Counting Down, Packing Up

It’s hard to believe, but my second half marathon is only five days away! And now that the countdown has reached the single digits, it’s time to think about packing. I should be a pro at this by now – I went to sleep-away summer camps and programs starting at age 8, and had to move my possessions across the Atlantic more than once while attending college in England. But somehow, it’s the short trips that still stump me. I’ve never once achieved that traveler’s nirvana of having worn or used every item in a small carry-on suitcase on a short trip.

I’m not anticipating a change in this state of affairs, because I’m being overly cautious. This half marathon is actually my first ‘away’ race. While I’ve gone on regular morning runs in places ranging from down the Cape to Chicago to California over the past couple of years, all of my races have been run in the tri-state area, mostly Manhattan with a few local races in my Connecticut hometown thrown in for good measure. Usually, I don’t even bring my cell phone to races in Central Park. I’m lucky enough to be able to throw on a shirt, shorts, and sneakers, walk out my apartment door and be at the starting line in 20 minutes. This race is going to be different, and I intend to be prepared!

IMG_0253 IMG_0256

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve been told to pack for all potential conditions. I doubt it will snow so the YakTrax are staying home, but otherwise I’m trying to be ready for anything.

Palatable and portable

Palatable and portable

 

I need to pack my post-race snacks as well. I didn’t eat anything during the New York City Half Marathon last year, with my only fuel being a few stops for a sip or two of water. It was freezing and I just wanted to make it to the finish. This time, I’ll have my loving family members at the finish line bring my favorite fuel along with their hugs.

 

 

 

In the end, though, I just need to take a step back and breathe at this point. I’ve met my fundraising goal and raised $2,000 for Team JDRF in support of Type 1 diabetes research. I’ve done the training runs and I’m ready to tackle this next adventure. Let the countdown to Florida continue!

 

 

 

© 2015 Renaissance Runner Girl. All rights reserved.

 

Putting the ‘fun’ in Fundraising

When December rolls around, the phone calls, e-mails, letters and old-fashioned in-person solicitations seem to come in a flood. Every charitable cause seems to want to be in touch, with you, knowing as they do that it’s the end of the calendar year and thus their last chance to obtain your contribution, in exchange for a nifty tax deduction pursuant to Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3). Now, I am a law student who is particularly interested in the law relating to nonprofit organizations and charitable giving, so I could talk (or write!) your ears (or eyes!) off about this, but I won’t. Instead, I’ll share a few tips for choosing a worthwhile cause to donate to, or for raising money for a cause yourself. As we look ahead to 2015, I’m hopeful as always that giving will be on the rise. I’m by no means an expert, but I’m seriously wonky about this stuff!

 

Snow or summer...

Snow or summer…

...it can always be a season for giving

…it can always be a season for giving

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For donors overwhelmed by the sheer number of different organizations, one of the best ways to start is to clear away the fliers and to think about what sort of donation you personally want to make. There are many factors to consider, and these are just a few:

  • Sector: Do you want to donate to education, to healthcare, the arts, animal welfare, or another area?
  • Location: Do you want to contribute within your local community, or on a state, national, or international level, or to a specific community elsewhere?
  • Program (or not): Do you want your donation to fund a particular program, or would you rather it go toward the general operating costs of a charitable organization?
  • Type of donation: Do you want to give money, or can you contribute your time to volunteering and using your particular skills to help an organization?

Once you’ve thought about this, you can narrow the list of possibilities to those that are best suited to the donation you want to make, and go from there. If you’re thinking about going beyond a local community organization, an excellent place to check out charities is Guidestar.org.

For fundraisers trying to meet a goal by a certain date, there are also specifics to consider. Reaching out through social media and putting flyers on bulletin boards at school, work, or in the community is just the start. Often, just casually slipping into conversation that you’re fundraising for a particular cause is enough to enervate the giving spirit at a gathering. Friends, family, classmates and co-workers are of course potential donors, but they are part of a bigger picture. Just asking your friends to mention your efforts to their friends can do wonders. As long as you are passionate about your cause, others will be too.

Keep in mind that simply soliciting donations is just one way to fundraise. You can put your skills to use and offer to babysit or build a bookshelf, putting the profits of your work toward your fundraising goal. You can hold a yard sale, or consign clothes online, noting carefully where the proceeds will be directed. Friends and family can get in on these efforts, making it a team endeavor. You might even decide that fundraising is indeed fun! Because in the end, it’s not about the amount you raise personally. It’s about giving something of yourself to help make a difference, and just making the effort is a step in the right direction.

 

Well, that’s all for 2014…wishing everyone a happy and healthy New Year!

 

PS: Check out this New York Times article on giving and socially responsible investment…timely and thought-provoking.

 

 

 

© 2014 Renaissance Runner Girl. All rights reserved.