By 8:41 AM…

I didn’t realize I could learn so much by 8:41 AM. I have to confess; I’m not a morning person. Over the years, I’ve tried to train myself to becoming a morning person even going so far to reward my self, with a Starbucks Chai Tea Latte, if I could use the morning hours more effectively. Needless to say, it hasn’t worked.  I’m a night owl and I just need to accept that. You’ll never see me running at 5:30am.

As a self described morning zombie, I was hoping that few jumping jacks would help get the blood flowing and brain working so I could absorb the great content at the Run Walk Ride Fundraising Conference on Wednesday. By 8:41 two of the morning sessions were under way and my brain was working great! The energy in the room was electric and the content was awesome.

If you’re not familiar with the Run Walk Ride Fundraising Conference, here’s the skinny. It’s the only conference solely focused on peer-to-peer fundraising events. Events staff from many different organizations come together to discuss, share, and learn from each other and industry thought leaders.

I don’t think my description is doing the conference justice. So, let me try again. I think event fundraising staff are some of the most passionate people I’ve ever meet. They love to talk about their events and what they’re doing. The conference created a great collaborative environment for sharing and learning.  I’ve been in the event fundraising world for a while now and the conference reminded me why I love peer-to-peer events. It’s the people. The people who manage the events and the participants who raise billions of dollars each year for numerous causes.

Peer-to-peer fundraising is so personal. We ask our participants to share their personal story, because we know their reasons for taking action will inspire others to join. And it’s important for staff to take the time a build relationships with these very valuable participants also known as VVP’s (it’s my new peer-to-peer fundraising acronym).

Events are fundraisers… (pause and remember that statement)… they are not parties with cool balloons. So we need to ask participants to support the cause not by just showing up, which is good, but not good enough. We need participants to show up and raise funds.

I know events can be stressful and there’s always that concern in the back of your mind “Will I reach my budget goal?” Here’s how I always thought of events when I was stressed, maybe it help you. The event you are creating is even more than a fundraiser, you’re providing individuals who feel helpless the opportunity to be helpful. You’re giving someone the opportunity to fight back when what they are fighting is often to big for most to fathom.

I like to congratulate MDA for winning the award for best online video. Take a few minutes and check it out. It’s a great reminder about why what we do is so important. How many muscles does it take to dance?