Running for a Cause: Lessons From a First-Time Fundraiser

Last October, I was selected to be part of the 2015 Boston Children’s Hospital Miles for Miracles Marathon team. (That is quite the mouthful, isn’t it?) Aside from the rigorous training I knew I would have to go through to prepare for the marathon in April, I was also tasked with raising $5,000 to benefit the hospital when I joined the team. Boston Children’s really understands the importance of training the next generation of top pediatricians and nurses so that they can continue to provide the best, most innovative care possible to kids. I witnessed this firsthand when a loved one of mine was in their care—so while I knew raising $5,000 was going to be a challenge, I am happy to be able to give back to such an amazing hospital.

Up until the start of the marathon training season, I didn’t have any experience with fundraising. Although I’ve happily donated to causes that my friends, family, and colleagues are passionate about, this marked the first time I’ve been the fundraiser—unless, of course, we look back on the time I solicited “donations” for that American Girl doll I absolutely had to have.

In this day and age (I sound 100 years old), the importance of utilizing modern technology to get your message out has become abundantly clear. After setting up my fundraising page, the very first step I took when I learned that I had been accepted onto the Miles for Miracles team was craft one heck of a plea for donations in the form of an email. The message ended up eliciting a solid number of donations before it inevitably fell into the black hole that is everyone’s inbox.


I knew I needed to ramp up my efforts, so I turned to—you guessed it—social media. Realizing that social media was the best chance I had of reaching everyone in my network, I started posting the link to my donation page once or twice a week on Facebook: “Hey!? Have you donated? Do you want to do donate? You guys, you should donate!” Lo and behold, the gifts started rolling in.

To add a little extra incentive, I started publicly thanking those who gave by tagging them in posts on my Facebook page (for example: “Big hugs go out to Audrey Hepburn for your donation in support of my marathon run!”). That strategy drove even more donations; when people saw that a friend or family member had made a gift, it encouraged them to donate to my campaign too.

Social media was also key to promoting the fundraiser that my boyfriend (who is also running with me this year) and I hosted to benefit Boston Children’s. What better way to get the word out than through an event invite on Facebook? We had a fantastic turnout and ended up raising $1,285.

I can say with confidence that if I hadn’t incorporated social media into my fundraising campaign, I would not be anywhere close to my goal right now. Sending a mass email and asking for donations face-to-face are both effective tactics, but they just didn’t produce the same results as using Facebook. Thanks to the wide reach of social media and the immense generosity of my friends and family, I’m nearly at that $5,000 mark—and I plan on powering through, right to that Boylston Street finish line!


EverTrue’s Anna Dynarski is a biz dev guru. She is also a black belt wordsmith and an avid Cranium player. A trained actor, Anna brings a special “something” to the inside sales world.


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