Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Benefit Concert and Happy Hour at Whitlow's

Growing up whether it was Girl Scout cookies, gift wrap or holiday wreathes, I would always fail when it came to fundraising.  My parents were not big on fundraising and so therefore I was not either.  That is before I became a participant three years ago with the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation's Team Challenge program, an endurance program where you run or walk a half marathon while helping to find a cure for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.  I remember sitting in the information meeting thinking to myself, "They can't be serious that they want me to raise this much money!!!"  However, having been diagnosed with Crohn's Disease a few years earlier, I was looking for the program to help me accept my disease and fight back, so I crossed over into the world of fundraising.

The start was a little rough, I got beat out by a bunch of soccer moms for the prime bake sale spot at an election site and would have lost money had a random stranger not taken pity on me and donated $100 to my cause.  However, I started to get more confident and started to look at fundraising as an opportunity to ask people to donate and participate in a cause that was important to me and at the same time raise awareness for my cause.  I never had a friend or family member say that they wished I hadn't asked them, but instead asked why I hadn’t approached them sooner!

That was three years ago and to this day through happy hours, bake sales, concerts, silent auctions and lots of e-mails, I have raised over $15,000 to find a cure for Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis.  In fact tomorrow, Wednesday, April 27th I will be hosting a Benefit Concert and Happy Hour at Whitlow's to raise funds for these incurable intestinal diseases.  

Even though it is not mandatory that I fundraise now as the Head Coach of the DC Area's Team Challenge, I still look at the program as a way for me to use my time and resources to volunteer to fundraise on behalf of a charity that I feel strongly about.  Without me and the 100 DC participants we have this season training for the Virginia Wine 1/2 Marathon, CCFA would be without the $200,000+ dollars that we have pledged to raise.  

Volunteers are instrumental to charities, allowing them to gain access to resources and materials that they might have not been able to accomplish with the typically understaffed offices those nonprofits have.  I encourage you all to do what I did, seek out your passion and run with it.  Give fundraising a try and maybe you will realize how much satisfaction you gain from it, or if not, there are always other ways to get involved in the charities.

Lisa Dorsey
Head Coach, DC Area's Team Challenge (and CVN volunteer)

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