No matter how worthy the cause, my rule is that you can only (aggressively) bang on the same friends’ doors for donations once a year. Go beyond that and they won’t be thinking of you as altruistic. They’ll stop taking your phone calls.
For the past four years, I’ve run in the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth (CHaD) HERO race with my kids in superhero costumes. No parent ever wants to get to know the inside of a children’s hospital, and unfortunately, I’ve spent way too much time there.
Having a strong personal connection to a charity — and sharing it — is probably the most effective fundraising approach possible. People that I’ve chosen to share my story with have been exceptionally generous. However, a few months ago, I also tapped deep into my network to support One Run For Boston, a fundraising race to help victims of the Boston Marathon terror attacks.
This is an issue that’s surfaced with the soaring popularity of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. How can you pit one charity up against another? People only have so much to donate. How do you weigh the merits of helping a bombing victim with a prosthetic limb vs. a baby who needs to eat with a feeding tube?
Again, you can’t ask everyone you know to support everything you care about or every charity event you participate in. Most of the time I resolve this by making a modest donation (whatever I can afford) to charity events I’m part of — or figure out how to contribute in volunteer hours — and don’t “bother” others.
I’m making an exception this time.
The superhero race is my way of expressing gratitude that I have to spend far less time in children’s hospitals these days. My family does not even use CHaD at all currently, but I want to support other parents who unexpectedly feel like they were smacked in the face with a brick.
On a lighthearted note, one of my family’s most important decisions will be which heroes to be this year. Last year, my son was Wolverine, my daughter was Robin the Girl Wonder, and I was Robin the Boy Wonder for the second time in a row. It’s time to retire the mask, but the Garnick Justice League will be coming back stronger than ever this year!
Those of you who know my story can support us in the October 26th CHaD race at my team page.
Those of you unfamiliar with CHaD or who are stumbling on my blog for the first time can still help an amazing cause.
As for our new alter-egos… stay tuned!