Nothing in life will prepare you for when you are told that your child has been born with cystic fibrosis. In an instant, your world seems shattered and you are left alone, feeling helpless and overtaken with fear. You have two choices when faced with such adversity: You can let the circumstances overwhelm you, or you can make the best of a difficult situation and fight.
It was months before my wife and I pulled ourselves out from under the initial fog of managing the complexities of Zach's disease, which involves hours of therapy and myriad medications. Slowly, we shared our news with immediate family and perfected the nuances of CF care. It was then that it became crystal clear: We had an obligation to our son and the entire CF community to advocate and fundraise for a cure to end this insidious disease.
So, we founded Zach's Crew, a national Great Strides team. In a little more than a year, we were able to raise more than $40,000 through the generosity of our family, friends and community.
Below are some fundraising ideas that were simple, yet effective, for our teams in securing donations for the Foundation. We hope this will motivate you to make a difference and fight for a cure.
- Start a team at one of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's annual events. Great Strides, CF Cycle for Life, CF Climb or Xtreme Hike are great ways to get involved and ask for donations while sharing your story with the masses. Share through email, text and social media, and make your donors feel included by sending them personalized, annual newsletters and photos.
- Secure local team corporate sponsorships. Many of us know small business owners who happily sponsor local teams and causes each year. Ask them to sponsor your Great Strides team t-shirt. Zach's Crew places corporate logos on our team t-shirts for contributions of $500 or more to the Foundation through our team. If your local team sponsor is interested in larger sponsorship opportunities, connect them with your local chapter staff.
- Benefit from corporate matches. To encourage social responsibility, many companies will match employee donations to a charitable organization -- an easy way to double your donation. Contact those organizations and see if they'll join you. If the organization you work for matches, then ask colleagues to support your team and get their donations matched. If you're not sure if they match, just ask.
- Host a community bake sale. Bake sales are easy to put together and can be a lot of fun. Focus on high-traffic retailers that will allow you to host the event, such as your local supermarket. Share your story with the general manager or store leader and many will permit you to set up a table over a weekend. Have friends and family help by donating baked goods and/or staff a shift at the table.