Welcome Colleen! It’s time for a guest post

What I enjoy most about my job and my blog is that I get to meet tons of cool people making the world a better place.  I was talking to my friend Anthony at LIVESTRONG and he shared that his co-worker Colleen has made a huge impact on their marathon program.  Since joining the team three years ago, she has grown the program from a little under $500,000 to pushing $2,000,000 in revenue. Of course, I wanted to know more.  I asked Colleen if she’d share some the secrets to her success on my blog.  Today, I’m turning Friends Asking Amy over to Colleen!

Marathoners. Triathletes. Endurance Athletes. These individuals tend to be excellent fundraisers and while many think it’s because of the fundraising minimum, I believe there are some other reasons missed as to why this group of individuals seem to set the bar so high.

How about the golden ticket or the race entry?  For those that really want to run the ING NYC Marathon or the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, they know that in order to see that goal through, they will need to complete the fundraising minimum prior to the event. This carrot on the end of the stick is a huge motivator.  Will someone really work hard at training for 3-4 months and then simply choose to walk away?  As I have found at LIVESTRONG, our attrition rate is very low and we believe it could simply be because they know that is the real incentive beyond a shirt, cap or bag.

However, I have found that there is a unique group of individuals that even sit outside of that parameter.  What about those that sign up for the marathon, paying their own way in and then contact us to fundraise?  With the Bank of Chicago marathon in 2010, nearly half of our revenue ($136k) came from those that signed up and simply wanted to couple that with a cause.  As well with our ING NYC Marathon team, 30% of the revenue ($870k) was from individuals that gained entry through the lottery.  We set no fundraising minimum for them only benchmarks where they can be further included in the Team LIVESTRONG experience marathon weekend.

Simply put; its goal-driven passionate people.

With almost every individual that takes on an endurance event, they have already set a huge goal. They are typically your type-A, goal driven, “you won’t stop me” kind of people. They are willing to challenge themselves and push themselves to a different level as an athlete. You take that energy and channel it into fundraising and what you see is fundraising success. This group of individuals is what has made Team In Training such a success and why other charities have gone to this kind of program.

However, it can’t stop there, the team manager must have mission driven content to provide on a regular basis and give them sounding boards to ask potential donors to support their efforts.   It is key for the participant to hear on a regular basis the impact of the dollar and who that dollar actually serves within your mission. But please, be careful; make sure that the manager isn’t simply reciting information, because that won’t work.  You may have to send out different pieces of information based on the groups of people that are registered.

Get creative and try new things! At LIVESTRONG we have a two-prong approach of providing help for those fighting cancer and empowering people to take action. Clearly our fundraisers are those taking action and we make sure that they know what programs and initiatives they are helping to fund.  The case for support has to be clear so that the potential donor will want to give.

Yes, endurance athletes make wonderful fundraisers, however, remember that people give to people and it is our job to make sure they know the reason to ask.