- by Seth Rogers, Grassroots Fundraising Intern
Being around passionate individuals has a way of pushing a person beyond their perceived limitations. Working as an intern at the LIVESTRONG Foundation, such personal growth is almost a given. It isn’t always easy, but it can be surprisingly fun.
As a first-time fundraiser, I was nervous to ask for money. Furthermore, my role as leader of the intern fundraising competition put me in the uncomfortable position of telling others how to raise money—something I’d never done.
So I took a deep breath and wrote down my story. I put my own passion on a page. The funny thing was, I realized it was my pride that had been getting in the way of asking for donations. Having been raised to never ask for handouts, I was reluctant to reach out. Scared even. But seeing the reasons laid out in front of me (in my case, the death of my grandpa), I realized any donations I received weren’t about me. Rather, they were about preventing cancer-related deaths, providing treatment and aiding anyone who needed the help of LIVESTRONG.
Suddenly it all became easy.
Sharing my story with the people I emailed was the most powerful way I could create a connection. These messages – along with the help of my mom’s influential social network – helped me to raise more money for the Foundation than I thought possible. I am truly blessed with great friends and people who watch out for me and want to be involved.
I also had the good fortune of helping another intern, Stephanie Romero, put on something we dubbed “The Iron Concert Series.” What started off as a small brainstorming session quickly snowballed into a full-fledged event with everything from plans to posters—it was legit. And thanks to a great group of LIVESTRONG interns and lots of hard work from Stephanie, we had bands and venues in a matter of weeks. No small effort went into this series, but it was all worth it.
Personally, I enjoyed listening to the music and sharing LIVESTRONG’s mission into the wee hours of the morning. And when we raised over $1500, I knew we had created something very special too. Hopefully future interns here will carry the torch, utilizing the Iron Concerts concept to come together as a team while raising a little extra for the organization.
My own fundraising, coupled with the concerts, have proven how possible it is to truly reach people. Cancer is an awful disease, no one denies that. But when you gift-wrap an opportunity for someone to help people RIGHT NOW, chances are they will take it.
But maybe the best part of working with LIVESTRONG is the opportunity to connect with such special people on a daily basis. Fundraisers, employees, interns and donors—everyone I’ve met has been passionate about our mission. This kind of commitment is valuable and rare. I feel lucky to have seen this side of humanity, and I don’t think I’ll stop giving back anytime soon.