We partner with the National MS Society to produce MuckFest MS the fun mud & obstacle 5K that requires no special training, just a sense of humor. Our partnership extends to working with the local MS Society Chapter that benefits from the funds raised by participants. The Greater New England Chapter of the MS Society has had great success in cultivating sponsorships and fundraising due to their volunteer steering committee for the event.

We thought it would be useful to highlight their experiences and asked Liz Strawn, Director of Development, and the committee co-chairs, Andy Zimmon and Chuck Bean, to write this week’s guest blog post.

  • How did you get started and structure your committee?
    Our Senior Management Team engaged two of our Chapter Board Members to take on the roles of co-chair and then we began recruitment of other board members, top fundraisers and top team captains.
  • What is the committee’s charter? MuckFest MS Steering Committee Charter
  • What have been the 2-3 most effective actions taken by the committee to grow the event?
    The committee has been great with sponsorship leads and recruitment. Their connections and ideas have been proven to create success for MuckFest MS Boston. Another great action item was each committee member took a list of team captains and personally reached out to them on behalf of the committee and thanked them for their involvement and told the their story of why they muck.
  • How many are involved?
    We have 10 committee members.
  • After your first 2 years, what lessons learned can you share?
    The committee is a great resource for chapter staff cultivating donations and sponsors. They are willing and very capable of taking on action items.  If you create a plan for them, they will follow and meet all the items on it.
  • How do you keep the committee engaged?
    We set high goals around fundraising and sponsorship and then create a plan to achieve.
  • What is your favorite part of being on the committee?
    Andy Zimmon: My favorite part of being on the committee is the free sandwiches and coffee when we get together face to face!  Actually, there are a couple of things…  It’s nice to have the opportunity to play a major role in a new event.  I also really enjoy sending and receiving emails and having continued contact with many of the captains.  Being such a new event, we are also part of the molding/modeling process for the event.  Being this close gives us insight as to how we are doing, what is working and what needs to be reevaluated.

    Andy Zimmon at MuckFest MS

    Andy Zimmon at MuckFest MS

    Chuck Bean: I enjoy being a team player on a committee that is pioneering a successful fundraising event to new heights. As a Committee member, it’s important that our voices are heard, and with consensus from the group, our ideas are acted upon to improve the event going forward.

    Chuck Bean at MuckFest MS

    Chuck Bean at MuckFest MS

  • How much time does each committee member commit?
    We meet once a month in the beginning.  The first meeting is in persons then we go telephonically from then on, until 3-4 weeks out from the event, when we have one more face to face meeting.  Each meeting is an hour.  As we get closer, the meetings increase to every 3 weeks, and eventually every 2 weeks.The time commitment is not huge.  The meetings are the biggest commitment – then it becomes whatever you want to put into it.  We do emails to captains – that takes an hour of mail-merge time whenever I do it.  Other than that – we don’t typically commit a significant amount of time.

Engaging a volunteer committee in your cultivation efforts can pay off if you take the time to provide structure, empower your committee and work toward shared goals.

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