Staying Motivated – How to maintain support year after year
By Sue Dockstader – Rally Ambassador & Contributing Blogger
When hosting a volunteer run charitable event there is a constant need to ensure everyone involved stays motivated. You want to keep your volunteers excited about planning new events and secure participant’s support year after year. There is no magic formula for motivation, but staying open to fresh ideas while fueling everyone’s passion for the cause, will keep supporters engaged.
Begin With Local Impact
Start out strong with an informative and inspiring first planning meeting. Ask your local Komen Affiliate to speak or provide information from a grantee, describing the challenges of women battling breast cancer in your community, and the constant need for funding and raising awareness. Sharing current data about advances in treatment outcomes and increased survival rates attributable to Komen research will also show your supporters the continued relevance of hosting Rally events.
Change is Good
Even when your group is committed to the cause, events can become stale unless you welcome new ideas and add some twists to the format every year. Change the décor from simple checkered tablecloths to a stylish black and white theme, include a fashion show or add a casino element to an evening event. Have fun with your menu to prevent repetition – a country picnic one year, a street taco vibe the next and perhaps consider pasta stations. Volunteers will be excited to be planning something new, and participants will be intrigued to see what unique elements you have added each year.
A thought provoking speaker can also vary the tone of your event. I have listened in awe as a survivor currently undergoing treatment shared the importance of Komen research to her personal journey with cancer, I’ve heard a local celebrity encourage us to continue to Rally so her daughter can be spared the cancer her mother and grandmother have endured, and I’ve had to concentrate while a genetic counselor described new discoveries and knowledge related to the BRCA gene. Knowing events will be fun, thought provoking and informative keeps people coming back year after year. Volunteers will be energized knowing their event demystified cancer in some way and perhaps prompted a life-saving mammogram.
Some people are not impressed by pretty tablecloths or the impact of a speaker; they Rally to make their event a financial success. Challenging these volunteers to exceed their fundraising goals will keep them motivated and engaged in the cause. A note of congratulation in your neighborhood magazine or local press may fuel a little friendly competition and encourage event planners to aim to surpass expectations of numbers attending, as well as dollars raised every year.
No one is being paid for the hours they invest in event planning, so be sure to make everyone feel valued by acknowledging all volunteer tasks, however small. Remember to revise your procedures each year to maximize efficiency, so all your volunteers know their time is being well spent. Volunteers stay engaged when they are appreciated and their talents are well used.
Rally events have educated over two million people about the importance of early detection and raised in excess of $77 million to support the community based work and research of Susan G. Komen®. Keeping your supporters informed of research developments and community impact, while making sure each year starts with a fresh look at event formats, themes and goals will help maintain motivation and commitment to your Rally event and the fight against breast cancer.