Here’s how to use GoFundMe to raise money for Perth travel, etc.

John Oleski jumps at 2009 Lahti worlds.

Lots of people use crowdfunding sites, but many masters athletes are either leery or timid about trying. No more. USATF is providing training to use such fund-raising tools. Masters track marketing chair John Oleski says that at the 2015 annual meeting in Houston he met with chief spokeswoman Jill Geer seeking USATF help with sponsors for masters. “During the discussion, she also suggested developing guidance for self-funding efforts like GoFundMe,” John tells me. “I researched the concept and wrote the paper. Since Grand Rapids, I incorporated some edits from Jerry Bookin-Weiner.” See his official release here. Here’s the guts of the program: “What strategies increase the success of a GoFundMe initiative? Although a small number of GoFundMe campaigns have gone viral and attracted donations from people with no personal connection, generally this has only been true for high profile stories and/or cases of exceptional need that have received substantial publicity. Masters athletes, like most GoFundMe campaigners, will need to rely primarily on their social circle.”

More details:

Here are links to GoFundMe pages that address successful strategies:

How do you customize a GoFundMe initiative for championship caliber masters athletes?

Tell people of your goal to represent the U.S. by competing for Team USA at the WMA Championships. It is important to tell a compelling story. Talk about your track & field accomplishments and make your story come alive with photos and video clips. When and how did you get started? What medals and championships have you won? Have you set American or world age group records? What obstacles or adversity have you overcome in order to compete at a high level? It may be helpful to have a coach, mentor or teammate offer a testimonial and recommend that people donate to you.

Additionally, masters athletes should ask their track club for a small travel or support grant and also ask their USATF Association. There is great variance in the financial resources among the 57 associations, but some would be able to offer a small support grant ($100 – $200 range) and it never hurts to ask.

It is vitally important for you to be honest with prospective funders though – honest both about your past accomplishments and your prospects at the world championship meet. As we all know, there are no guarantees in competition. The level of competitive fitness may be founded on talent but only goes as far as our ability to stay healthy and engage in high intensity training and technical practice.

In case you don’t know this, whatever your level of athletic accomplishment and however deserving of support you may feel, a fund raising program like GoFundMe is not primarily about you, it is about them, your prospective funders. Anyone who contributes has their own needs and the needs of those close to them to consider and they also support many worthy causes, charities and organizations.

So help people feel good about funding you. Be bold and ask – because the opportunity to compete at the WMA world championships means so much to you – but be humble and appreciate the support you receive. Give thanks and express appreciation for support. Provide your audience and funders with updates along the way.

Print Friendly

July 28, 2016

Leave a Reply