Thursday, August 29, 2013

Using Technology to Fundraise and Monitor Your Walk Efforts!

We’re always looking for inventive ways to help you with your fundraising efforts and to stay on top of the latest news about NAMIWalks. We recently introduced two new tools to help you along your Walk journey – the NAMIWalks Smartphone App and the Facebook Friendship Powered Fundraising (FPF) App. These new technologies allow you to connect with potential donors, process donations, register walkers and keep track of your Walk efforts.

The NAMIWalks Smartphone App can be downloaded from the app store on an iPhone or Android. The app allows Team Captains to register a walker and all Walk participants to take a donation in the palm of their hands. So, if a Walk participant is telling a friend at a party or at the office that he/she is walking in the NAMIWalk and the friend decides that he/she want to support the person or join the person's Walk Team, the Walk participant can take the donation or register the person right at that moment by using his/her phone. It’s a fast and easy way to process a donation and/or to register a walker. Since the App is hosted by the same company that hosts the NAMIWalks website, donors don’t have to worry about the safety of using the device; it’s just as safe as making an online donation!

In addition to processing donations and registering walkers, the Smartphone App also allows participants to monitor how much they have personally raised and/or how much their Team has raised. Participants can also access Walk news and fundraising tips through the App. It’s amazing how much can be done by using this tool!

Our other new App, Facebook FPF App, runs entirely inside Facebook. Using the FPF App, walkers don’t have to leave the familiarity and comfort of Facebook to contact friends about the Walk and to ask for/accept donations. Event participants and their friends can drop in, track progress, share with more friends and donate with one click when it's top of mind and the moment's right. Because the App is fully integrated on multiple channels, it works perfectly on mobile, tablet and desktop devices!

We are excited about these Apps and hope you will use them in your fundraising efforts! Contact your local Walk Manager if you have any questions or want additional information on these tools.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Putting NAMI in Every Household!

I recently had the fortunate experience to visit NAMIWalk sites in Oregon, Texas, Idaho and California.  I am always impressed by the NAMI folk across the county.  I am certain that if I ever had to relocate anywhere in the U.S., there would be a NAMI group to welcome me!

During my trip to Boise, Idaho I was checking into my room at the Holiday Inn when the desk clerk asked me if I was in town for business or pleasure. I mentioned business and told her I was there for NAMIWalk Boise’s Team Captain Kick-Off Luncheon. Her eyes lit up and she excitedly responded, “I know about NAMIWalks!  I walk every year!” I was surprised and could only say, “Wow! Thank you for your support. I hope you’re planning to join us again this year!”  She replied that she would register that evening after her shift was over.  I did not see Mi’lani the rest of my time in Boise, but that conversation reminded me to be more forth coming about NAMI; you will usually be happily surprised by the response you receive!

My experience in Boise was not a rare one. During my flight from Austin, Texas to Los Angeles, California I sat next to a young lady who shared that she was a teacher in East Palo Alto California. We discussed the many challenges that come along with teaching, but also the rewards of watching students learn and succeed.  Of course she asked me why I was in Austin, and I told her I was there to present at the NAMIWalk Austin’s Team Captain Kick-Off Luncheon. She looked at me and asked, “Was that at the botanical gardens?” I replied, “Yes.” She said, “I was at the garden today and saw you all!  You were having a great time I wanted to join you!” I could only say to her, “I wish you had, because you were more than welcomed!”   

We talked further about one of her friends, whom she has known since her early childhood. She told me how her friend developed a mental illness in her late adolescence, and her concerns for her friend and her friend’s family.  I told her about NAMI and how NAMI Programs are available to everyone at no cost.  Our conversation continued about some of her students and how they could use mental health services and assistance.  Some of what she shared was only showing me how much she needed to know about NAMI, and how NAMI could help so many other individuals and families, if they just knew about our programs and support groups. As we deplaned I gave her my card and shared the NAMI website as a resource.  She was grateful to know that NAMI existed and that she could point people to an organization that can help.

Building awareness about NAMI and our Signature Programs is a key element of the NAMIWalks Program.  By sharing your personal story, how NAMI improved and saved your life or the life of a loved one, you are making NAMI a household name! 

National Walk Manager

Friday, August 9, 2013

Using Your Talents to Raise Funds for NAMIWalks!

As a National Walk Manager I have the great opportunity to travel around the country and attend many NAMIWalk events. While at an event I take the time to meet some of our Team Captains and walkers. I enjoy learning about why they participate in the NAMIWalks program and the tactics they are using to get people to join their Walk Teams and to raise funds. I recently attended the NAMIWalk New Hampshire’s Team Captain Kick-Off Luncheon and I met a young girl, Kelsey, who is using her talents to raise money for the 2013 NAMIWalk.

Kelsey is walking in honor of a family member who is living with mental illness. Wanting to support her loved one and raise money for NAMI New Hampshire, Kelsey decided to use an “out of the box” tactic to raise funds. She, along with the help from her parents, is making crafts and selling them in local businesses and at community events. Her items range from purses and tissue pack holders to hair barrettes and wallets. She has something for everyone! She has kept her prices low; they range from $.50 to $2.00, so everybody can afford one of her FUN homemade pieces. I can't wait to use the bookmark I bought from her!

So far she has raised almost $200 through her sales and she’s still going strong!  Her goal is to raise $500, which I’m sure she will hit!

We all have talents we can use to raise funds toward our NAMIWalk efforts. What do you enjoy doing that you think could make a great way to raise money…baking, car detailing, babysitting? The ideas are limitless! Start using your talents today to raise funds for NAMIWalks!!!

Happy Fundraising!

Friday, August 2, 2013

What’s a Super Team?

Some people participate in a NAMIWalk as an individual walker, but most people get involved because they’ve been asked to join a team. A team can vary in size, but we at NAMIWalks like to work on averages. We suggest that teams include 10 people and set a goal of raising of $1,000. We break it down this way – 1 team with 10 people, each person raising $100, so the team raises $1,000. Having a group of people working together makes it easier for a team to reach its goal. Actually, most teams raise far more than a $1,000 because of the dedication of its members!

Teams provide the opportunity for walkers to work together and achieve a goal. Many Walk teams like to get creative by designing t-shirts and signs, as well as hosting special events such as guest-bartending nights or car washes. Money raised through the special events support the team’s fundraising efforts.

In addition to regular teams, Super Teams are also part of the NAMIWalks program. A Super Team is an umbrella for a collection of regular NAMIWalk teams that are all affiliated with one large company/organization (100+ employees/volunteers/walkers). The walkers are broken into the typical NAMIWalk teams which are smaller and more manageable than having all the walkers on one very large team. Registering as a Super Team allows a company/organization track its total teams, walkers and dollars. Having multiple teams under a Super Team umbrella also provides the opportunity for friendly competition between the internal teams.

For example, General Hospital is a large health care provider; it will register as a Super Team. The hospitals' departments will register as regular teams under the General Hospital Super Team -- so there could be a GH Nursing Team, GH HR Team, GH Marketing Team, GH Accounting Team, GH Development Team, etc. It's that easy!

Contact your local Walk Manager if your company/organization is interested in learning more about forming a Super Team. A Super Team goal has to be at least $20,000!