The Tweeps

October 27th, 2010 | Posted by john in Digital 3-Day - (3 Comments)

Yesterday I posted a picture of the bra that I will be wearing on the 3-Day into my Twitter feed.  It had been embroidered by Claudia at Wild Horse Custom Threads with the Keep Going® Blogger logo.  For those that have not read in previous posts, Energizer® selected me to be the blogger for the DFW Susan G. Komen® 3-Day for the Cure.  Energizer had sent me these shirts with the logo to wear on the walk, but since I promised the people that made donations that I would wear a bra on the walk, I worked with them to get the logo on the bra and wear that instead.  So I posted the picture of it and a little while later looked at Twitter and found a ton of replies.  Things like:

“You seriously have the best bra embroiderer ever!”

“Love it!”

“Of all your awesome bras, that one might be the most awesome.”

“You have the best bras ever! I’m jealous.”

There were more, but I would have no room to write anything else if I didn’t stop there.  If you don’t use Twitter already, you probably fall into one of a couple of camps.  Those who think that Twitter is a useless waste of time, those who don’t understand what it is, and those who want to sign up but haven’t had the chance to.

I’m not going to get all technical on you about Twitter, I’m not even going to try and convince you that it’s not a waste of time (because I admit that unless you’re aware of it that it can waste a lot of time), but I will talk about a wonderful group of people on Twitter that are my reason for continuing to use it and how they have been so helpful.


Why I Use It

A little over a year ago my former supervisor, Dianne, suggested that I start using Twitter.  She said that it was a great platform for promoting yourself and getting to know people in your field of work.  I took the suggestion, signed up for an account and started using it.  At that time, I didn’t really know how I wanted to use it, so I posted about a lot of different topics.  I had originally intended to post about my work related technical items, but very shortly my interest flagged.  I was already doing work, so writing about work just didn’t hold a lot of interest.  I started mixing in other things and looking back it was very disjointed and I don’t think very many people would have been interested in what I was saying.  I decided to start over.  I created a new Twitter account (@60Miles) and decided to use it to focus on all things related to the 3-Day for the Cure.  I also used it to help promote my site.

What I really think made it change in my mind was looking at it as a community.  As I posted some things about the 3-Day, I found other walkers that were using Twitter in a similar fashion and I started following them.  I moved to a new town awhile back and while there are many walkers within 50 miles of me, I didn’t know any of them well enough to talk to them regularly about the walk.  There on Twitter was a group of people who I knew had this common interest that we would “talk” back and forth daily on the subject of the 3-Day.  In addition to that, it was a great way for walkers and crew of all different sorts of experience to get together and give each other tips and offer help and motivation when needed.

For instance, when I was writing the post about camp life a month or so ago, I turned to some of the people on Twitter to help me remember what all of the tents at camp were, because I wouldn’t have remembered them.  I’ve turned to them for help with fund raising.  I’ve also answered questions for people on Twitter about what to pack, information about fund raising door to door and much more.  They have been a sounding board for me more than I could have hoped.


If You’re Just Getting Started

If you’re just getting started using Twitter, you don’t really get a lot of direction when you first sign in.  You won’t automatically be following people that are walking in the 3-Day, if that’s what you’re looking for.  People won’t know that you are walking in the 3-Day immediately.  You won’t be instantly hooked into that great online community.  That’s where the 3-Day Tweeps come in.

Several months ago Cat Holland, the Keep Going Blogger for Phoenix and one of the amazing 3-Day people on Twitter, came up with the idea of creating a virtual team for 3-Day walkers.  I know that there were other people involved in this brainstorm, but since she started the web site I’m giving her credit for now.  They weren’t officially (by 3-Day for the Cure standards) on any team, but they bonded together and created this online support network through Twitter.  She built a web page (at http://3DayTweeps.com) and started creating pages that the 3-Day Tweeps could fill out about themselves.  It’s sort of an online repository of recommended 3-Day people to follow and a little bit about them.

I have to say that the 3-Day Tweeps are probably one of the most considerate, caring and kind groups of people that I have come across and I haven’t met but a few of them in person.  Need help fund raising?  They will gladly repost your fund raising request.  Need advice on training?  There are many veteran walkers on the 3-Day Tweeps that have years of experience for you to learn from.  Having a bad day?  Even if it’s not 3-Day related, there are people on 3-Day Tweeps that will commiserate with you to try and make your day a little better.

So, if you’re just joining Twitter, or if you have been on for awhile and haven’t connected with anyone (or want to connect more!), then go to http://3DayTweeps.com and click on Meet the Tweeps.  Chances are you will find someone who is walking in the same city as you are to follow (but I recommend following them all, we are one big community after all).  Once you’re sure you want to do it, fill out the simple form to join the tweets on the 3-Day Tweeps site and you’ll be listed on their page too!


To Sum Up

As promised at the beginning of the post, I didn’t say that Twitter wasn’t a waste of time.  Just like everything on the Internet, it can definitely be a waste of time if you use it like that.  But it can be used to much better purposes.  Find a community that works for you and join it.  If you’re walking in the 3-Day for the Cure and considering using Twitter, then make sure to follow the 3-Day Tweeps and join them on their web site.  If you’re walking or crewing in the 3-Day and are already on Twitter but not part of the Tweeps, what’s stopping you?

 

Motivation (or Lack Thereof)

October 19th, 2010 | Posted by john in Fund Raising - (2 Comments)

Last week I was sitting at home comfortably on the couch.  I had planned on going out to do some door to door fund raising that evening but I really wasn’t wanting to go now that the time was upon me.  I told my wife, “I had planned on going out and doing some fund raising tonight.”

She’s very supportive and said, “Ok,” before I could finish what I was saying.

“I had planned on going out and doing some fund raising tonight, but I’m not really feeling like it.”

She looked at me and said, “So your NOT going?”

“I don’t know.  Let me think about it.”  I sat there and thought for a few minutes about whether or not I was going.  It wasn’t a question of meeting a fund raising minimum or anything like that, I had done that long ago, so I could easily have sat at home.  But as I thought it over I remembered what I promised myself that I would do at the beginning of the year.  I promised myself that I would go above and beyond the call of duty to raise funds for the fight against breast cancer.  I’ve done the walk several years before and I always want to raise good money for the cause, but I think that this is the first year that I have made myself a promise like this.  With this in mind, I trudged upstairs and grabbed my shoes.  When I got downstairs, I think Kristen was surprised to see me with shoes in hand.  I’m pretty sure that I looked set on not going for it that night, and to tell you the truth if I hadn’t made that promise then I would not have gone out that night because I still didn’t feel up to it.

I went out to a new section of my neighborhood, one where I hadn’t knocked on any doors yet and set myself a pretty high goal, to raise $150 in the 45 minutes that I had until I had to be at home to help put the kids to bed.  Even if I didn’t have kids, I would have had to call it at that point because it was getting dark and other people would be putting their kids to bed too.  So it was a pretty high bar to meet, usually when I go door to door the most I have gotten in half an hour has been $80, but it averages about $50, so I was really trying to stretch it.

I went to the first door:

“Hi, my name is John and I live right across the soccer fields in the Headlands.  The reason I’m coming by is that I’m walking in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure.  It’s a 60 mile walk over 3 days that raises funds and awareness for breast cancer initiatives.  In order to do the walk I have to raise at least $2300.  I have $150 left for my goal today, do you think you can help me out today?”

First house I went to that night, not only did someone answer but they donated $10.  When the first house you go to in a night answers and donates it’s a HUGE motivator.  I continued on, adjusting my numbers as I continued.  The next house I had $140 and I kept adjusting as I went.  When the second house answered and donated $35, I felt like I could conquer the world.  I kept plugging along, got a momentum going and I didn’t really want to go home when time was up.  But it was dark and it was bed time for the kids, so I headed home.  The last house I went to, I had $20 left to go to make my $150 for the night and they were gracious enough to donate $20 for it.

I walked back home feeling like a different person.  When I started out, I was kind of down and not feeling like talking to anyone, let alone asking for a donation.  When I came back, I felt like I had really accomplished something.  I set a large goal and achieved it, all in 45 minutes time.  The feeling of achieving that goal was amazing!  So as you can tell, I was very glad that I forced myself to go out and fund raise that night.  I know that not every night of fund raising will be so successful, but I still plan to keep this in mind to keep myself motivated on those days when I’m feeling lethargic again and resisting my plans to go out and do some good in the fight against breast cancer.

 

Captains Corner

October 14th, 2010 | Posted by john in General - (Comments Off on Captains Corner)

Depending on your approach, if you sign up to be a team captain it could be a stressful and time consuming experience.  It doesn’t have to be though.  Yes, you will probably need a little more time over what you would normally need to just do the walk, but it shouldn’t be stressful.  After all, we’re on the 3-Day to eradicate breast cancer, not to created more headaches for ourselves.  With that in mind I thought that I would put this together for the people out there that are thinking about being a team captain or are already a team captain.  These are some questions that I have seen frequently pop up, and it’s purely my opinion so take it as you may!


My Team Member is Not Fund Raising

Wow, it’s kind of a negative note to start out on, but I see this question floating around on message boards and Twitter enough that I thought I should go ahead and knock it out first.  My answer to this may seem a little callous, so I’m going to build up to it with a little reasoning first.

I want everyone on my team to be able to walk if they want to, however sometimes they don’t realize the amount of work that needs to be put in to actually do the fund raising required for the walk.  It’s easy to just sign up and say you’re going to do the walk.  What’s not easy is to make the commitment to training (which we will cover later) and fund raising that is required to successfully get to and complete the walk.  If you have a team member that is not fund raising, then you should kindly remind them that there are only X days away until the walk and that they need to raise $2300 to walk.

I’m a firm believer in frank discussions and think that in reminding them you will soon get the answer of what their intentions are.  If they have some donations that they just haven’t mailed in yet then maybe there is nothing to worry about.  Sometimes you will find that they have decided that they can’t do the walk and unfortunately sometimes you will find that they are hoping that you will raise the money for them.  There are a lot of opinions on whether or not to help out someone in their fund raising.  I’m not a heartless person, but I do think that someone should put in the work to try and get donations.  That doesn’t mean that I will not help out at all, but you have to put in the work and raise your own funds because I’m not going to raise $2300 for you.

My reason for this is more complex than economics.  Part of the purpose of the 3-Day for the Cure is raising awareness.  By going out and asking for donations, you’re also educating people of the problem of breast cancer.  If you raise your $2300 and I raise my $2300 then that many more people have been touched by the cause.

So no, I will not raise all of the funds for a teammate, but I will gladly work with them in any way that I can to help them be successful.  That means making suggestions on possible fund raising, helping get them involved with team fund raisers and trying to provide motivation. By having my teammates raise most of the money on their own, my excess fund raising can still be excess above and beyond the minimum.  That means more money going to the 3-Day for important stuff like finding a cure.


How Should I Distribute Funds for Team Fund Raisers?

One of the major things that I have seen cause some division in a team is how to distribute the funds for a team fund raiser.  Inevitably someone will think they have done more work than someone else and that they should have a larger cut because of it.  The first thing that you need to do to avoid this is to lay down the rules of how the funds will be distributed before you do anything with the fund raiser.  There are a couple of different types of fund raisers and I think distribution should vary between them:

Grocery Store

If you’re just going to set up a table out front of a store and accept donations then I think the only way to really handle this is to have each person receive funds that were raised for the time that they worked.  Since there really isn’t much work other than showing up for this type of fund raiser, I think that it’s fair enough to say that if you’re there for 2 hours, you will get an equal cut of funds raised for those two hours.

Auction

For an auction type fund raiser, what I usually see happen is that anyone that helps out in any way with the auction gets an equal cut of the proceeds.  This means that if you spent time getting all of the items to the auction venue or if you assembled all of the bidding paddles or if you took tickets at the door you would still get an equal cut of the proceeds to the person that processed payments at the auction.  Without any of these things complete, the auction would not be as successful as hopefully it was so everyone that helped to make it a success should get an equal cut.

Really the thing for any type of team fund raiser is to have the rules set before you do the fund raise so that everyone knows what to expect.


My Team Member is Not Training

This is a problem that you will probably need to deal with in the same way as when your team member is not fund raising.  Talk to them, let them know that they will finish the walk in much better condition if they train before hand.  Scheduling team training walks is good because it’s much harder to cancel walking when you have other people that are waiting on you.

In the end though, if your team member is not training, it’s not the absolute end of the world.  Yes, it would be a lot better for them if they did the training, but you CAN make it through without training (though it’s not recommended).  So if they are absolutely opposed to training, don’t stress out about it, let them do what they are going to do.


How Do I Get More Teammates?

As my average team size when I have been a captain has been about 2.5, I’m probably not the best person to answer this.  There are a few things that I can think of that would probably help, but I have never really executed on it.  First would be to ask your friends and family.  Yes, it reduces on potential donors, but what’s better, the $20 that they were going to donate or the $2300 that they could potentially raise?  Second would be your teammate’s family and friends.  Lastly would be to recruit people that don’t have a team on the share list.  Simply offering to have them on the team so that they could have someone to train with and get motivation from.  Again, I don’t know how sound any of these ideas are and I would like to see some comments from other team captains on what they do to increase their team size.


So those are the four questions that I see most often crop up.  There were lots that I could have added, but these are the ones that I see the most often.  If you have one that you have seen and would like to add it, post a comment and I’m sure that there are plenty of team captains that would be willing to field your question!  I think the big theme of all the answers to these is communication.  If you talk openly with the people that you are concerned about, most of the time you will clear up any confusion really quick.

 

It’s Not a Race

October 5th, 2010 | Posted by john in General - (1 Comments)

I think that this one fact speaks to how much Susan G. Komen For the Cure has done for global breast cancer initiatives:  When I talk with anyone about walking in the 3-Day for the Cure the conversation inevitably wraps up with the other person telling me, “Good luck on your race!”  The first couple of years that I did the 3-Day, I would hear that and almost feel like they didn’t understand the actual challenge that I was going through.  After all, it’s 60 miles!!  It’s not 5K.  I would still smile and say, “Oh, it’s not a race, it’s a walk.”

It’s been some time now and my thoughts about when someone wishes me a good race have significantly changed.  People that are close to me have now seen me say that it’s not a race that they now speak up and say it, but where I was a little put off by the remark before I’m now excited by it.

Walking 60 miles isn’t for everyone.  There, I said it.  I know that it takes a lot of commitment and time to dedicate yourself to train to walk 60 miles and then on top of it raise $2300.  With that being said, running 5K isn’t for everyone either.  I think I can safely say that I would rather walk 60 miles than 5K.  Maybe that’s stretching it a bit, but I’m not a runner and prefer walking almost any day.  So yes, I could walk on the race for the cure, but something in my head makes me say that it’s a race so I should be running so I chose to join on the 3-Day.  (Though I have walked in the Race for the Cure before)

Wow, we’ve been talking about a lot of walking, racing, running and other physical activities.  So much so that I may have confused myself with the last paragraph.  Let’s move on.

Maybe you see the names for some of these events with words like race and walk associated with them and think that you would rather not be involved because you are not an athlete.  Trust me, I was there.  When I signed up for my first 3-Day, I went from not walking at all for exercise to walking miles upon miles for training.  I’m not saying that this is something that you will jump at the opportunity to do, I’m saying I can see where you are coming from.  If you’re not wanting the physical exertion there are plenty of opportunities to get involved in the fight against breast cancer.

That’s one of the most wonderful things about events like the 3-Day and Race for the Cure.  There are so many different ways that you can be involved from little to massive involvement that regardless of your physical prowess or your fund raising skills, there is something that you can do to help out.  Heck, with the 3-Day alone, you can do anything from simply writing a letter to people while they are at the 3-Day camp to being at cheering stations to cheer the walkers on, there are people that are walker stalkers that follower the walkers while they are on their route, there are daily volunteers (that don’t have to camp, if you’re not a camper), there are walkers, crew and staff.  Just a HUGE amount of ways that you can get involved!

Ok, if you didn’t know this already, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month.  This month, I’m asking my readers to make a commitment to help end breast cancer.  If you’re not sure, then take a baby step.  I’m sure there are many walkers and crew that would love to get a letter at camp, even if they don’t know who you are.  Or another way to get involved that REALLY helps in the fight is to make a DONATION!  If you would like to get more involved, check out the following web sites, they both have a get involved section:

http://the3day.org –  The official 3-Day web site

http://komen.org – The official Susan G. Komen for the Cure web site

I’m going to close by repeating that even though when I first started on the 3-Day I felt the need to correct everyone to tell them it wasn’t a race, I’m actually encouraged by the fact that people know what Race for the Cure is.  So if you wish me good luck on my race, I will gladly say, “Thank you”