Independence, MO – I checked an item off my bucket list last weekend.
I ran a race with Kate.
Clarification: It wasn’t the first race we’d run together. Each year, the five Beems participate in the LINK Run, a 5k that benefits the Independence School District. And last year, we did the annual Kansas City Zoo Run, a four-mile race through Swope Park and the zoo that benefited the new polar bear exhibit in 2010.
But Saturday’s Second Annual Rock the Parkway (www.rocktheparkway.com) was the first we’d done as a twosome. We both were pursuing personal goals: I was pushing for a new half marathon PR, and Kate was tackling her first 10k – the longest distance she’d ever run.
We were triply successful. Kate and I both set PRs, and my bucket list gained a check mark.
Know what I’ve been mulling since we crossed the finish line? You guessed it: How much our experience resembles the completion of a successful fundraising campaign.
No surprise there, right?
Before committing to the race, Kate and I tested our ability to achieve our goals. Smart fundraisers undertake pre-campaign studies to assess their fundraising capacity, just as smart runners successfully complete shorter races and test runs to ensure their ability to go the distance.
After confirming our potential to hit our targets, we called on friends and relatives for technical and emotional support. Fundraising campaigns succeed because of committed volunteers and capable staff, and sensible runners create support networks to help them make their marks.
We didn’t train for our races blindly; we both relied on proven training plans to push and guide us. Successful campaigns often enjoy the support of outside counsel, just as running experts push even the most accomplished runners to new heights.
Kate and I celebrated successes along our training paths. Wise fundraisers promote and recognize significant gifts that carry campaigns closer to their goals, and successful runners take time to relish the attainment of important pre-race milestones.
We celebrated our successful completion of Rock the Parkway with an adults-only evening. Every smart fundraiser crowns a successful campaign with a victory celebration for donors, volunteers and staff, and runners live for post-race goodies and award celebrations.
It’s no wonder I’m drawn to running and fundraising: They’re a lot alike. Both require commitment to goals, clear plans of work and trained teams.
If you’d like to learn more about how goal setting, work planning and teamwork facilitate fundraising success, check out “Performance-Driven Fundraising: Taking Control of Your Success.” ASR Media released the book last year. You can find it at www.amazon.com or www.hartsookcompanies.com/store.
In the meantime, I encourage you to ramp up your fundraising success. Test your capacity to raise money for new objectives. Enlist volunteers and staff to help hit your targets. Secure expert guidance, commemorate milestones, celebrate victory.
When you do, you’ll be more likely to achieve your ultimate fundraising goal. And along the way, you’ll increase your organization’s visibility, give important credit to those who ensure your success and have fun doing it.