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When I signed up to participate in 4K for Cancer I had no idea how much I would learn to do over the course of a few months as I attempt to raise my goal of $7,476. Obviously I have learned about how cancer affects young adults, but I have also gained a lot of practical skills as well!

Using GIMP (open-source software similar to Photoshop) to create a flyer for one of my 4K events.

Using GIMP (open-source software similar to Photoshop) to create a flyer for one of my 4K events.

A handful of things I have learned and/or done includes:

  • Design posters, flyers, receipts, and other materials using Word, PowerPoint, GIMP, and Paint.
  • Manage and record numerous donations with auto-updating counts using Excel.
  • Mail Merge using Word to quickly print letters with personalized greetings and addresses for a multitude of people.
  • Use Google Drive for a wide variety of projects
  • Develop a tiered ‘reward’ system (and learn it is not very effective)
  • Write letters of request for corporate sponsorships
  • Cold-call businesses to ask for donations
  • Perfect “the ask”
  • Set-up and participate in interviews with official news outlets

There is one thing that I struggle with though, and that is directly asking people to donate.  In my mind, once I put up a bunch of flyers, create Facebook groups/events, make a million announcements, and discuss it so much that everyone knows about it, I should start getting donations from family, good friends, and other close relationships.  After all, that is what I do: when someone I know is doing something like this I support them right away.

Some people definitely did that, and I want to express how EXTREMELY GRATEFUL I am for those supporters.  It took me awhile to realize I cannot expect many people to do this, and those of you who did kept me sane! So while I think I am doing a good job with planning events and using the skills I mentioned above, I am still struggling with “the ask.”  The actual words themselves are not hard: it is easy to describe the 4K and ask for a donation at the end.  The hard part is mustering the courage to ask: I feel like I am nagging.  I feel like a telemarketer.  I feel as though I am imposing on people.

It is hard…really hard.  But I have to do it.  I just have to.