Posted by: pointlenana | October 20, 2011

My Fundraising Goal

The big topic on my mind the past few days is how much I should aim to raise for Dana-Farber. 

The Boston Athletic Association – the group that organizes the Boston Marathon – mandates that anyone running in the marathon on behalf of a charity team must raise a minimum of $4000.  In fact, it goes further than a guideline.  When we sign up we provide a credit card number and if we haven’t met the minimum by a certain date (sometime around the marathon) we get charged for any difference.  So that’s the absolute minimum and there are probably some people who raise that much for their charity.

But it’s not really the minimum because running the Boston Marathon is a huge deal for some people (I guess me included) and it’s hard/competitive to get in no matter what route you take.  The “easiest” and most common way of getting in is by running a fast marathon.  But easy is a relative term here.  Don’t quote me on the exact number but I’ve read that something like 10% of people who finish marathons finish them fast enough to meet the qualifying standards for Boston.  Beyond qualifying, you actually have to get in.  18 months ago getting in meant being fastest on the keyboard – those of us who registered in the first 8 hours got in and others who had qualified but didn’t register in those 8 hours didn’t get in.  This year (for the 2012 race), they ranked people who applied,  fastest to slowest, and turned away 3000-4000 of the slower people who had qualified.  The charity route is really no different – most charities have more applicants than they have marathon slots, so it’s competitive there also and I think it comes down to who has the most credible plans for raising the most money for the charities.  I found the process a little bit like applying to college, in that I didn’t really know what it would take to get in.  For my application I set a target of $11,000.

As I alluded to in my last post, when I look closer at my plan – who I’ll ask and how much they might give – $11,000 seemed a little low.  Over the past few days I’ve had swings from wild optimism to pessimism.  Ultimately Janet came up with a perfect answer in between:  26.2 thousand (or 26,219 for those of you who know that a marathon is slightly more than 26.2 miles).  So that’s my target.  I love this goal because I think it will be a lot like running the marathon.  In a marathon the first half usually feels pretty good and easy, it gets harder somewhere between miles 15 and 20, and it can take a huge amount of resolve during the last part to finish.  I think hitting this fundraising goal will be a little like that.  I can see the first half pretty clearly, I have some confidence about the next part, and there’s a big leap of faith toward the end.   

I was watching videos of past Dana-Farber runners this evening, and one of the people pointed out that for people dealing with cancer, there’s no option of slowing down or dropping out.  Something I will keep in mind if and when my goal feels out of reach.

I do want to thank my first donor, who committed today to get me off to a good start towards the goal.  Thanks for making the conversation easy.  I didn’t know how it would go, and with your support I’m now thinking “I can do this”.


  1. Wow very ambitious goal – go you! Good luck!

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