I have had a couple of messages lately asking me who the heck are The Speed Gamers and how on Earth did they donate over $10,000 to my fund raising. I’ve mentioned them here and there in several posts, I have verbally told many about them, but I never did a full fledged write up on how awesome they are. I think it’s time that I fix that!
It was early 2009 when a co-worker and good friend of mine name Bob approached me. He knew that I was starting to raise money for the 3-Day and had a suggestion for me. His nephew was a part of a group of guys that ran a web site and raised money for charities. I asked him how, and while I don’t really remember the exact words I’ll explain in my own words what they do:
They have a web site at http://thespeedgamers.com and on this web site they do video game marathons. That last term probably needs a little clarification. They will play a series of games (like Legend of Zelda, Mega Man, Final Fantasy, Mother: Earthbound) for a solid 72 hours (usually, some have been 48 and they have a week long one they do over the summer). That’s 72 hours without stopping. They rotate players in and out so that they can get some rest. On their web site, they have a video feed of the game that they are playing that people can come and watch. In addition to that video feed, they have a feed of a commentator who is talking to the people in the next component of the site and that is the chat room.
So people come, chat, listen to the commentator, watch the video game being played and then donate. The guys don’t take ANY money out of the donations, they donate every single penny to the charity that they are playing for. All funds for paying for their site hosting and everything are generated by selling t-shirts between the marathons (you can buy shirts at http://store.thespeedgamers.com/ if you want to help them out!).
I’ll be totally honest here when I say that when Bob told me about these guys, I was a little skeptical. I couldn’t see how that could raise the type of money that he was telling me about. At the time he thought that they could maybe help me raise $2,000-$3,000. Despite my uncertainty I went ahead and talked with Britt to see if they would do a marathon for me. I figured that even if they raise $100, it would be $100 more than I would have raised without them.
I met with Britt, Bob’s nephew, a couple of weeks after they had done a marathon for Ally’s House and raised over $5,000. This was the most that they had ever raised in a marathon. I was starting to come around, because this was a marathon that they had done working with Bob, so there weren’t any smoke and mirrors to be had. This was in fact the real deal. So I met with Britt. I have to say that I really wish that I had a tenth of the humility and grounding that he has when I was his age. He was soft spoken, he wasn’t bragging at all about the money that he had raised in the past. When I asked him how much he thought the marathon could possibly raise, he answered in a softly spoken voice that he thought it might be able to raise $3,000. That year, the marathon raised $3,000 before the first day was over and $10,586 by the end of three days.
We had another marathon this year and it was only 48 hours long because of some scheduling difficulties, but they still raised over $10,000. I still don’t know that I completely understand it, but these guys are amazing and you should really go check out their site and see if there are other marathons coming up and take a look. I have watched several and it can become kind of addictive.
They do more than just breast cancer fund raising, they help out autism, childhood cancer, and much more. Check out the marathons they have done and the amazing amounts of money that they have raised here: http://www.thespeedgamers.com/past-marathons
The last thing that I want to say is thank you to The Speed Gamers. They took something that they enjoy doing, that a lot of people enjoy doing, and molded that into an immense force of good. You guys rock.
Hopefully I will have an interview with Britt from The Speed Gamers up here in the very near future and we can talk about how they got started, where they are going and anything in between!
If it’s your first year for the 3-Day for the Cure, or even if you have participated in it before, you may not be aware of all the things that the participant center has to offer you. In this column, the first of a series on your digital 3-Day life, I’m going to go over several of the features, some well used and some possibly not, to help you get the most out of your participant center. In this, I’m going to try and stick to the rough order that I do things in my participant center when I first sign up for the 3-Day.
First thing’s first when I get a new participant center and that is to set a goal. It’s on the right hand side of the page and is fairly noticeable when you first log in. I usually try to give myself a goal higher than the minimum to give me something to shoot for. This year I gave myself a goal of $5,000 for each walk and I’m over that goal on one and $1400 away from it on another. Setting a goal is good not only for you, but also for people you are going to be sending to your site so that they can see that it’s no small amount that you are going for and you’re serious about fund raising.
It’s Says It’s Personal, But You’ll Share it With Everyone
Directly under the update goal button is a link to update your “personal URLs”. This is an excellent place to go to next. It’s much easier to give people a link that looks like this:
Than it is to give them a link that looks like this:
So go to this link as quickly as possible to change this to something that your friends and family will more easily recognize. If you are a team captain, this is the same location that you will go to in order to change the URL for your team (so that you can easily direct people to a place where they can learn about your team and possibly decide to join!).
Let’s Get Stuck in the Middle for a Little While
The middle of your participant center has some useful links too. This is where you need to go if you want to do stuff like read your walker handbook (or if your a team captain, your team captain handbook). If you scroll down, it will also give you links to this month’s 3-Day news and a PDF for 3-Day business cards. However, for business cards, I usually prefer to use VistaPrint with their free cards that you pay for shipping with.
Just below the business cards is a section to start fund raising with Facebook. I’m going to cover some 3-Day social media information next week, but please feel free to add this now if you would like. The last thing I will cover about the middle is at the bottom where it tells you how many days you have left until your event. A good thing to keep in mind for fund raising AND training purposes.
My Web Page Was Made By Acme
The next thing I usually take note of is my personal page itself. The Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure has done a pretty good job of giving you a participant page that you can use to do fund raising with no additional work. HOWEVER, you should really take some time to tweak this page. For instance, your friends and family would probably be a lot more interested in reading about the challenges and decision making that you went through to decide to walk in the 3-Day for the Cure. They’re not necessarily going to be interested in the two sentence blurb that is there by default.
While you are changing the text on the page, you may as well go ahead and put up a new picture. My friends would rather look at me surrounded buy a bunch of guys wearing pink with fake boobs than the sneaker of some complete stranger. Make this page your own!
So to do this, there is a handy button at the top of the screen that says Personal Page. When you click on this, you will have a link near the top that says “Click here to open this page for editing”. Once you click there, you will be on your way to having your own personalized personal page.
There are a couple of things to note on the editing for this page: First, you have the option to add a blog to the bottom of your page. I’ll be talking about blogs, hopefully next week as well, but if you want to add a blog to your 3-Day participant center, by all means go ahead. I’ll just say that some of the blog tools in true blog software or sites is going to be more robust and allow you to do more. It just depends on what you want to do with this. Second, there is the option instead of having a picture on your page, you can have a video. I really like video because it allows people to see something that tells them more than a picture would, if you have a video go ahead and put it up there!
The Electronic Mail Man Isn’t Afraid of Dogs
Now that you have your personal page URL and you have your goal set and you have your personal page customized so that it looks just like something you would do, you can start telling people about it. Your participant center has a built in address book and e-mail system that you can use to send out mail asking for donations. You can import your existing contacts from Yahoo, Outlook, Gmail and CSV among others, so you don’t have to worry about typing addresses all over again. The advantage of doing mail through your participant center is that it all goes out with 3-Day for the cure branding and pictures. It will also include the appropriate links to your personal page and team page, however it doesn’t appear to use the personal URLs that you define. I personally only use the e-mail system for thanking people for their donations and use my own e-mail client for sending out fund raising e-mails. I don’t know why, it’s just a personal preference.
To access the address book and import users from your own address book, just click the Address Book button at the top of the page. To send e-mails using your own pre-defined text or to start with a template that the 3-Day provides for you, just click the e-mail button right next to that.
Leaning Towards the Left In a Non-Political Way
Ok, the last section that we are going to talk about is the resources section of the participant center. It’s on the top left of the page. This has a variety of things that you can use, and I’ll try to go through them quickly here:
- Donation Form: Just what it says it is. It’s a PDF of your donation form so that if you have someone that doesn’t want to or can’t donate online, they can fill out the form and mail in a check.
- Event Info: Incredibly useful, especially if you are out of town. This is where you check for information on the event, things like where it will start, where it will end, and where you should probably get a hotel so that you can ride a bus to and from the event.
- Online Check-In: This is where you go when they finally open the online check-in for your event.
- Fundraising: Great place to go for tips and tricks to help you super charge your fund raising efforts
- Training: Gives you links for a training check list as well as a variety of resources for your training questions. Everything from Achilles Tendonitis to Warm Weather training tips can be found here
- Outfitters: If you live in or near a host city for the 3-Day, this will provide you with a list of stores that you can go to that will help you with all of your gear needs
- Clinics and Calendar: These two links will provide you information on upcoming clinics, training walks, getting started meetings and more. These meetings are great for beginner and veteran walkers alike.
- Legacy Pins: You can get several different kinds of pins for doing things with the 3-Day. From being a walker, to raising a lot of money to having to take the sag bus, there is probably a legacy pin that you can earn. Check here to see what they all are!
- Komen Toolkit: The toolkit will take you to a page on the Susan G. Komen site with links to information about breast cancer facts, risk factors, detection and more.
- Share List: Want to do a training walk, but you don’t know anyone on the 3-Day? The share list give you a searchable page to find other walkers, crew members or team captains near you that you can contact for training walks or support. Even if you do know people near you, this is a great way to reach out to other walkers that may not have a team.
- Widget: The widget is a slightly customizable image that you can use in your e-mails or on your web site to drive people directly to your donation form.
- Select Another Event: If you are one of those people that felt the urge to sign up for more than one 3-Day for the Cure walk, then this is the link that you need to click in order to go to your participant center for those other walks.
To sum up, the participant center is a page that you can really use to help out with fund raising and preparing for the 3-Day for the Cure. Definitely spend some time looking through it to see what tools will work best for you.
Let me start by saying that the 3-Day for the cure is not impossible. It’s difficult, but you can still complete this amazing journey on your own. You don’t HAVE to join a team to finish the 3-Day, but I highly recommend it. If you have read my other articles, you can probably tell that there is a list of a few reasons broken out on why to be on a team so here it is!
I’m not terribly great at getting motivated to get out and walk. There’s a good chance that some of you reading this are in the same boat as me. Getting up at 6 in the morning to go walk 12, 16 or 18 miles is just not at the top of my “great things to do on a Saturday” list. Having a team is great for training for a couple of reasons.
First, if your team is local to you, you can plan training walks together that way you are all suffering at 6 AM together. If your team is not local, there is still somewhat a sense of accountability. I know that if Julie, my team mate that lives several hundred miles away walked a good amount of mileage this week I feel like I have kind of let her down. Yeah, it’s kind of like guilting you into walking, but it works.
Fund Raising Support
I’m better about getting motivated to go fund raising, but again I bet that there are some that either can’t get motivated or just don’t know where to start. Having a team to bounce your fund raising ideas off of is extremely helpful. Even if you are great at getting out there and motivated to go ask people for money, there are still those occasions when you have a fund raising idea that you think is great that your team can ground you and say, “that’s great, but how are you going to accomplish this part of the idea?” They can also give you some great (and admittedly not so great) ideas for your own fund raising.
The other place that your team can help is actually doing team fund raisers. There may be an idea that someone in your team has for raising money that just can’t be done with one person or would be a lot easier with more than one. Team fund raising is a great way to augment your personal fund raising and also to bond with your fellow team mates.
Even though everyone is very friendly on the walk and you make lots of friends, it’s still nice to have someone that you have talked to before you go to the walk. Someone that knows how you walk and what causes you to start complaining. Also, it’s nice to know who you were tenting with before you get to the event so you know what you need to bring and what the other person will bring with them.
So join a team or start a team today! Don’t know anyone that’s participating in the 3-Day for the Cure? Well, there’s two ways to rectify that: get your friends to sign up or find someone without a team on the share list and see if they will team up with you!
If this is your first year walking, you may not know this. If you have walked before then you definitely know that there’s not a lot of men in proportion to women on the 3-Day. I realize that it’s a health issue for women and that means that a lot of women will be there, but I honestly expected to see a higher ratio of men to women. With that in mind, I put together this small set of reasons to do the 3-Day if you are a man, or to help you convince the man in your life to do the 3-Day.
Men Love Women!
By far the simplest reason that I can come up with here. I would say that 99.999% of men love at least one woman. It doesn’t matter whether they are gay or straight, everyone has a mother or a sister or a great friend that is a woman. Not to mention the men that have girlfriends, wives, daughters, neices and so forth. This reason alone should make more men decide to walk, but if not. Let’s continue.
Most Men Love Boobs!
Hey, it might be a little crass to use this as a reason for getting men to walk, but let’s be honest. Men do love boobs. Every dollar that is raised in the 3-Day for the Cure goes to efforts that either:
A) Prevent healthy boobs from getting breast cancer.
B) Saving boobs that have breast cancer.
Most men would agree that we don’t need to have fewer boobs in the world.
Men Love Not Having to Wait In Line for Showers!
The little known fact about the 3-Day is that if you are a man and you want to take a shower at the end of the day there are no lines. Ok, so this may change if the purpose of this article is met, but as of right now, the ratio of women to men is so high that even though there is only one shower truck for men, I have yet to have to wait in line to take a shower.
Ok, all kidding aside now. I realize that the reasons above are silly for one reason or another. Here are some real reasons, provided by the american cancer society:
- In 2009 approximately 40,170 women are expected to die from breast cancer, second only to lung cancer in cancer deaths for women.
- Approximately 192,300 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in women in 2009.
- Something a little closer to home for men: In 2009, approximately 1,910 cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in MEN and approximately 440 men will die from the disease.
Get out there, sign up and start walking men! I hope to see you on the walk this year! If you would like to sign up to walk, go to: http://the3day.org go to Get Involved and click register. If you would like to join one of the teams that I’m walking with, click one of the links below!
Dallas: http://the3day.org/goto/john and click to join John’s team!