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26 Mar
Volunteers

Making “the ask”

Posted by Volunteers

A big question we receive during March for Babies is “Who should I ask for support (either to walk with me or to donate)?” The answer is – everyone and anyone! Here are a few tips to help you come up with a list of potential supporters.

Getting Started – Make a list of ten people you know that you could ask for support.
Then write down ten more.  Keep going until you can’t think of anyone else.  Start simple with your immediate family and close friends. Expand the list to include extended family, classmates, teachers (past and present), and coworkers. Think about everyone you talk to on a daily or weekly basis. Are you part of a community or school club/organization? Add their names to the list. Go even further by including neighbors and additional members of the community (like your family doctor or dentist). When you begin to make your list, don’t leave anybody you know out – sometimes you’ll be surprised at who gives you a donation.

Incorporate this activity at your next team meeting. Make it a competition to see who can come up with the most names!

Reaching Out – Be creative when reaching out. One technique may not work for all audiences.
Online fundraising is an easy way to fundraise. The easiest way to fundraise online is sending emails to potential donors with a link to your personal page.  You can do this directly from your Online Fundraising Page at marchforbabies.org. But don’t stop there.  Use social media to post a link to your fundraising page – you can reach people who might not have donated to you otherwise.  Dedicate your Facebook or Tweet about your progress. Use benchmark words to encourage more donations – “I’m just three $10 donations away from my goal!”

In some cases, adding the personal touch of a hand-written letter will be an incredible and thoughtful surprise to potential supporters. Mail letters to family and friends. Go the extra mile and ask classmates and teachers in person – it’s much harder for someone to say no to you in person. If you want to reach the most potential donors as possible, using a variety of fundraising methods will help you get there.

The Snowball Effect – After you’ve asked someone to donate, ask them to refer you to others they know who might be interested in donating.
Ask friends to share or post your fundraising efforts on Facebook and Twitter. This will help you not only reach people in your network but outside of it as well. Asking donors to refer you to others is an easy way to expand your network and will not only help you raise more money this year, but also when you participate in March for Babies in the future.

Ask Everyone – The important thing to remember when you decide who to ask to support you is that there is no such thing as asking too many people.  Besides, someone can only say yes if you ask them first!

26 Feb
Volunteers

How to Host a School Event

Posted by Volunteers

School event

Hosting an event at school is a fun and exciting way for your team to work together to raise funds and awareness for the March of Dimes. Here are some tips and advice to help you be successful this March for Babies season. Be sure to check out the 2014 March for Babies Youth Captains Guide for a full step-by-step guide to planning your own event, as well as fundraising ideas and resources.

Remember to work with your administration for approval for any events or activities your team hosts at school.

Brainstorm & Set Goals: At least 2 months prior to the event, host a brainstorming session with your team. Consider your target audience and evaluate the success of past events. Do school dances usually draw a large crowd, are students interested in sporting events, or is something else even more popular? Is another popular event happening at school this semester? Reach out to the organization(s) in charge and see if your groups can join forces to support the March of Dimes.

Get organized: Once the event theme is set, think through the resources and supplies needed to make your event successful. Assign tasks to individuals or create committees, if needed. Some assignments may include publicity and promotions, day-of set up and clean up, logistics and gathering supplies. Depending on your event, you may also have entertainment and games committees.

Find Support: Contact different groups and organizations at school to encourage attendance AND for support of the overall event, if needed. Invite the acapella group to be the entertainment, ask the journalism club to help with publicity, and encourage the school mascot to be a special guest. Reach out to local stores and restaurants in the community for food or prize donations. As a “Thank You” offer free advertisement opportunities on your promotional material.

Remember the Mission: Let people know that by donating they are supporting stronger, healthier babies. Invite a family connected to our mission to speak at your event, or show our National Ambassador mission story (found at youtube.com/marchofdimes).

Take pictures and videos at the event and be sure to share with sponsors and everyone who participated. Following your event, be sure to thank your sponsors and team. Be sure to share your success with Team Youth (teamyouth@marchofdimes.com) and on Facebook (facebook.com/marchofdimesyouth) and Twitter (@teamyouth).

Now let’s hear from you:
What tips do you have for school teams hosting an event?
Tell us about your favorite March of Dimes event you attended or hosted.

19 Feb
Volunteers

FBLA-PBL at VLC

For more than 40 years, Future Business Leaders of America – Phi Beta Lambda (FBLA-PBL) has been an enthusiastic supporter of the March of Dimes, educating countless members of the community and raising more than $15 million to support our mission! At the 2013 Volunteer Leadership Conference they were recognized as the 2013 #1 Top Fundraising National Service Partner raising more than $470,000!

We got to speak with the Cole Simmons, FBLA National President, and Donnie Iorio, PBL National President, about their experiences as student leaders working with March of Dimes, as well as gain some fundraising tips and advice for students.

Q: What motivated you to volunteer & participate in March for Babies and March of Dimes?

Cole Simmons (FBLA National President): I only learned about the March of Dimes upon joining FBLA, but soon discovered it was much more than just another organization. There is no arguing that the work that the March of Dimes does impacts our future. Seeing the stories of the lives saved by the March of Dimes has been what has motivated me to get involved!

Donnie Iorio (PBL National President): My local [FBLA] chapter advisor in high school motivated our chapter to attend the March for Babies in our county – from then on, I was hooked!

Q: Why do you think it is important for youth to be involved in March for Babies & March of Dimes?

Cole: It is important for youth to be involved because it sets the stage for a lifetime of service! In addition, youth can be some of the most energetic, passionate, and productive contributors to organizations like the March of Dimes.

Donnie: This is my favorite question!  Back when the March of Dimes was started, 75 years ago, the mission wasn’t to improve the health of babies–it was to eradicate polio, a terrible illness that primarily effected the youth in our country.  FDR, the President of the United States, asked that families send their dimes to the White House.  Children went door to door, one dime at a time, knowing that what they were doing was making a difference.  Though Polio has been eradicated, the March of Dimes mission still remains the same – helping the Youth live healthier lives.  That is why it is so important that we, as youth, contribute to the mission.

Q: And finally, tell us your #1 fundraising tip!  

Cole: Show your passion! When you are fundraising, you are essentially selling an idea. To make others believe in it, you have to show that you believe in it yourself!

Donnie: THANK people on Facebook!  Seriously, every time someone donates, dedicate a Facebook status update to them thanking them for their donation!  I find that not only is this a nice gesture, but it prompts others to donate to your cause!

Thank you, FBLA-PBL for your continued dedication and passion to our mission! And thank you Cole and Donnie for your insightful tips and expertise!

For more tips and advice for successfully leading your team during March for Babies, check out the 2014 March for Babies Youth Captains Guide available at www.marchofdimes.com/youth. Here you can find a step-by-step guide to leading your team and hosting events at school and within your community. Contact us at teamyouth@marchofdimes.com for more ways to get involved!

27 Jan
Linda

Aidan’s Story

Posted by Linda



Meet Aidan.

Born 12 weeks early and weighing only 3 pounds, Aidan’s story begins like too many others. Watch his family explain his desire to give back and help other kids as the March of Dimes 2014 National Ambassador.

This is Aidan’s story.

24 Jan
Linda

The March of Dimes is thrilled to announce our 2014 National Ambassador, Aidan Lamothe! Born 12 weeks early, Aidan weighed just 3 lbs. and spent 7 weeks in a newborn intensive care unit (NICU). Even as a very young child, he understood how serious it is to be born prematurely and decided he wanted to volunteer to tell his story to help other kids.

He and his family visit the NICU every year on his birthday, to honor the doctors and nurses who saved his life. Aidan, and so many other premature babies, wouldn’t have survived without specialized treatment in the NICU, developed in part by research funded by the March of Dimes.

Today, Aidan is an adventurous 6-year-old who loves playing baseball, playing the piano, and doing gymnastics. He’s proud to serve as the 2014 National Ambassador and will travel the country with his parents to help raise funds and awareness of premature birth.

United is the Official Airline Sponsor of the Ambassador family – flying them across the nation to represent the March of Dimes and promote our mission.

Learn more about Aidan’s journey and join him – register for March for Babies today!

15 Jan
Volunteers


Do you know a student leader who has shown incredible passion and dedication for the March of Dimes? The March of Dimes is looking for passionate rising or current college students to lead youth volunteers and help all babies have a healthy start! We invite advisors and mentors to nominate a student leader for March of Dimes National Youth Council and Collegiate Council Ambassador roles.

The National Youth Council is the foundation’s TOP youth leadership council, consisting of dedicated collegiate leaders passionate about the March of Dimes and committed to promoting, supporting and implementing youth leadership development on a national level. Collegiate Council Ambassadors are college leaders interested in growing March of Dimes local engagement and involvement on campus and in their community.

New members to both programs are provided with orientation, ongoing training and mentoring. Throughout their experience, members will be offered opportunities for professional development and personal growth.

To learn more about these leadership opportunities and to nominate a student leader, visit marchofdimes.com/youthnominations. Nominations close February 28, 2014 – so nominate a student leader today! For more information, contact March of Dimes Team Youth at teamyouth@marchofdimes.com

20 Aug
Volunteers

The National Youth Council consists of 19 student leaders from across the country, representing universities from Harvard University (MA) to Stanford University (CA)

The National Youth Council consists of 19 student leaders from across the country

This summer, seven new members were inducted into the March of Dimes National Youth Council, a student group of exceptional leaders for the organization. These top student leaders joined twelve other high-level college volunteers around the country to support March of Dimes youth leadership and lead the way with students and March for Babies!

National Youth Council members are selected because of their demonstrated leadership and dedication to the March of Dimes Foundation. These new members have done extensive volunteer work for the March of Dimes and are active members in their communities.

The newest members include:

Brent (University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill) has served in various leadership capacities within Future Business Leadership of America – Phi Beta Lambda (FBLA -PBL), including his most recent positions as National Vice President and assistant to the National President.

Hannah (University of Pennsylvania) has a strong connection to our mission and is dedicated to engaging her peers. In middle school she organized and led “Team Cupid,” a March for Babies team consisting of her peers which raised more than $25,000 to support our mission that first year alone.

Victoria (College of Charleston, SC) has served in various leadership roles for the March of Dimes, including the Alachua Chain Reaction Leadership Council March for Babies Chair. Under her leadership her Chain Reaction raised more than $57,000 to support our mission.

Sabhya (College of New Jersey) is an active member of the March of Dimes Mercy County Chain Reaction and founder of the March of Dimes club at West Windsor Plainsboro High School, which consists of 150 members dedicated to year-round service to the March of Dimes.

Bernadette (Harvard University, MA) demonstrated dedication to service and volunteerism throughout high school as a member of Key Club International, and as a freshman in college, serving as the 2012-2013 Harvard University March of Dimes Collegiate Council Ambassador.

Lauran (Texas A&M University) began her involvement with the March of Dimes through FBLA in middle school and became more involved in high school while interning at the Atlanta March of Dimes Chapter Office, assisting in coordinating special events and educational programs.

Akshay – Rutgers University (NJ), intends to dedicate his life to helping others and making a difference for babies everywhere. Akshay has won many awards for his volunteerism and passion for the March of Dimes including 3rd Top Walker in Central New Jersey and the March of Dimes President’s Award.

National Youth Council members work closely with other volunteers and professional staff at the March of Dimes regional and national offices and in the chapters to provide leadership and assistance in these programs. In addition, National Youth Council members are involved with other national partners, advocacy initiatives, and with the development of collegiate programs to support the March of Dimes mission.

Are you interested in becoming a Youth Volunteer Leader?
Contact teamyouth@marchofdimes.com for more information on the National Youth Council and other leadership opportunities.

27 Apr
Volunteers



Jordin Horowitz, Top Youth Walker; Samantha Harris; Linda Cardellini; Barry Simmons, Bank of America; Steve Henning LA Board Chair/State Board Member; and in Talia Sommer (in front) lead off the starting line of the March of Dimes California Chapter March for Babies walk at Exposition Park in Los Angeles.

More than 15,0000 walkers joined together for the walk for healthier babies! Wow!

25 Apr
Volunteers

Checklist for March for Babies Day

Posted by Volunteers

Remember to plan time for your team photo!

Remember to plan time for your team photo!

National March for Babies weekend is right around the corner! You’ve recruited your team, raised awareness and funds to support babies and families, and soon you will join more than 7 million people throughout 900 communities across the nation as you walk together for babies and families.

As you and your team gear up for March for Babies, keep the following preparation tips in mind to ensure it is a successful and fun event for everyone!

1-2 Days Before March for Babies
A day or two before your walk (or the morning of if you walk is later in the day) invite your team members to a t-shirt and/or banner making party. Create shirts for your team to wear as they walk for stronger, healthier babies and signs letting the world know who you are and why you are walking. This is a great opportunity to get everyone even more excited about the event!

Night Before March for Babies
Check the weather and let teammates know if they should pack a raincoat and/or sunscreen. Text, email or call your team to remind them about when and where the entire team will meet at March for Babies. Remember to plan time to take your team photo.

Pack the Essentials
As you lead your team, you want to make sure you are prepared for almost anything. Pack your bag the night before and include a fully charge cell phone, list of your team members’ phone numbers, team shirts and Band-Aids®.

Keep this information in mind as you prepare for March for Babies. And remember to encourage your team to share photos and your team’s success with March of Dimes Team Youth on Facebook (facebook.com/marchofdimesyouth) and on Twitter (@teamyouth).

Now lets hear from you:
What are your March for Babies essentials you pack before the walk?

19 Apr
Volunteers
When my son was born three (3) months early in 2006, the experience galvanized our resolve - Thomas A. Tatum

When my son was born three (3) months early in 2006, the experience galvanized our resolve. - Thomas A. Tatum

Today’s blog post comes from Team Captain for Eta Tau Lambda Chapter, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Thomas A. Tatum. Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity is a March of Dimes National Service Partner, in which members raise over $250,000 annually to support our mission and educates thousands about prenatal care and prematurity. Tatum describes himself as not only a dedicated member of Alpha Phi Alpha, but also a March of Dimes Dad.

Each spring, the Men of the Akron Alumni Chapter (Eta Tau Lambda) of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. join nearly 1,700 people in the March for Babies at Akron’s Lock 3 Park. This annual event is the local March of Dimes largest fundraiser to provide support and education for families as we work together for stronger, healthier babies.

“Many of our chapter members have had a direct connection with premature births, including my family,” says Tatum. “When my son was born three (3) months early in 2006, the experience galvanized our resolve.” Tatum, his wife, Milistine, and daughter Lauren were blessed to welcome Thomas II (Tre’) in March of 2006. Tre’ spent the first 78 days of his life at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Akron Children’s Hospital Medical Center. Milistine Tatum spent six weeks in Akron General on bed-rest prior to delivery. In the 7 years after his birth, Tre’ deals with some issues, but he continues to thrive.

The men of Eta Tau Lambda Chapter employ their network to assist in fundraising and engage their Education Foundation to provide matching funds to bolster their efforts. Thomas Tatum states, “The bottom line is to simply ask…an unopened mouth does not get fed!”

Thank you, Thomas for sharing your story and providing words of wisdom about the importance of asking. Encourage your team members to continue to ask for support from friends, family, colleagues and employers. Asking for support is one of the first steps in receiving it.

An extra thanks to both Thomas and Alpha Phi Alpha for their continued support and dedication to our mission.

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