The Accidental Fundraiser

If you ask my friend David Strom what he thinks of fundraising, he’ll tell you that he hates to ask people for money, but in fact, he is a phenomenal fundraiser.

Here is what he has to say about it in his own words,

“For the past 8 years, I have been doing fundraising but I didn’t really realize it until lately. I am an avid bicyclist, and during the warmer months it is my main source of exercise. In my 20s, I was a big biker and actually went across country one summer to get to grad school.

So I took it up again a few years ago and remember seeing a sign advertising one of the NYC-Boston AIDS rides. These were well organized group rides that took several days and involved thousands of people camping out at different spots and riding 70-100 miles a day.The first one that I did was in 2000 and it was a real blast. I spent months training, and raising money, and getting myself psyched up for the ride. I did the entire route and came home on a high.

david-and-shirley-2-big.jpgThat was all it took to get me started. Now I do one or two events a year. I have raised thousands of dollars for various causes, met my lovely wife on one of the rides, and gotten my sister and several friends involved in doing similar activities. My sister does a “Think Pink” party with a DJ for teenagers, asking each one to bring $25 as a donation for her cancer walkathons. Last year’s party raised several thousand dollars, and she is looking for a place in Manhattan to host her next one.

I don’t think of myself as a fundraiser, but more of a fundraising mentor. I don’t like to do the whole “ask” thing. But this year on the Mo. MS 150, my chum Steve (who has MS) 147_0345.jpgwas the top fundraiser and his first time out. He went on and did another MS150 in California and raised even more money for that. And this is after being unsure that he could do the ride and was afraid of asking his friends to support him. ”

So, to summarize, because David likes to get exercise he has

1. Raised money for causes he believes in

2. Met his fabulous wife Shirley at one of these events

3. Can proudly wear spandex in middle age

4. Has found an activity to do with friends that benefits others

5. Has given other friends an opportunity to participate by giving money (always asks by e-mail, never a hard sell)

6. Has had a ridiculous amount of fun

7. Has inspired others

David’s hobby is cycling. When I look what he’s done with it. I’m inspired. My hobby is shopping, and believe me, its not for spandex!

Carol Weisman, MSW, CSP, Thinking about cycling.

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