I have been fortunate to be involved in DanceBlue since I was a freshman in high school when older students, who were familiar with DanceBlue at UK, decided to start a mini marathon at my school. I wasn’t sure what DanceBlue was, but I loved being involved in different student organizations and DanceBlue sounded fun. I signed up to be on committee, and I was put in charge of a morale group during our eight-hour mini marathon. Little did I know that that position would make me fall in love with an organization that has become such an enormous part of my life.
My first mini marathon was nothing short of transformative. I remember standing (of course) while I watched our mini marathon reveal. I had chills as I looked at those numbers and realized that students across the state had an opportunity to be a small part of an incredible organization that supports even more incredible kiddos and their families. I continued to serve in various roles throughout high school, and I applied for UK’s DanceBlue committee my freshman year of college. I was fortunate enough to receive a position on corporate committee. After that first year, I served as the Silent Auction Coordinator and, last year, I was the Team Fundraising Coordinator. This year, I have the privilege of serving as DanceBlue 2021’s Fundraising Chair.
Every year, I have learned something new about DanceBlue, about the Kids and their families, and about myself. It is so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day activities—taking care of myself, worrying about school, applying for graduate school—I’m sure many of you reading this understand. DanceBlue, however, provided one space that was not like the others. DanceBlue gave me a family and an opportunity to look outside of myself and observe my biggest inspiration—our kiddos who fight fearlessly every day. It gave me a chance to serve our kids in a small capacity and provide a bit of support while they fight a battle that I cannot even imagine fighting. This organization has also given me role models in my fellow committee members, the chair team, our advisors, and the nearly 1,000 dancers every year. They have shown me what it means to serve others and to love well—two lessons that I will always carry with me.
Well, since I spent time getting really in my feelings, I’ll also discuss the logistics of what I do as Fundraising Chair. I am responsible for organizing fundraisers—restaurant nights and events—as a part of the 365-day fundraising component of DanceBlue. Additionally, I am responsible for tracking and recording online donations that come through our donation platform, Network for Good. For those of you who are not familiar, Network for Good is the primary donation platform for DanceBlue that makes donating quick and painless. I am a big fan of Network for Good because it provides several different options for donating—recurring donations or one-time gifts, and small or large donations. It is also user friendly, and the link is easy to share with friends and family members for quick access.
If you are interested in donating to DanceBlue or investigating Network for Good further, please visit our website (danceblue.org). On the home page, there is a yellow “DONATE” box. If you click that box, it will take you to the DanceBlue Network for Good page. There, you can find the team of the dancer to whom you wish to donate and include their specific name in your donation. If you are not looking to donate to a specific dancer or team, you can also donate to DanceBlue as an organization.
Fundraising, and DanceBlue in general, look very different this year. However, we are fortunate to have different ways to engage with our community and continue our fundraising efforts. Virtual fundraisers and online donations have taken center stage as an essential component of our fundraising strategy this year. Throughout the year, our marketing team has designed some awesome fundraising graphics that dancers can repost to incentivize and encourage their friends and family members to donate. I highly recommend taking advantage of those graphics as a part of your individual fundraising strategy. Individual fundraisers, like restaurant nights and selling merchandise or other items, is also a great way to fundraise, especially over the break. Writing letters and participating in events, like the blood drive, are also great ways to stay involved with DanceBlue and fundraise throughout the year.
Above all, however, I think the most important aspect of fundraising is to remember why exactly we are fundraising. The kiddos and their families that we have the privilege to support are the heart and mission of DanceBlue. Throughout my time in different fundraising roles, I have found that raising money can be anxiety-inducing or frustrating at times but remembering why I am fundraising always helps me re-focus and overcome any nerves I experience. DanceBlue’s kiddos deserve the world and having an opportunity to support them in a small way is an amazing chance to show them how courageous we think they are and to provide a support while they fight each day.
Thank you all so much for taking the time to read my thoughts, but, more importantly, thank you for the work that each and every one of you do for our Kids! DanceBlue would not be an organization without the incredible people that shape and support it. As Fundraising Chair, I am here to provide support and assistance however I can. Please feel free to reach out to me at [email protected] if you have questions, concerns, or ideas. I would absolutely love your feedback or the opportunity to help in any way that I can. I hope that each of you has a wonderful holiday season! ‘Til the battle is won!
For the Kids always,