Each month, we spotlight inspiring stories from people in our Team DPF® community who are helping to improve the quality of life of people living with Parkinson’s by raising funds. Today, we are happy to feature Steve Hovey from Saratoga Springs, NY.
Which event did you participate in?
Our first Team DPF (formerly Victory Crew) ride was in 2009. Rather than go through the expense and liability of creating a ride ourselves, we participated in a local ride called the Ramapo Rally in Mahwah, NJ. There were only four of us on this first ride and the weather was terrible. It rained all day and was unseasonably cold for August, but we had a blast and raised a fair amount of money for the Davis Phinney Foundation. We continued to use this ride as a fundraising event for the Foundation until 2014. Over the years, participation grew, along with the amount of money raised. The Bicycling Touring Club of NJ generously allowed us to have a tent in the “Merchandise Market” every year. After the ride, we were able to introduce folks to the Davis Phinney Foundation, share stories of friends and loved ones dealing with Parkinson’s, and even sell cycling jerseys and t-shirts.
After moving from New Jersey to Saratoga Springs, NY, in July 2015, we joined forces with the Mohawk Hudson Cycling Club’s “Century Weekend,” which is always the second weekend in September. We are anticipating this year’s ride to be the most successful one ever, both from a participation and fundraising standpoint. In addition to participating in our own events, I have participated in three Copper Mountain Triangle rides and the 2012 Ride The Rockies event.
Why did you decide to join Team DPF?
Team DPF offers me a platform to leverage all my cycling friends to join me in helping to raise funds, as well as raise a greater east coast awareness of the great work of the Foundation.
What’s been your best memory as part of Team DPF?
I have so many wonderful memories stemming from fundraising for the Davis Phinney Foundation. From a pure cycling perspective and being an east coast rider, it’s always a magical experience riding the magnificent mountain passes in Colorado. It’s breathtaking in every sense of the word. The feeling of reaching the summit and starting the decent or crossing the finish line at the end of a long day is incredible. From a personal perspective, a couple of things come to mind. The camaraderie and friendships I’ve developed over the years has been one of my favorite parts of fundraising. Even though the upfront work of training, coordinating, and fundraising is tough, it’s so worth the effort. When the ride is over and you have the opportunity to chat with folks who stop by the booth, you understand why the Davis Phinney Foundation is so vitally important to the Parkinson’s community.
What challenges did you face while fundraising?
Let’s face it, it can feel awkward to ask people for money, especially if you don’t know them very well. However, I remind myself that I am not asking a person to give me money. Rather, I’m asking them to donate to an extremely worthy cause. Most everyone knows someone, often in their own family, who is affected by Parkinson’s. If someone doesn’t want to give, they won’t, but there’s no need to take it personally. Don’t let the discomfort of asking someone to support your fundraising stop you. I’m always surprised how many people know the ride is coming up every year and remind me that they want me to send them a donation appeal.
What are the most important actions you’ve taken that have helped you reach your fundraising goals?
- Be organized and keep good records from year to year. Track your top donors and try to understand why they’re so committed. Many times, you’ll find out they have experienced Parkinson’s through a friend or family member
- Be respectful of the fact that you’re asking someone to share their financial resources to support a cause you’re introducing them to. When you send the donation appeal:
- Take the time to individualize the donation appeal letter. If the person has supported you in the past, reference it and express your appreciation.
- Explain why you’re doing it and why you’re so passionate about the Davis Phinney Foundation.
- Give facts about the growth and accomplishments of the Foundation.
- Make them feel good about where their dollars are going.
- Express your appreciation of their generosity with a personal thank you note. Let them know how much you appreciate their support. Fill them in on the success of your individual and team fundraising efforts.
What would you say to someone interested in joining Team DPF?
The best answer to this question is to share a message I received from one of my teammates a few years ago.
“I’ve never ridden or run for a charity before, so this is a new experience for me. Literally 10 seconds after I sent out a message on Facebook about my ride, I had somebody make a donation whose mother has Parkinson’s. It literally brought tears to my eyes to see the support come in immediately and the appreciation from the woman who donated thanking me for riding and raising money.”
You don’t realize how passionately people want to help until you ask. This is why I do it and why my fellow team members have joined Team DPF, too.
Do you have a Team DPF or fundraising story you’d like to share?
Your story, like Steve’s, could be featured on our blog and Facebook page so others can learn from your experiences. Submit Your Team DPF Moments of Victory® Story now.
If you’re not yet part of Team DPF, but you’d like to join us in raising money to help people live well with Parkinson’s today, contact our team to get started.