I've lost track of whether economists and/or optimists think we're in a recession/depression/turn-around. What I can tell you is: I don't have a lot of extra money laying around, and I bet a lot of other people don't either.

I've seen some Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure walkers acknowledge this in fundraising letters and ask for prayers and emotional support from those who feel they can't donate. That's really gracious and honest - because the 3-Day journey is much longer than 60 miles and walkers need all the support they can get throughout training, fundraising and blister management.

But, let's be honest, that $2,300 minimum fundraising requirement isn't going to raise itself. And complaining that $2,300 is too much/too hard/utterly ridiculous isn't going to help anyone. Once one has accepted the 3-Day challenge and decided to do something bold, the only option is to move forward. And keep trying.

So, here are my suggestions for how to help a walker reach that very bold goal without spending a dime yourself:

* Get your friends to help. Seriously, take it upon yourself to send a fundraising letter to 10 (or 25, or 50) friends who you think might support your walker financially. Your walker can set you up with some sample fundraising letters you can tweak (or, I've posted some here, here and here). You can either include a print-out of their donation form in a snail-mail letter, or include a link to their fundraising page in an e-mail. I bet it will take you only an hour or two to put together, but the walker will remember your kind support for months.

* Take advantage of your business/church connections. Work out religiously at a gym? Are you best friends with someone who owns a shop with a lot of foot traffic? Decorate a donation jar on your walker's behalf and ask to set it on the counter. Or ask your church's youth group/Girl Scout troop/neighbors to have a change drive in support of your walker. You'd be surprised how much loose change adds up when several people clean our their cars/pockets/sofa cushions in the name of ending breast cancer.

* Put your Facebook/Twitter/blog followers to good use. Really, this one is limited only by your imagination. Challenge your friends to skip a cup of coffee and donate $3 (or $8, if they really like their Starbucks) and link to your walker's page. Share some of breast cancer's sobering statistics: One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in their life. Every 3 minutes, someone else learns of this scary diagnosis. Commit to doing a training walk with your favorite walker and ask your online buddies to donate $1 for each mile you walk.

* Dedicate your credit card rewards or frequent flier miles. If your walker has to travel, he or she will have to tack those costs on top of the costs of shoes, camping gear and dri-wick clothing. Use the free rewards you get for money you already spent on your credit card to get a gift card to New Balance, another shoe outfitter, or a sporting goods store.

* Just click on blog ads. I (heart) Leanne Johnston. I've never met her, but she's a fellow 3-Day online ambassador and a 3-Day rockstar who is taking on the challenge of walking in two events this year. (She walks primarily for her grandma, who died of breast cancer 31 years ago before Leanne was born.) Check out her blog here, click on some of the Google ads, and the proceeds will go toward her fundraising goal. Go back and do the same thing tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day... Takes only a few seconds, but it can make a difference.

* And in the same vein, vote for Leanne's 3-Day video. Intel is hosting an online contest through March 17 in which participants show through video, slide shows, or photography “what’s at their core." The video grand prize winner gets $7,000 for their passion (Leanne's fundraising would be finished for this year if she wins) and a laptop. Voters are entered into a drawing for a free laptop, too. Leanne's video really illustrates her pink passion -- and some great footage of creative pink walking attire from past events. Vote early, and often, here.

Vote for Me
Access Your Core from Intel

Any other ideas? Feel free to comment on this post - I'd love to hear what other passionate and creative minds have to say. :)

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10 Responses
  1. Steph Says:

    I always say, if you wanna do something just do it...wait so does Nike, right?

  2. I totally have tears in my eyes. Your post is absolutely beautiful. Thank you so much for your incredible support! You are such a rockstar, Jillian!!

  3. Great suggestions! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Ang Says:

    Thank you! Now I have some great ideas to pass on to people who tell me they can't donate right now because they are financially strapped. This is quite helpful! :)

  5. Kelly Says:

    I'm fund raising right now too and, yes, the economy isn't ideal for this but that just means you get to be more creative. Always remember why you're walking - I think about how maybe other girls will get a little more time in the kitchen with their Grandma; I know if I could that would make me so happy and I love thinking I might be able to make that possible for other girls. And if you have the guts a good fundraiser: wear a great push-up bra and make every guy you catch staring cough up some money to help protect them - hey, they've spent years talking to our chests instead of our faces - the least they can do is chip in to help save them!

  6. Kristen Says:

    I collect the bottle and can recycling at work and from friends. One friend doesn't have money to donate but she drinks soda like crazy. She was putting the recycling in her curbside container, but instead I go over once a week to pick up her cans to recycle. Last year I collected for about 2-3 months and got nearly $200. This year I started collecting in October and my garage is full of garbage bags FULL of recycling just waiting to be taken in.
    I also ask far away friends to recycle and donate the money to me. They've got the bottles and cans laying around anyway, might as well put it to a good cause.
    (I'm in California; I know this option isn't available everywhere.)

  7. Suzanne Says:

    I'm a fellow 2x Twin Cities walker. I know how hard the fundraising is! If anyone is interested in doing a Tastefully Simple fundraiser, let me know. I have helped out one group so far this year that's doing Race for the Cure. Best of Luck!!! :-) Suzanne SimplySue@comcast.net

  8. Anonymous Says:

    Thank you so much for doing all this for those of us who are fighting breast cancer, and who are too weak to get out there and walk with you.
    I don't know how many people realize that the money not only goes for research, but to help the victims of this horrible disease. I've been out of work for 6 months, and found out at the 3rd month of my unemployment that I had stage 3 cancer. This wonderful foundation, helped me to pay a few bills so I could keep my lights on water running, and oil in my furnace, over the cold winter.
    Women are so powerful and supportive when they believe in a cause. God Bless all of you who give so much to help others.

  9. Lill Says:

    I love this post and have posted a link a few times! Another idea is if you are planning a yard sale as a fundraiser, ask people to clean their closets and give you the "stuff" that they don't want!

  10. Jen Says:

    Hi, My name is Jen and I am a first time walker in DC this year! One of the ways I am raising money is by donating 50% of my profits as a Creative Memories Consultant. If you want to host a catalog show, I'll donate half of the profits from it to your walk. My email is jen_creativeconsultant@yahoo.com and my website is www.mycmsite.com/jenniferkendz Happpy fundraising!