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Tell us about your cause.

Sun Dragon Martial Arts and Self Defense supports the physical and spiritual empowerment of all through training in conflict resolution, self defense, and non-violent martial arts. We offer a safe and affirming learning environment for all. We believe that we can end violence in our community, and that self defense is every person's right.

Sensei Suzanne Pinette founded Sun Dragon Martial Arts in 1989 as a Kyokushin Karate school for women and children. Everywoman's Self Defense was created as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization in 1998 to promote the violence prevention programs offered by Sun Dragon, and the two organizations merged in 2004. The new, larger non-profit offers traditional martial arts and practical violence prevention training to all, without regard to financial circumstance.

What kind of special event fundraising do you do to support your mission?

We are in our 3rd year hosting a Kick-a-Thon. We ask our members to take on the physical challenge of completing 1,000 kicks. Each individual determines their personal goal based in this challenge. They must solicit sponsors to make a donation based on their individual goal. This is the first year we've used on- line support for our event.

Walk us through the planning process.

We begin by getting the word out to members at least two months before the event date. We use flyers, emails, and make an announcement in our newsletter. Individuals and families then set their goals and elicit sponsors, or donors, to support them in reaching their goal. We offer materials with tips on fundraising to guide them in this process. We also created an email template that participants could use to mail out to potential sponsors. Individuals are responsible to track their own sponsors.

We also set up our volunteer recruitment at this stage. We have a detailed organizational structure for our volunteers, and they take on very specific tasks; like being in charge of soliciting the prizes, or organizing the event day logistics.

Did you reach out to local sponsors?

We had local businesses donate prizes. One of the goals for this fundraiser was to raise money to buy new mirrors for the center. We had one local sponsor donate all the mirrors, so we were able to funnel all the fundraising dollars to the scholarship fund.

Did you do any advertising to get participants?

Our participants are members of the center, so the majority of our advertising is done internally. We do post flyers, however, and non-members are invited to join as well.

How did DoJiggy help with the planning and success of your event?

DoJiggy helped us in many ways. Our participants were empowered in their fundraising through the personal fundraising pages, and were able to track and communicate with their donors more efficiently. Volunteer tasks, such as organizing the t-shirts, were made much easier with the functionality of the DoJiggy template. We were basically able to minimize all the steps in planning with DoJiggy. The record keeping was much easier as well. It was great having everything in one place. Overall, we were very pleased, and found fundraising with DoJiggy to be not only be easier, but more efficient as well.

Tell us about your success.

We had 46 participants this year and raised $9,744.00. Not only did we have a higher participation rate by being able to send out a link for participants to register, but we exceeded our fundraising goal by more than $2000, due to the ease of being able to accept online donations!

Do you have any advice for other organizations?

Our advice is to pick an event directly related to what you do. For instance, we hold a fundraising auction that is not as successful as the kick-a-thon, because it is not as reflective of what we do. The participants and donors really identify with the kick-a-thon, and strive harder to reach their goals, because it is one and the same with what we do.

More on DoJiggy

We did a lot of research to find an online fundraising software for this event, and there are not many out there in this price range. Most are very expensive, and the others closer to this range asked for a percentage of our fundraising dollars. It seemed appealing at first, but after a more careful analysis, we realized it was not beneficial in the long run. For our needs, and the size of our organization, DoJiggy was a perfect fit. In addition, the DoJiggy staff has been responsive to our needs and has provided us with excellent customer service. DoJiggy empowered us and our participants to achieve our best event yet!

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