Fundraising Tips from Team I Hate Cancer

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Fundraising Tips from Team I Hate Cancer

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Need some help fundraising for an upcoming event but out of ideas? Let #TeamIHateCancer help:

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Monday, April 4, 2016 - 12:50pm

CAMPAIGN: LIVESTRONG in the Communities


Dear Friends:

Although spring has recently sprung here in Philadelphia, we look forward to seeing many of you at the Austin Challenge this fall, whether on a road bike or a beach cruiser. We consider summer to be Team I Hate Cancer’s fundraising season and write to share some our successful fundraising strategies as we plan for our 11th year supporting the Foundation.

Our most important fundraising strategy is to ask! We are most successful asking via email. In 2006, inspired by the loss of a friend, Michael rode in his first Challenge, circulating a few emails to friends and professional contacts, raising over $2,700 in a few weeks. Since then, we have grown our email list to include hundreds of people whom we’ve met in myriad ways and manage our list using We intentionally limit the number of fundraising messages that we send each year to six. We carefully draft each email to demonstrate how previous donations have created a positive impact on families facing a cancer diagnosis and then we ask recipients to give via the email’s large Donate Now button. Because our writing styles are so different, this drafting process often involves multiple revisions. But having two of us involved makes our messaging that much stronger.

We start our fundraising season by hosting over 70 friends at our annual Radnor Hunt Tailgate in May. What started as CJ’s birthday party with a few friends is now an elaborate day-long cocktail party in which we pick up guests in a school bus, transport them to an equestrian steeplechase, and provide them with plenty of food and libations. For years, each guest donated $125 directly to our Challenge page, but we now accept donations online and work with our corporate sponsors to offset some of the party’s significant costs.

The Team I Hate Cancer brand emerged from a collaboration between Michael and our friend Dan Hershberg, who designs and sells Philadelphia sports themed t-shirts. In 2010, they created a black t-shirt with gold line art for Walsh Brothers’ I Hate Cancer Ride Run. We offered a t-shirt to every donor who contributed at least $100 to our Challenge page. All of a sudden, the Walsh Brothers had a team of cancer haters wearing our shirts. We quickly tapped social media, pledging $5 to LIVESTRONG for every photo of our shirt that friends posted on Facebook. That summer, seemingly everyone wanted a shirt, fearful of missing out on the cancer-hating groundswell. Creating this sense of simultaneous exclusivity and inclusion is critical to our brand’s success. Michael and Dan still collaborate each spring to create a new shirt to reward and entice our donors. LIKE Team I Hate Cancer on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter to see this year’s shirt revealed in early May.

Finally, in 2013, Michael and a few cycling friends organized the Team I Hate Cancer cycling team, which opened doors to new sponsors who were excited about our audience of affluent, active cancer haters. Through our social media channels, we carefully cultivate our brand by creating and sharing content. Michael worked with Champion Systems, DeFeet International, and Wear-a-Knit to create Team I Hate Cancer cycling kits, socks, and winter hats respectively. We make these specialty apparel products available to our social media followers a few times each year, creating excitement and new brand ambassadors in our off-season.

In 10 years, Team I Hate Cancer has printed more than 1,000 t-shirts, started a cycling team, and has raised almost $260,000 for the Foundation. We’re still just two brothers who hate cancer, now assisted by a decade of experience, awesome sponsors, and an army of fellow cancer haters. If we can help your fundraising this year, give us a yell.

Yours in hating cancer,

Michael and CJ Walsh