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Bike MS Fundraising Progress

Friday, June 13, 2014

Bike MS 2014 - Training and Fundraising Update #1

Hi all, I've been quite on the training and fundraising front this year - I'm overdue for an update on how fundraising and training have been going for Bike MS 2014 - Harmon's Best Dam Bike Ride on June 28th and 29th. So here we go with the first update! Fundraising is going well, at 62% of goal - but is also down quite a bit at the same time. Details after the jump...

If you take a look at the fundraising progress gadget at the right-hand side of this blog, you'll see that we're at $4,931, or 62% of goal. That is a great amount, and we're sitting at 6th place overall in fundraising to-date. Before I go any further, I have to say THANK YOU to everyone who has donated so far. All individual donors but one are repeat donors, and the continued support year-over-year means so much.

I thought I'd better include at least ONE picture in this blog article, so here's my "water bottle" progress chart from my personal MS Society fundraising page.

(SIDE NOTE: My friends who build data analytics and data visualizations for a living would say that this is a flawed chart - the bulk of the volume of the water bottle is below the neck, and the neck is narrower than the body - this water bottle is probably closer to 80% full. But I digress...)

I have a couple of takes on my fundraising progress. I have to warn you, this is pretty dry reading...

Take 1 - Fundraising is Down...

$2,486 of my fundraising total to-date came from one source, one event - the February Charity Night at 10 Barrel Brewing here in Boise. Taking away that one event, we would be sitting at $2,445, or 31% toward the goal of $8,000 - which would be significantly lower than where we were at this time last year.

More specifically, at this point last year, I'd just crossed the $5,000 mark. Overall, I'm about where I was last year at this time. But, take out the 10 Barrel Brewing donation, and I'm running at about 50% of last year. So that tells me that I have not done a good job of engaging the "base" this year so far.

I've thought about this from a number of angles, and I think the main reason that fundraising is slow this year is simple: I started much later than usual, and have not been putting my typical time and effort in getting the word out.

Many of you know that I am moving, working on remodeling a house, and have been traveling for work more lately. All of which have taken time away from fundraising activities (and training! more on that later...) This probably sounds like an excuse, and that is exactly what it is. I do feel that it's my job to initiate the fundraising, communicate with all of you who comprise the "base" and also find new folks to connect with. I struggle with how best to do this at times.

I've been told by fundraising professionals that it takes an average of THREE emails to secure a donation. And so many of you are busy, and have little time to read personal email and sort through the many requests you all get from various worthy charities. Thankfully, the vast majority of the feedback I receive to my emails is that you appreciate the communication and the reminders. So, I will be stepping that up a bit in the next couple of weeks as we approach the event - so I can get to that magic number of three requests soon.

Also, I know that many folks plan their giving around early-month pay periods. So, my late start this year only gave me room for ONE early-month pay period (June 1) before Bike MS. Fundraising will continue for some time after the event, though, so I hope to help make that planning a bit easier for folks who would like to hit pay period events in early July and August.

To summarize, I will be stepping up the communications over the next two weeks! Hopefully with concise, on-point communications which serve as a reminder of the upcoming event, educate about the event and the need for fundraising to help fight multiple sclerosis. And as always, please feel free to give me feedback about the content and frequency of my communications, or to opt out.

Take 2 - Fundraising is Not Really Down...

My entire analysis above is flawed. I know that many of you attended the 10 Barrel Brewing fundraiser and contributed by spending money on food and drink, or dropped money in the cash jar. If I were able to parse out everyone's individual contribution at the 10 Barrel event, I think the outlook would be much better - and I'd find that my donor base has contributed closer to %75 of last year's total to-date. So, I should probably just relax and focus on communicating with you the RIGHT amount, and on training. In my experience, if you just focus on doing the right things, then good things happen. But, I can't help but over-analyze things sometimes.

Anyway...that's MORE than enough about that.


On to the fun I can say much the same thing about training - not nearly as much time on a bike this year. In fact, I believe I finally cracked a 100 mile week last week (June 1 - June 7.)  The training included a great weekend in Red Lodge, MT riding the Beartooth Summit. I've written a separate article about this ride, with lots of pictures - you can check it out here!

And I have a great couple of training rides queued up for the weekend, and on through next week, including my first Bogus Basin ski resort summit ride of the year on Saturday, June 14.

Frankly, I am relying on the fitness foundation I laid last year to overcome the 20+ extra pounds I'm carrying and get me through the 150 miles at Bike MS. I'll likely ride slower, and be much sorer than last year, but the miles will be ridden.

As always, thanks for reading! Be sure and check out some of those pictures from Beartooth Summit, and I'll be talking with you again soon!

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