Get the whole community involved!
VisionWalk is truly a grassroots, community event. Our success comes from the strength of the communities in which we live. The entire New York City VisionWalk community banded together last year with more than 1,400 donors and an average gift of nearly $100 ($96.17 to be exact).
With the 2012 New York City VisionWalk less than 3 months away we can all work to engage our communities and help make this year the strongest one yet. For some tips on engaging your community check out the brief Q&A below with VisionWalk Co-Chair Jeanette Hogan. Jeanette is the queen of community building. Through the work of Jeanette and her husband Shawn, the entire Bayonne community got behind the VisionWalk to support the Hogan family and Team Jack Attack.
Question: Why did you get involved with VisionWalk?
Answer: When my seven year old son, Jack, was two and a half he was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa (RP). We immediately started doing research and found the Foundation Fighting Blindness. After speaking to the staff at the New York City office we were connected with the VisionWalk and have been fundraising ever since.
Question: What were the three most successful things you did to get the Bayonne community involved?
Answer: First, we started with great community support. My husband is a police officer and my brother-in-law is a firefighter - both in Bayonne - and both groups wholeheartedly supported Team Jack Attack. The second successful tactic was to get the word out about why we were involved in the VisionWalk. The Bayonne Community News and the New Jersey Journal both did articles on our family which helped us raise awareness. Our third push for community involvement came from our fundraising. In addition to our email donation requests we held a poker tournament which raised more than $12,000, sold our distinctive blue tye-dye Team Jack Attack t-shirts, and held a 50-50 raffle.
Question: What tips do you have to offer to help someone with their community building for the VisionWalk?
Answer: Always, always, always ask everyone you know to support you! You never know who will make a donation or who has a connection that can open doors for you. Also, you should always be ready to talk the Walk - carry flyers with you and be ready to give a short "elevator" introduction to your team and VisionWalk. Katie in the New York office can help get you set up with materials and also come up with your "elevator" introduction. And, possibly the most important tip, make it easy for people to support you. Give them a direct link to donate online. Give them an exact address to mail checks to. Give them multiple ways to donate. You can even make it easy for them to get to the Walk. Team Jack Attack arrives at the Walk in 2 buses - that way no one has to drive into the city or worry about parking.
Question: What are your plans for this year's VisionWalk?
Answer: Our goal this year is to raise $20,000 for the VisionWalk. We're going to keep up our successful events and activities from past years and hopefully pull out some new ideas.