two years. Unfortunately, one of the main reasons was sympathy over the illness and deaths of my father-in-law and father. Still, I was grateful for the extra support which gave strength to my riding, and vowed to try to keep up the new pace.

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Another metric that rose significantly in 2011 was number of sponsors. That number held fairly steady in 2012, which is great. As I said last year, more people spreading the word is a good thing, even if I’m not raising quite the amount of money I did two years ago.

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The biggest difference in 2012 was the percentage of donors who were repeat donors. This was not an accident. One of the tactics I changed last year was to send an email to previous donors early in the year (in January or February  in addition to my customary “The Ride is Coming” email in July. It made a huge difference, and meant I could spend less energy trying to recruit new donors, as I had to do the previous year. You can be certain that I will be doing something similar again this year.

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One final note: the average donation held steady, at a pace with 2011 (as well as 2009) levels, proving what I already knew, that some of the larger donors that supported my in 2010 were one-timers. I had already accepted that, which is why I set my goal to match 2011, rather than try to meet the higher levels.

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Aside from asking last year’s sponsors to join me again, what else can I do? I blogged less frequently ast year and posted fewer training-ride videos: perhaps it is time to do more of that in 2013.

Initially, my goal for the 2013 Pan-Mass Challenge is to raise $7,500, the same as last year. If early response is good, I may revise that. I’m looking forward to another year of riding and raising funds to beat cancer. I hope you’ll join me. The site to donate is: http://bit.ly/pmcdoug.

As always – Thank you!

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Jerseys of the Pan-Mass Challenge

Last month, I completed my fifth Pan-Mass Challenge, riding my bike 170 miles over 2 days to raise money for the Jimmy Fund and fight cancer. As always, it was a well-run event, and despite the hot weather I loved every mile and biked well.

As for the fundraising, a big thank you to everyone who helped me reach my personal goal of $7,500. Despite reaching my goal, I am happy to raise more funds to help the PMC organizers reach the overall goal of $36 million. That sounds like a lot, but the Jimmy Fund and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute do great work in cancer research and treatment. Also, 100% of funds raised go directly to DFCI. So, if you are inclined to help, please donate at http://bit.ly/pmcdoug. And again, thank you.

My other, less serious challenge was doing something different with my ride video. After five years, that can be difficult. This year, I focused on the different jerseys the 5,000 riders wear, many indicating the teams they ride for in honor and memory of loved ones stricken with cancer. My view:

Music- “The Aftermath Never Adds Up” by Leaving Richmond

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Pan-Mass Challenge: Spring Training

Now that we are well into spring, I am stepping up my training for this summer’s Pan-Mass Challenge. I’ll be riding my fifth PMC in August, and I keep coming back because it’s such a well-run event, and raises money (over $30 million a year) to fight and cure cancer at Boston’s Dana Farber Cancer Institute. This has become an ever more important event and cause for me, after my father and father-in-law both passed from cancer over the last year and a half, and many friends and their families are also suffering from dealing with cancer.

Fundraising has gone well so far, thanks to many of you generous folks. Of course, we’re not done yet- as I type this, I have just under $5,000 left to reach my $7,500 goal for the event, matching last year’s total. Will you help? Please sponsor my ride at http://bit.ly/pmcdoug.

Meantime, I put together some footage from my early training rides to illustrate some of the things I typically see in Boston’s Western suburbs:

Also, after consulting many friends on Twitter and Facebook, I adopted use of the Strava app to track my rides this year. It makes keeping track of my training easier, and even shows how I do in certain segments of rides. So farm, so good. This widget shows some of my most recent rides. If you encounter this post (or this widget) later in the season, I hope you will see some greater distances- and faster speeds.

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Pan-Mass Challenge: 2011 Fundraising Overview

UPDATE: I am officially signed up for the 2012 Pan-Mass Challenge: to sponsor my ride (and make these graphs prettier next year), please go to http://bit.ly/pmcdoug to donate. Thanks!

Last year, after riding in my third Pan-Mass Challenge (an annual two-day bicycle ride/cancer fundraiser), I thought I had enough of a track record to look at fundraising trends. In that post, I saw the rise in overall fundraising, number of sponsors and average donation amount as the progression of an improving fundraising effort and the expanding reach of my social networks. This year, the numbers were different but still interesting. First, the fundraising total shrank for the first time:

While an organization may see this as alarming, I should add that I once again surpassed my goal; after 2010’s success, I upped my goal from the minimum ($4,200) to the “Heavy Hitter” line ($6,300), and actually had little problem making that mark. I see the $9,000-plus total from 2010 as somewhat of an aberration– not in success, but in the amount of it, as several one-time sponsors donated late last year in memory of my father-in-law’s passing (the family had actually steered people to the PMC in the obituary, a fitting tribute). Despite the “one-time” donations in 2010, I still saw a sharp increase in sponsors from 2010 to 2011, the most encouraging number in the bunch. The message of the PMC’s cancer-fighting cause continues to spread:

Repeat sponsors was a bit of a mix, but again no surprise: more “repeats” donated this year, with the falloff in percentage a factor of the ever-growing total number of sponsors. I can probably do more to keep current donors involved and perhaps get the repeats up over the 50% next year.

The average donation fell off, close to 2009 levels. The major reason for this was that several of my “corporate” donors, people representing organizations that generally donated in the $500 range, did not repeat this year. The median donation was still $50, meaning that individual donors were not giving less, as this number might indicate and for the short-term that will continue, I suspect. So, the drop in average donation is not so alarming, though if I were a non-profit organization I would be concerned about the corporate sponsor drop-offs (and would certainly welcome them back, hint-hint).

Putting the numbers in perspective: I am happier with the increase in people sponsoring than I am disappointed at the lower dollar amounts. If I were an organization I would have some concern about the dropoff in larger “corporate” donors, but as those have been outliers in my case rather than the primary targets I cannot be totally surprised.

For 2012? I will target getting more repeat donors while continuing to increase my base of generous sponsors as well as my overall fundraising target. I hope the look at numbers does not make my PMC fundraising seem too clinical- as I sincerely appreciate each and every sponsor, as well as others who support me in various ways.  On to 2012!

 

Pan-Mass Challenge 2011

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Pan-Mass Challenge 2011 – Done!

Two short weeks ago, I finished my fourth Pan-Mass Challenge. As always it is a great, well-run event, a 2-day ride to Provincetown to raise money for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute (you can still sponsor my ride here: http://bit.ly/2011pmc).

What was special about this year?

  • The last year was a tough one for cancer in our families. Last September my father-in-law, John Perkins, passed away from cancer, and then on May 14, I lost my own father. I always held the PMC cause dear, but this year it was more than just a bike ride.
  • Sponsors were as generous as ever, having donated more than $7,500 (so far) in support of my ride. More impressive, I had a record number of  sponsors this year, which means even more than the amount.
  • I tried something different this year; I took on a “shirt sponsor,” Helmtops. They sent me this great jersey that I wore on Day 2, and along the route I stopped on occasion to hand out some helmtops (decorations for children’s helmets) when I saw a kid with a bike cheering us on. Special thanks to all sponsors, but I wanted to single out Helmtops out for making this effort, on top of their ongoing support of the many children’s PMC rides.

Pan-Mass Challenge 2011

 

  • I also took video, as usual. This year I used a Contour HD Camera, which I found easier to use than the Flip and Kodak cameras I employed in previous years. In fact, the reason this post is two weeks after the event is that I wanted to find the time to edit down this tribute to the wonderful people who come out to cheer the riders all along the route- even on the Bourne Bridge at 5:30 am.

  • In all, what a great event! We even managed to avoid the rain on Cape Cod on Day 2 (well, while we were riding at least). It’s great to have the long ride behind me, but the fight against cancer continues; if you have yet to sponsor my ride, we are collecting donations through October 1 at http://bit.ly/2011pmc- and again, Thank You!
Bonus video: if you have the stomach for less, well, brief video, I did my usual Day 1 and Day 2 “Rider’s View” videos, embedded below:

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Pan-Mass Challenge Update- Goal Reached, Miles to Go

Thanks to you, I have reached my initial fundraising goal of $6,400- five weeks before the Pan-Mass Challenge! The generosity from sponsors, both returning friends and new ones, has been amazing. I thought I would get a screen capture of the gauge from my fundraising page. It is a great feeling to see that full!

Making the goal designates me as a “Heavy Hitter” PMC rider- in fact, that’s all the number means, so if you have yet to sponsor my ride, please feel free to do so at http://bit.ly/2011pmc.

100% of every dollar riders raise goes to the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in boston,m a remarkable organization dedicated to cancer treatment and research for a cure.

Now what? Well, I still have riding to do to prepare for the Pan-Mass Challenge on August 6-7. In order to go 170 miles in 2 days (the approximate distance I will ride on my route), I still have to keep up on training. I have been keeping a training diary, and while I have biked fewer total miles compared to this point last year, I have done many more long rides (40+ miles). It will be interesting to see how this affects my preparation, but I feel that I am on track.

Meantime, I have been experimenting with a new camera for the bike: the Contour HD. It seems to have a wider angle and better video quality than the Kodak Playsport I had been using- and the dedicated handlebar mount allows for easier swiveling to take in the sights. Audio is still an issue, as the bike simply makes too much rattling noise, but as you will hear in the video  the use of music is a nice alternative.

Here is my first published ride using the Contour, from a recent ride with my Sunday group:

Again, thank yo to all who support my ride, in any way that you do.

 

Music in video:
“Stay” by Paulina Logan:

“Slim Slow Ride” by As Cobras Malditas

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Pan-Mass Challenge Update: All Momentum, Fundraising & Miles

It has been a while since I have blogged about my Pan-Mass Challenge efforts, but that has not been for lack of activity. It’s hard to believe it, but the PMC is less than two months away (August 6-7), and I am starting to feel a sense of urgency about training. The good news is I am on pace with last year’s training in terms of miles (I keep track using Evernote, and haven’t dived in yet to Android apps like MapMyRide or Runkeeper- perhaps I need a  push).

Weekday rides have started picking up steam, I have gotten back to good weekend rides since taking some time off to help  tend to my father’s illness and funeral, and I feel very strong in the saddle. As long as I continue to put in miles and get in a few longer (50+ miles) rides, I think I’ll be fine.

More important has been the fundraising. The outpouring of support since my father died of pancreatic cancer has been amazing, and I am well ahead of schedule compared to last year. However, I am still nearly $2,000 short of my goal, and need your help. If you can, please support my ride at http://bit.ly/2011pmc. If you can’t please spread the word to others who might be moved by the cause of beating cancer. As ever, 100% of funds raised goes to support the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.

I leave you with a video mix of a couple of recent rides. I have been having trouble with the audio on my Kodak PlaySport, which seems to vibrate on the bike handlebars- my solution has been to find some music to play, and I think this piece does nicely (it’s “The Aftermath Never Adds Up” by Leaving Richmond). In future videos I will be experimenting with a ContourHD camera. I’ll be certain to let you know how that goes.

As always, thank you for supporting my ride against cancer, whether through money, words, or thoughts.

 

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Pan-Mass Challenge 2010: Rider’s-Eye Video

As I do every year, I took some rider’s eye video of my Pan-Mass Challenge ride, and include my excerpts below.

Day 1 took me from Newton, MA to the Wellesley start, and down to the Mass Maritime Academy at Bourne. Day 2 took us from Bourne, MA (and a little spill on the Bourne Bridge) all the way around Cape Cod to the finish at Provincetown. .

This is my third PMC and the scope, organization and meaning of the event still strike me. More than 5,000 people cycling against cancer (and yes, keeping ourselves in good health to boot), along with 3,000+ volunteers makes for something rare– a once-on-a-lifetime experience that we can have every year!

The PMC was especially meaningful this year in ways that I have not publicized- let’s just say everybody knows someone who has been touched by cancer, and the closer we come to better treatments and cures, the better for all of us.

If you would like to sponsor my ride, the page is still open! Please go to http://bit.ly/PMC2010.

A huge thank you, to those who have supported me and those who will.

Doug

Pan-Mass Challenge 2010: Day 1 from Doug Haslam on Vimeo.

Pan-Mass Challenge 2010: Day 2 from Doug Haslam on Vimeo.