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Encouragement from a First-time Fundraiser


My name is Jenny Kara and my daughter was diagnosed with JDM on April 1, 2012. In December 2013 we participated in the CrowdRise Holiday Challenge in order to raise money for Cure JM. This was our first time raising money for Cure JM or for any organization for that matter.

I was NOT born a salesperson, nor was my husband. Asking friends/family to donate money was not easy for us and frankly made me EXTREMELY uncomfortable.

Why do it then???

As my husband says, “If we don’t help raise money to find a cure for our daughter….who will?” We have said we will do anything for Maddie, so as uncomfortable as it was we put ourselves out there and wrote an email to friends and family (kind of like asking someone on a date…will they help, will we be rejected, did we sound stupid, did we sound desperate, etc….).

This is what we found out:

  1. Yes, it was uncomfortable as we waited for any responses.
  2. When the responses came we cried, tears of joy.
  3. Our friends and family had wanted to help, but didn’t know what to do. This fundraiser gave them an outlet to show us how much they cared.
  4. The monetary value of each donation did not matter; it was the sweet notes that accompanied them.
  5. We had someone on a fixed income send in a small donation; it meant the world to us.
  6. We had a family not be able to donate due to financial troubles, but sent a beautiful letter supporting us. It stated that they prayed for Maddie daily and when they had extra to give they would give to Cure JM. (Yes, we cried reading this letter)
  7. We found out that someone would step up and donate a large amount and another would match the amount adding $1.00 and encouraging others to do the same (it became a challenge if you will).
  8. Remind people when the deadline to give ends. People who want to give will appreciate the reminders.
  9. People you are sure will give may not and people you don’t expect will!
  10. SEND THANK YOU’S! We sent immediate thank-you’s via email. Then sent a letter to each person with the total amount raised and that Cure JM won the CrowdRise challenge (which was a $100,000 prize for Cure JM). We also cut card stock into long rectangles to make bookmarks. Maddie decorated them with stickers and a short thank you message. I figure the thank-you’s have to be good, so they give when I ask again;)!

Good luck and CURE JM!!!