Team Gluten-Free: Q&A With Successful TGF Fundraiser

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For the last few weeks, we’ve been helping you ramp up on your fundraising and event planning efforts with tips on how to get started as a member of Team Gluten-Free. Now it’s time to hear from a member about his experience at the LA Rock n Roll Half-Marathon last year.

We caught up with Sean to learn about his fundraising efforts. Read on to learn why it’s important to personalize your fundraising outreach.

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Team Gluten-Free: What is your connection to Celiac disease? Why did you join Team Gluten-Free?

Sean Rubin: My initial connection to celiac disease began in 2011 when my mom was first diagnosed. Inspired by her recovery and dedication to the gluten-free diet, I decided to create a class and support group during my last semester at UC Berkeley. Celiac Disease Foundation (CDF) supported our efforts and eventually recruited me post-college for the Community Coordinator position. During my time working at CDF, I coordinated certain Team Gluten-Free events and actively participated in order to demonstrate support and leadership.


TGF: How did you start the fundraising process? What was the most difficult part of it? The easiest?

SR: I began the fundraising process when we initially launched the Team Gluten-Free campaign for the LA Rock ‘n Roll Marathon. The most difficult part of fundraising was finding interested runners to participate. Fortunately, friends and former colleagues decided to join and we had a full roster for the event.


TGF: What is something you wish you knew ahead of time that would have made fundraising easier?

SR: Ahead of time, it would have been nice to have more accurately gauged the predicted donation amounts that I would receive from different supporters. I managed to reach my goal, but I would like to shoot for a larger number next time!


TGF: Did anything surprise you about your experience training for and running a half-marathon?

SR: The training was a great way to keep in shape post-college. I have actively ran and played soccer my entire life, so the prep beforehand was not too strenuous. I found that running with my roommate helped keep me on track with training and provided fun conversation. I was pleasantly surprised by the diversity of live entertainment on the course, especially the Teddy Graham DJ near the tunnel entrance.


TGF: How did you solicit donations (i.e. email, social media, phone, etc.)? What was the easiest way for you to ask? What worked, what didn’t?

SR: My donations were primarily solicited via social media posts to my networks and phone calls to close friends and family. I found that the posts would capture the most attention and generate a good amount of publicity and support, but the larger donations were a result of direct personal contact via face-to-face or phone interactions.


TGF: How did you utilize your fundraising page to attract donors? Did you tell a personal story, give celiac facts, etc.?

SR: The fundraising page was a reflection of my personal experience with celiac disease along with the promise that, with the money raised, we could collectively make a large impact on the community and truly help those struggling with dietary restrictions, GI damage, and related medical conditions.


Interested in joining Team Gluten-Free? Sign up today.