Dance Marathon has always been about making a difference. Making a difference in a community, making a difference in the lives of a family, making a difference in the life of a child. This past weekend, the children’s miracle network hospital nation watched as Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school banded together an entire community to make an incredible difference in the lives of thousands.
On Saturday, April 21, 2018, hundreds of students, alumni and faculty at MSD stood in honor of the kids who can’t. This inaugural event was a long time coming. Originally planned for February 21, 2018, the students had to postpone the event in the aftermath of the tragic shooting that occurred on February 14, 2018. That tragic day took the lives of 17 of their classmates and instilled within the survivors an incredible desire to make a difference in their community, nation and world. On Saturday, these incredible students did indeed make a difference. They surpassed their original goal of $12,000 by over $54,000 and at the end of their 5-hour dance marathon, these students and their community had raised over $66,000 for children being treated at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami.
We at UGA Miracle are so incredibly inspired and proud of the students at MSD for their commitment, heart and passion for this cause. It was a truly amazing experience to watch the entirety of the CMNH band together to support MSD in its inaugural dance marathon. We are so happy to have been able to support them by sending sellable UGA Miracle merchandise as well as sending encouraging words and support. It was an honor to stand behind them and watch them achieve miracles. We cannot express how much this mini-marathon means to us and our CMNH community.
The students of MSD stood for so much more than just the kids. They stood for their 17 classmates who will never stand again, and for the hope that never again will any child have to fight for their life. This is why we have mini-marathons, this is why we spend countless hours fundraising and connecting with our miracle families. We do it to make a difference. We do it to change lives.
From UGA Miracle to MSD Dance Marathon, congratulations on an incredible and inspiring inaugural dance marathon. Your resilience, strength and passion motivate us to courageously pursue impossible goals, continually push past inconceivable obstacles and be confident in our ability to make an incredible difference. Thank you for the inspiration and thank you for making miracles.
With Dance Marathon just a few short days away (!!!), the Miracle community is full steam ahead toward making Miracles Beyond Measure (if you don’t know what this means, click here). There is so much going on, so we decided it would be best to remind you what we think are the best ways you can be getting ready for this weekend. We are so excited, and we hope you are, too!
First of all, Dance Marathon is just that: a marathon. There are things you will physically need in order to complete the task ahead of you. Here is a packing list for all of the physical things you should think about bringing.
Also, don’t forget about this waiver! You’ll need it when you check in. And also, please don’t forget water. Water is so very important to your body.
Next, let’s talk about some of the best ways to experience Dance Marathon, while doing the most you can FTK. Before you even get to the Tate Center on Saturday Morning, there are things that you can do! During the event, there are two major opportunities that you can choose to do beforehand: the Standing Challenge and the Hair Chop Challenge. The Standing Challenge is just how it sounds: stand for 24 hours for the kids who can’t. Anyone can participate. Next, the Hair Chop Challenge takes place in from 2:00-4:00 p.m. in the Tate Atrium, and the only requirement is having eight inches of hair to donate. Here are the links to register for the Standing Challenge and the Hair Chop Challenge.
Also, there are plenty of other ways to make this Dance Marathon great, and we have some tips for Social Media platforms that relate to our overall theme for Dance Marathon, which is Miracles Beyond Measure. This year on social media, we want you to highlight your “why” in UGA Miracle. Think about why you joined Miracle, why you invest your time in it, and why it’s so important not only to you but for the kids and families at CHOA. Make sure your friends and followers understand your heart behind the fundraising – people are happy to give to a cause that changes things (and UGA Miracle changes things!). Because at the heart of Dance Marathon is the passion we have for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, we want our posts on social media to reflect that.
On a more practical note, it helps to write what you want to post beforehand, so your focus can be on what’s happening at Tate in that moment. And include pictures! People love pictures. And don’t be afraid to start now! Everyone who has raised $50 by Friday is entered once into a drawing for an Apple Watch, and every additional $50 you raise is another entry in the raffle.
If you want to know what you can expect from this year’s Dance Marathon, watch this recap video of last year’s event. And then multiply it by 100. We’ll see you on Saturday!
With Dance Marathon just a short 30 days away, the Miracle Body is getting excited about the potential impact that the days leading up to this singular event can have on the lifetimes of the people involved. And in case you missed it, unleashing the potential of UGA Miracle is the theme of Dance Marathon this year. “Miracles Beyond Measure” means striving toward excellence, not bound by numbers, what we think we can do, or even what we’ve done in the past. Because our cause and our families are so much more than just numbers, this year, there’s no numerical goal for our fundraising for CHOA. This year, our goal is to focus on the things that truly matter: the things that can’t be quantified.
To announce this goal and the theme for this year’s Dance Marathon, the media team and the Executive Board created a heart-driven video and presentation that more clearly illustrates the idea of “Miracles Beyond Measure.”
The video, which can be found here, compares the heart behind Miracle to our hearts behind Dawgs Football – we don’t let our defeat measure us, and we don’t let our victory measure us either. Defeat and victory, according to the video, “are not what matter most, what matters most cannot be measured.”
To follow up the video, Executive Director Maddie Dill and External Director Heather Bailer shared the executive perspective behind Miracles Beyond Measure. In coming up with the theme, they got to reflect on how much Miracle has meant to them in all the intangible and immeasurable ways.
Heather passionately spoke about her time with Miracle, and she talked about the great potential that Dance Marathon can have, both numerically and otherwise. “But,” she claims, “there’s so much danger in becoming an organization that is purely transactional because that’s just simply not who we are.” She thinks Miracle’s foundation and reputation is better represented by the immeasurable things the organization can offer: memories, people, and hard work. “And at the end of the day,” she claims, “any dollar that you raised is a dollar that went towards creating a miracle.”
Maddie spoke about focusing on the intangible and immeasurable things of UGA Miracle, but she also spoke about how focusing on these things also means focusing on individual goals. She says Miracle’s goal isn’t about numbers. She says, “Our goal is for all of you to shoot for the stars. Set your own goals and go after them.” The driving force behind Miracle is the passion behind the goals, and Miracle’s success is determined by this passion and drive. Maddie realizes this and told the Miracle body on Tuesday that the passion for the intangible things is “the reason we’ve had so much success numerically in the past. That’s why we decided to have this theme, ‘Miracles Beyond Measure’ because you can’t really quantify all the amazing things that we’re going to do in the next 30 days.”
UGA Miracle isn’t scared of a numerical goal. We have decided to do something unprecedented and reach for things that can’t be quantified instead, which is even more scary. We are only limited by the boundaries we set for ourselves. And this year, we aren’t allowing a number to be one of those boundaries.
The sky's the limit -- your sky, your limit. So, reach for Miracles Beyond Measure for the next 30 days.
Hello, body of UGA Miracle!
If you have access to social media or know someone who does, you will know that this Thursday is UGA Miracle's $100 Day. Now, you might be asking yourself, What is $100 Day? Or, Why do I care? Or, How in the world does someone raise $100 in one day? If you found yourself wondering any of these things, we've got your answers (plus more!!!) right here.
$100 Day is a relatively new UGA Miracle tradition. It began in 2014 as a way to get people excited about Dance Marathon, as it kickstarts our 100 day countdown to DM. $100 Day comes complete with a Jimmy Buffett-themed rave, a hype-room, photo booths, DJs, and most importantly, excitement surrounding raising money FTK.
$100 Day isn't only about getting excited, it's also about setting a scary goal, and then working hard to achieve it (and this video explains it better than I can). Every person involved with UGA Miracle is challenged to raise $100 on $100 Day. One day. That's 24 hours. (DO THE MATH). This crazy amount of money in a very short amount of time should make you think about your heart behind UGA Miracle and your purpose for wanting to raise money FTK (the worthiest cause, in our opinion). Not only should $100 Day excite you to get your friends to register for Dance Marathon, it should also push you to find your purpose here in UGA Miracle and fan your flame FTK.
With that being said, here are some helpful fundraising tips and some examples of purpose that led people to success in $100 Days of the past.
Some fundraising tips because fundraising is scary without a scary goal attached to it!
Now that you have some tips for the fundraising part of $100 Day, it's time to CELEBRATE. There are two incredibly fun parts of $100 Day that you get to take part in. First comes Miracle At Midnight, our event TONIGHT at Hedges on Broad from 9:30 p.m. to Midnight to kick off the start of $100 Day with a series of raves that you won't want to miss. You can buy tickets here. Second comes all day TOMORROW. In Tate room 473, from 8 a.m. until Midnight, is the UGA Miracle HYPE ROOM. There will be dancing. There will be food. So get hype. Finally, at Midnight, UGA Miracle as an organization heads over to Herty Field where we reveal our total for this year's $100 Day. We are always astounded, humbled, and pumped up by the amount, (because since the first $100 Day in 2014, we've quadrupled our totals) and we don't think this year will be any different.
So come on and join us for a scary, exciting, and so worth it 24 hours! FTK, always.
Fall in Athens is full of beginnings, and a lot of these beginnings are filled with hype and renditions of “Glory, Glory to Ole Georgia®.” But at UGA® Miracle, our rendition of “Glory, Glory®” is filled with not only hype but hope.
The UGA® Miracle Fall Kick Off happened earlier this week, but in case you missed it, we wanted to share with you a little bit about what we do.
UGA® Miracle is a student-run philanthropy that benefits Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA), our local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital. Our goal is to raise money and awareness through our events like Dance Marathon for CHOA’s Comprehensive Inpatient Rehabilitation Unit (CIRU) and the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center. But more than that, we have the unique opportunity to build relationships and become personally affected by the Miracles that happen at CHOA.
Let’s stop here for a second: UGA® Miracle is the state of Georgia's largest student-run philanthropic organization, and we’re telling you that you will become personally affected by the stories you’ll hear and the people you’ll meet. We know that’s a bold statement to make, but we’re pretty confident about it. And we can prove it to you in two ways.
Firstly, you will become personally affected and inspired by the UGA® students, your peers, who are involved with UGA® Miracle. Not only will these people be the most excited and lively you’ll meet (they really know how to boost your morale, if you know what we mean), but their personal stories will inspire you and call you to action.
Take Quinn Evans, for example. A current Assistant Chair on the Leadership Team, Quinn loves giving her time and effort to UGA® Miracle because, in her own words CHOA “gave me so much. It gave me my second chance.” Quinn was hospitalized for 31 days in Atlanta-based Miracle Network Hospitals, for the most part rehabilitating from brain trauma and paralysis in the CIRU at Scottish Rite. Quinn states, “I wouldn’t be able to stand up here and say all of these things to you guys if it weren’t for all the donations from organizations like this one. The first million that we raised last year went to the CIRU at Scottish Rite, which is how I am able to stand here today.” Joining UGA® Miracle means being personally affected by your peers, like Quinn, whose stories will inspire you. (To hear the rest of Quinn’s story, click here.)
Secondly, you will be personally affected by the families that UGA Miracle has the opportunity to partner with. At our events, like Dance Marathon, you get to hear real people talking about real ways that CHOA and UGA Miracle have provided hope and stability in their difficult times. (To hear the Seagraves Family story from Kick Off and to understand the “Glory, Glory®” reference from earlier, click here.)
So now, the question is NOT do you want to get involved. We talked to a bunch of you after kick off, and we know you want to. You’re HYPED about Dance Marathon and having the opportunity to get involved with an organization that has so much positive impact on campus and beyond. (Those are your words, not ours.)
The question is how do you get involved.
Clicking here will take you to our website where you can read more about the ins and outs of UGA Miracle.
Clicking here will take you to a video that gives you a quick look at what you can expect from Dance Marathon.
Clicking here will take you to the application page, complete with all the information you need to find your place in UGA Miracle.
Clicking here will take you to the video from this year's kick off.
We are so excited to start this year with you all, here’s a pic of your smiling faces!
We are in the homestretch! There are only 11 days left until Dance Marathon. The remaining days will be crucial for fundraising, whether you are trying to reach or exceed your goal.
Fundraising isn’t something that should intimate you, but rather it is something that everyone and anyone can do. At it’s core, fundraising is about putting the power of choice into people’s hands and making them truly want to donate to your cause.
Remember to ask anyone and everyone for a donation; the worst thing that can happen is that they say “no”. Don’t be afraid to ask someone twice. Sometimes people who want to donate are simply busy when you ask them, so always try again. We have had members receive over $100 donations after asking someone for a donation 5 times!
During these final days, we suggest sending personal letters or emails to friends and family asking to support UGA Miracle. We have created a three-step platform to guide you in creating these request letters. We are confident that when used persistently, this platform will help you feel more confident while asking for donations.
People want to feel good about what they are doing in life, and everyone wants to be inspired. When you are reaching out to your family/friend/mentor/boss/coworker, begin your message with a personal and direct greeting like “Dear Uncle Bob.” Include in the first paragraph their direct impact on your life, and talk about how your life would be different if they weren’t involved. This will engages the reader and makes them feel confident that they have been a good mentor or friend to you. Express your love and appreciation for them and they will be encouraged to continue their positive effect on your life by donating.
Here is an example: Dear Mrs. White (high school teacher). I wanted to send this email to first personally thank you for everything that you did for me while I was in your AP Spanish class. Your constant dedication to our class and willingness to stay before and after school to help us really meant a lot to me, not only were you a teacher but you were a life coach. You showed us how to live lovingly.
After telling the potential donor what his or her impact has been on your life, transition into talking about CHOA, UGA Miracle, and the direct impact that this organization has also had on your life. Inspire the reader with a brief, personal story. Explain CHOA’s mission to give sick children their childhood back, and how Miracle helps fund the hospital so that these children can continue to be treated with love and a high quality of care.
Then, empower them! Talk about how they can continue their impact on this world, the city, and the lives of children by making a donation. Discuss your fundraising goal here, where the money goes, and include a CHOA video that empowers them to donate. Emphasize their donation as a “gift” that can change a life, and they will feel like a superhero wanting to make a change.
3. Call to Action
Now that they have been inspired and empowered…. It’s time to call to action. Here is where you really stress the importance of their donation. We suggest saying something like, “I would not reach out to you personally, if this wasn’t something that I desperately needed your help with.” Acknowledge the difficult economic times and ensure the reader that any and all gifts are extremely appreciated regardless of the size. You could also mention that their donation comes full circle in the sense that it is tax-deductible.
Post the link to your fundraising page in this section with a powerful message asking them to give. Reiterate their specific role that they have played in your life and how thankful you are for their impact. Promise that you will never forget their contribution, and that when you are one day in your shoes will pay it forward and bless someone who asks you to help their cause.
Optimize Your Canning Session
With Dance Marathon quickly approaching, the next 27 days are crucial for a final fundraising push. Now more than ever we are encouraging everyone to do all that they can to ensure that we reach our goal of raising $1.4 million For The Kids. Over the next few weeks we are challenging you to make an individual fundraising push to reach your personal goals.
One of our favorite fundraising strategies is canning! It is simple, fun and a more personal way to raise awareness and funds for our amazing cause. While it is an easy and productive way to raise money, approaching people to ask for donations can be intimidating. Our goal with this post is to provide you with an approach, tip and follow-up response guide to help ease nerves and optimize your canning session.
But first… what is the main goal of canning?
Of course, a huge part of going canning is to raise money towards your personal goals, and in turn for UGA Miracle/Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. Unfortunately, though, not everyone you approach will donate money, so another important part of canning is simply to raise awareness of our organization.
Our biggest goal with canning is to present a positive face for our organization and leave people walking away with a favorable impression of Miracle. It is important to remember this goal and your representation of Miracle throughout every interaction during your canning experience. By being positive, kind, and having fun even in the face of rejection, we can ensure that UGA Miracle will continue to be widely known as the incredible organization it truly is.
Here's how to make it happen:
Where to Stand:
In the one square mile area of downtown Athens, there are various prime canning locations. Ideally, you want to set up in a high traffic area, and the best place to do that is on a street corner. Some intersections that see high foot traffic include:
People canning often shout at pedestrians to see if they would like to donate. This method is okay, but only yields results part of the time. Instead, try this method:
By this point, you have already gotten their attention and they are ready to hear you speak. A specific, quick pitch is generally the key to success. Here is an example:
"Would you like to donate to UGA Miracle to help us raise money for Children's Healthcare of Atlanta? Our organization is all donation based, and all of our money goes to sick children who really need our help."
With this general pitch, you provide people with all of the information they need to make a decision. In a few seconds you've told them about our organization, where the money goes and why it is important. It is also important to include some elements to appeal to their emotions.
If you see that a person or a group is willing to listen to you for longer, you can use the extra time to tell them about Miracle, the hospital, or your own personal experience with either.
Luckily for us, our "product" (Miracle and CHOA) is well-known and universally well-received. Saying you're volunteering for Miracle and Children's often will do the job itself. Use this to your advantage!
The Follow-Up Response:
By now you've gotten their attention, made your pitch, and now you're waiting for a response. In general, you are going to get one of these responses:
General Advice and Tips:
With these simple steps and a little practice, you will be well on your way towards reaching your personal goal and helping the kids. People go out in Athens almost every night of the week, especially Thursday-Saturday, so you have plenty of chances to be successful with your canning. To make your experience the best it can be, here are a few parting tips:
Good luck canning! We hope that this post helps guide your experience, but remember to put your own flair on things, and most importantly to have fun! We are in the homestretch to Dance Marathon and it is up to you to help us $1.4 MILLION dollars FTK!