Fundraiser succeeds despite poor economy

In a time of falling stocks and a failing economy, Dance Marathon was still able to come out on top. Dancers, moralers, bikers and campus organizations raised $126,239.79 for the Children’s Miracle Network. That is about one thousand dollars more than was raised last year. Junior Nathan Evins has been participating in Dance Marathon for three years, but he said this year he had to try much harder to raise money. He said because of the economy a lot of people couldn’t give as much as they gave in previous years, and some just weren’t able to give at all. Evins raised $300 this year, which is actually about $200 more than he raised last year, but he said the increase was due entirely to effort. He said if he had put the effort in last year that he put in this year, he probably would have raised a lot more. ‘It kind of balanced out,’ he said. ‘The economy is going down, but I tried harder.’ Senior Brian Heilmeier, director of Dance Marathon, said students like Evins were not out of the ordinary this year. He said the drop in the economy definitely affected Dance Marathon, but many students stepped up to the challenge and increased their participation and work ethic. He said students countered the economic slump by simply asking more people. ‘The number one reason people don’t donate to philanthropies is people don’t ask them,’ he said. ‘If you asked five people last year you probably had to ask 10 people this year.’ Senior Melinda Grooms, the Sponsorship chair for Dance Marathon, was in charge of finding businesses to donate to the event. She said the economy did have an effect on the money she was able to raise, but it is hard to tell how big the impact was. Grooms said she anticipated difficulty because of the economy when she started, so she tripled the amount of sponsors she reached out to. She said some long-time sponsors were not able to give this year, but she also found some new businesses to donate. ‘I went in expecting the worst, but I think things worked out in the end,’ she said. Overall, Grooms said even with the economic troubles it was a pretty good year for Dance Marathon. ‘I think it’s been a year with a lot of challenges, but it’s all about your attitude,’ she said. ‘Anything we can give the kids is something they didn’t have before.’ Finance Chair Alicia Crawford said fundraising was difficult this year, but many students got around the problem by coming up with new ways to raise money. Some students created their own web pages through the Children’s Miracle Network, and others used Facebook to contact hundreds of people at once. ‘I think it has been a little discouraging for participants to feel comfortable asking their family members and friends,’ she said. ‘We have to try to think of different ways to raise their money.’ Crawford said other students made fundraising easier by simply asking for less from each person, such as asking 100 people for $1 or 20 people for $5. ‘If we make the donations less then it makes [them] easier to give,’ she said. Crawford said even though the economic crisis has affected Dance Marathon, it is common for the amount of money raised to fluctuate from year to year, and it is important to just stay focused on the present. ‘We just try to raise as much as we can that year, and we don’t look at how much we raised last year or the year before,’ she said.