Here’s Part 2 of our interview with Sue Dockstader and Carol Aaron from BCC Rally about its Pink Bow Fundraising Program. In case you missed it, make sure to check out Part 1 of the story which we highlighted on our blog a couple weeks ago.
Rally: What other ways have you found to increase interest in your campaign?
Carol Aaron and Sue Dockstader: We found that by partnering with other charities and breast cancer organizations they could also fundraise with our bows. We also realized that to expand beyond our immediate neighborhood we would need to find new ways to network and so joined the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce and the Latin American Chamber of Commerce. We also started to attend events like the Southern Women’s Show which allowed us to raise breast cancer awareness and introduce our bows to hundreds of new people. We also work closely with our local Komen affiliate to introduce the bows to their Race teams and accompany them to many awareness events throughout the year.
Rally: So what are your biggest challenges as you continue to expand?
Carol Aaron and Sue Dockstader: Really, there is no limit to how many people we can reach with our campaign, and we certainly hope to continue to expand and grow. The last two years we have raised $75,000 and $83,000 which would have been beyond our wildest dreams when we started. This is a simple idea, but it needs a great deal of manpower. Our goal is to find more volunteers to run campaigns in their own neighborhoods, schools and businesses. Our initial goal was to “pink up” Charlotte, however we now recognize the true potential of this campaign and would like to see the whole country displaying these vibrant pink bows during October to show collective support for the many families who have been touched by breast cancer.
Rally Question: With the huge demand, how do you continue to do this?
Carol Aaron: We have a strong group of volunteers who are the backbone of our organization. It is important that we foster a relationship that encourages their commitment, passion and energy so that they stay committed year after year to BCC Rally and the Pink Bow Campaign. At the same time it is imperative that we develop new ways to attract new volunteers, which may be as simple as encouraging existing volunteers to reach out to their friends.
Rally: Are there any other advantages to your bow program other than just the money that it generates for Susan G. Komen?
Sue Dockstader: The great thing about the bows is that they not only act as a fundraiser,but also help to raise breast cancer awareness. Also, this campaign encourages those who can donate more, to increase their contribution beyond the actual cost of the bows. About 25% of the money we raise with the campaign is a pure donation, prompted by the initial request to buy a bow.
We go into some schools where the kids don’t all have a lot of money, but for $2 they can tie a bow on their backpack and know that they are making a difference. We try to emphasize that when you add up all those small donations, the collective contribution made by the whole school is making a big impact both financially and through awareness. The same is true in many neighborhoods, by offering people an economical opportunity to contribute, they are pleased to participate in the fight against breast cancer in some small way, and it helps us spread awareness into new communities. The bows prompt kids at school to talk to each other about breast cancer, and even encourage guys at work to start talking about early detection- “Has your wife had a mammogram?” That is a huge part of the pink bow program. Yes, it’s a significant fundraiser, but it’s also a great way to spread the Komen awareness message, which is what we’re very motivated to do.
Another unique element to the campaign is that with a small donation, the participant gets something back that’s worth more than the donation. You couldn’t possibly buy these bows for the price that we charge. But because our cost for the bows is taken care of by our wonderful sponsors, Komen still gets a 100% of what each person donates.
Rally: Earlier, you had mentioned the positive impact that this program has upon kids. Can you elaborate on that a little more?
Sue Dockstader: I think it is great that we’re getting kids to talk about this disease, to be aware of the importance of a healthy lifestyle and to know the significance of early detection. . We’ve heard of kids talking about the bows at the school bus stop. “Oh do you know what that ribbon is for, those are for mammograms, my mom had hers.” It just starts a dialogue about mammograms and breast health and makes those difficult conversations easier. In the long run we hope it will encourage these kids to think about a yearly mammogram like a dental check up, something not to be missed or to be afraid of.
When kids are involved in running a pink bow campaign in their school or neighborhood, it sends a strong message about the value of charitable work and how small donations soon add up and that their participation really can make a difference in someone’s life.
Rally: Clearly, the BCC Rally has put a tremendous amount of time and energy into growing this pink bow fundraising program. How can smaller groups get something similar started?
Sue Dockstader: We know that for many smaller Rally groups it takes all their energy and manpower to host their main Rally event, so they are wary of adding another component. But adding pink bows to an event is simple! A group can use a few bows for decoration, or take some on consignment and offer them for sale to participants. If anyone is interested and has time to share a few bows with their friends or work colleagues, then they will buy a few extra. That is how it starts. The friends of friends decide they would like to involve their neighborhood and so on. If another Rally group sold a few bows to “pink up” their golf carts, their tennis bags or their neighborhood mailboxes, we would be thrilled as every little helps. It is one pink bow at a time. So we thank you for spreading the word!
For information regarding Pink Bow campaigns, email Carol at firstname.lastname@example.org