march for babies blog

Archive for February, 2010

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24 Feb
Linda

With March for Babies just two months away, now is the time to start raising those dollars. If you’ve walked before, you’ve probably figured out some of the things that work for you. But we can all use a little inspiration, right?

Are you walking with your co-workers?

•       Ask your boss to offer up incentives like a prime parking spot or day off. Raffle them among people who raise $200.
•       Create a “Wall of Fame” and highlight everyone who raises more than $200.
•       Promote some competition between departments – which team has the most walkers and who wins on dollars?

Are you walking with family and friends?

•       Ask everyone on the team to help raise money, even if you know a lot of the same people.
•       Reach out to your Facebook friends, and ask them to share your request with their friends.
•       Dedicate your Facebook status to anyone who gives you a donation over a certain amount.

Speaking of Facebook… have you checked out our active community yet? Everyone is talking about March for Babies. Stop by for tips from folks who are walking – and share your own!

You can also follow us on Twitter!

19 Feb
Volunteers

Today’s post comes from Astrid, a student at the University of Arizona and a member of our National Youth Council. Astrid has been an avid March of Dimes volunteer for years!

How do you plan to kickoff your March for Babies campaign this year? Here are some ideas to help get you started.

Start your personal online fundraising campaign. Hopefully you have already signed up at marchforbabies.org! Personalize your profile and add a March for Babies banner to your email template or Facebook page so that others can see your progress. Set a realistic yet optimistic personal fundraising goal. It is the start of a new decade, but saving babies never gets old. Send emails to your friends, family, teachers, and acquaintances. Every dollar, and even every dime helps, and many people are incredibly generous.

Involve others. If you are part of a March of Dimes club or organization, encourage group fundraising and goal-setting. When I was in high school, we held a very popular ‘Mile of Dimes’ coin drive each year before March for Babies. We not only held the coin drives in our high school, but also in the local elementary and middle schools. Classes became competitive, and we were able to raise thousands of dollars each year. Change can go a long way!

Personalize. Although we live in the era of technology, sometimes it is better to be old-fashioned. Close family friends may appreciate the personal touch of a letter and be more inclined to take action- all through the help of paper, envelopes, and stamps! Be sure to mention that donations can be made online or through the mail, whichever is most convenient for them.

Go farther. Take your fundraising beyond your family, connections and school. Visit local businesses and ask for donations. Even if companies aren’t willing to donate, sometimes they will allow you to place a coin jar on the counter in their lobby or reception area. Dentists’ offices, nail salons, local eateries and other such businesses are great places to approach for this type of fundraising. Be sure to bring a letter along with you explaining your purpose. Also, set a pickup schedule for each location every week.

Don’t be discouraged. Fundraising can be difficult. However, if people see that you are passionate about something, they will be moved. Remember: even if someone doesn’t donate, you have still educated him or her about the March of Dimes and its mission: healthy and happy babies. That is extremely important.

Be creative. Try a new fundraiser. Reach out to others in an original way, and don’t forget to share your success stories with us! Visit marchofdimesyouth.com to not only learn new ideas, but also share your great campaigning tips with others. Good luck!

17 Feb
Linda

Kmart has done and continues to do wonderful things to help all babies!

Over the last 26 years, Kmart has raised $79 million dollars for the March of Dimes! Last year alone they raised a record $8.3 million and Kmart hopes to set a new record this year!?

How can you help? Kmart customers can support March for babies and improve the health of babies by making a donation of $1, $5 or $10 at any store cash register through May 31.

So next time you shop at Kmart, make sure to check out the program and don’t forget to say ‘thank you’ for their support in giving babies a healthy start!

16 Feb
Volunteers

Fabulous Family Teams

Posted by Volunteers

One of the great things about participating in March for Babies is meeting all the Family Teams that come out to walk every year.

Check out this video about some of the families who are participating and let us know in the comments why you walk!



For more information on how you can register your family to be part of March for Babies in your local area please e-mail us at familyteams@marchofdimes.com.

12 Feb
Online Fundraising

Create a New Link to Your Online Team Page

Posted by Online Fundraising

There is more to your team than a bunch of numbers!  When you create your team, you are automatically assigned a string of unique numbers–like this:  www.marchforbabies.org/team/1234567.

But who can remember that? Use your team name instead, or another word that’s easy for your team mates as supporters to remember. Here is how you do it:

  1. 1. Make sure you have administrative privileges for your team.
  2. 2. Log in to your “Team Dashboard.”
  3. 3. Click your “Team Page” and “Edit Page” in the top navigation. Click the thumb below to enlarge.
  4. 4. Under your team’s name, click “Edit Address.”
  5. 5. Scroll down to the middle of the page where you’ll see the place to create your team’s vanity URL. Click the thumb below to enlarge.
  6. 6. Type in your team name or other name you want to use and check to see if it’s available (don’t use any special characters ($%^&$) or spaces in the vanity URL field ¬– it won’t work).
  7. 7. When you’ve got what you like, scroll down to the bottom and click “SAVE MY CHANGES.”

Now you’ve got a Web address for your team page that is easy to remember!

Questions?  We’re here for you!

11 Feb
Volunteers
President Barack Obama greets March of Dimes ambassador families in the Oval Office, Feb. 11, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)

President Barack Obama greets March of Dimes ambassador families in the Oval Office, Feb. 11, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)

Two families who know all too well the trauma of having a baby born prematurely visited the White House today to share their inspiring stories with President Obama. The Hall family from Leesburg, Va., and the Hoffman family from Weston, Fla., are ambassadors for the March of Dimes, a nonprofit foundation that works to prevent premature birth, birth defects, and infant mortality.

“These brave families told the President that premature birth can happen to anyone, and when it does happen, it exacts a huge toll emotionally, physically and financially on families and the country,” said Dr. Jennifer L. Howse, president of the March of Dimes. “We need to invest more federal funding in research that will stop the rising incidence of preterm birth.”

Joined by LaVerne Council, secretary of the March of Dimes board of trustees and corporate vice president and chief information officer of Johnson & Johnson, the March of Dimes delegation also spoke with the President about how preterm births illustrate how critical it is for every pregnant woman and child to have access to health coverage.

Six-year old Katelyn Hall was born at only 25 weeks and was given a 5 percent chance of surviving. After a 5-month stay in newborn intensive care (NICU) and more than $1 million in medical bills, Katelyn’s parents Ashley and Michael were finally able to bring her home.

Joshua Hoffman, 7, of Weston, Florida, the March of Dimes 2010 National Ambassador, was born so early and with so many underdeveloped organs that doctors could not say whether he would survive — or if he would ever walk, talk, see or hear.

Josh spent 3½ months in the NICU and had many surgeries and treatments, including heart surgery, laser eye surgery and blood transfusions.

Premature birth has increased more than 36 percent in the last 25 years in the United States, and now affects 540,000 babies annually. It is the leading cause of newborn death and costs the nation more than $26 billion annually in health care costs, according to the Institute of Medicine.

The Hall and Hoffman families traveled to Washington courtesy of Continental Airlines, the official airline sponsor of the National Ambassador Program “Serving the March of Dimes and our community in this capacity is an honor,” said Jeff Smisek, Continental Airlines Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

March of Dimes 2010 National Ambassador family: dad Lee Hoffman with son Alex; mom Melanie with son Joshua Hoffman, the 2010 National Ambassador; Ms. Council and Dr. Howse with Katelyn Hall, 2009 National Ambassador; Katelyn’s mom Ashley Hall and dad Michael Hall.

March of Dimes 2010 National Ambassador family: dad Lee Hoffman with son Alex; mom Melanie with son Joshua Hoffman, the 2010 National Ambassador; Ms. Council and Dr. Howse with Katelyn Hall, 2009 National Ambassador; Katelyn’s mom Ashley Hall and dad Michael Hall.

10 Feb
Volunteers

Showing our Love for Babies

Posted by Volunteers

Today’s special Volunteer guest post comes from a top youth volunteer, our National Youth Council Chair Neha!

With Valentine’s Day just around the bend, how about doing something special for those we love so dearly – our nation’s babies! Start off the year with a March for Babies donation to honor a baby in your life – whether it is a younger sibling, neice or nephew, or anyone close to your heart.

February is the perfect month to kickstart your fundraising for March for Babies. Something as easy as selling candygrams, baked goods, or colorful carnations can be a simple fundraiser for you to plan at your school. If you are up for the challenge, consider planning a schoolwide Valentine’s dance, or partner with a local ice cream shop to hold a Valentine’s Dessert night. There are lots of things you can do, just be creative and know your audience!

Did you know that babies who are born too soon are at risk for a heart defect? About 35,000 infants (1 out of every 125) are born with heart defects each year in the United States. Heart defects are among the most common birth defects and are the leading cause of birth defect-related deaths.

Adding a mission fact to one of those heart-shaped lollipops can have a dual purpose – not only are you raising money, but spreading awareness for a cause you love. Happy Valentine’s Day! Let us know how you are going to show your luv for healthy babies this Valentine’s in the comments!

6 Feb
Volunteers

January 18th was Martin Luther King Day, the beginning of Youth Service America’s Semester of Service that culminates with Global Youth Service Day, April 23-25. Students all across the world are committing to volunteer during the spring semester in order to positively impact their communities.

This year, make the March of Dimes part of your Semester of Service. In many communities, March for Babies will take place in April around Global Youth Service Day, and participating in this event would be an excellent service opportunity. This month, form a March for Babies team with your peers by signing up online, then follow these steps to make your March for Babies team a fantastic way to serve your community:
*Use the March of Dimes Teen2Teen Health Education Series with your peers or a middle school or high school group. By following the Presenter’s Guide, you will be educating young men and women in your community about the importance of healthy decisions — both for their current well-being and their future families.
*Spend a Saturday providing comfort to families with a baby in the NICU. Host a book drive, decorate the NICU or provide healthy snacks for parents. Contact your local March of Dimes office to see how you can help your local NICU Family Support® site.
*Fundraise to help the March of Dimes support research, advocacy and education, and help give every baby a healthy start.

By making the March of Dimes part of your semester of service, you have the opportunity to educate teens, comfort families and help ensure that babies are born strong and healthy! For more great ideas, check out the Team Youth eNewsletter at marchofdimesyouth.com and share your ideas here in the comments section!

4 Feb
Volunteers

And the winner is….

Posted by Volunteers

Right before the holidays, many of you participated in a survey where we showed you 6 different banners and asked you for your favorite. We got over 1100 responses and a lot of really wonderful feedback!

The banner that had the highest rating from you, by a clear margin was:

MFB Banner
You can click on it to make it bigger. Thank you to everyone who took the time to complete the survey!

3 Feb
Online Fundraising

Adding Your Fundraising Badge in Outlook 2007

Posted by Online Fundraising

We’ve gotten a few calls from people having trouble adding their fundraising badges to their e-mail signature in Outlook 2007.  If you’re experiencing this problem, too, follow the steps below. If you get stuck or cannot get it to work, let us know in the comments or you can always contact the help desk.

  1. 1. Create a new “TEXT DOCUMENT” on your desktop (right click on the desktop and go to NEW – TEXT DOCUMENT)
  2. 2. Paste the code into the text document that you created, save the file as MFB2010.htm (erase .txt from the file name and replace with .htm)
  3. 3. In Outlook, go to Tools > Options and the Mail Format tab.
  4. 4. Click the Signatures button.
  5. 5. Click the New button.
  6. 6. Name your signature ‘MFB2010’
  7. 7. Click OK
  8. 8. Close Outlook
  9. 9. Locate your signature folder by navigating to these folders or go to Start, Run and paste one of the following: for Vista: %userprofile%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Signatures, for XP: %userprofile%\Application Data\Microsoft\Signatures
  10. 10. There will be three files in that folder called ‘MFB2010’ (in three formats: .htm, .txt and .rtf). If you cannot see the file extensions, go to Tools / Folder Options / View and deselect ‘Hide extensions for known file types’, or right-click on the file and select ‘Properties’, that will display the file type in a new window.
  11. 11. Replace the .htm file in that folder with the file you created. Make sure that they are named the same.
  12. 12. Restart Outlook 2007.

Some companies may restrict access to the Windows folders named above.  Your IT department should be able to tell you for sure.

Did it work?  Still having trouble?  Let us know!

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