Dance Marathon at SDSU
External Year in Review
From the moment that it was evident that the pandemic was here to stay, it became clear that the External team had an uphill battle ahead. We suddenly went from being able to rely on in-person events and meetings to a 100% virtual space, and overnight our entire movement had to be communicated to participants online. Being the face of our organization to the community outside the board, External team had quite the challenge ahead. One they not only rose to, but excelled at.
Media Team wasted no time in totally rebranding our social media platforms. We created a complete style guide for consistent branding across platforms, including a color palette, pre-designated font, and clear vibe that provided our organization with a much-needed external makeover going into the year. Our efforts on social media this year not only led to off-the-charts engagement and fundraising, but it also led to a 500 follower growth in our Instagram page, a 20% increase from the previous year. Media team also worked with other teams to create videos that have amassed 1,000s of views, newsletters, and fundraising templates to keep participants informed and engaged as well as redesigning our DM at SDSU site (complete with this blog!).
Recruitment was another team that faced a monumental challenge this year — getting both new and old participants excited about the prospect of registering for a virtual event. To tackle this, we created our first-ever recruitment video to supplement our brand-new, individualized walkaround format for each student org. This led to not only over 900 participants being recruited without ever meeting face-to-face, but also several new teams that increased our movement’s reach even without that in-person touch. Recruitment team also set the groundwork for a variety of new relationships and partnerships that we can’t wait to see grow for years to come.
Participant Relations didn’t shy away from the prospect of engaging with miracle makers from a distance. This year, this group hosted a variety of awesome team captain and individual participant meetings that served to re-invigorate and inspire attendees. The PR team’s strategic planning and constant cheerleading meant that our participants still felt connected to our cause and miracle kiddos, despite not being able to physically be together. Additionally, Participant Relations planned and executed our board’s first-ever Spirit Week to get the team excited leading up to event, and it was a huge success! This year also came with the creation of our DM 101 packet to answer any questions new miracle makers may have, as well as regular newsletters to keep them informed.
The Impact Program was also re-imagined this year with biweekly meetings centered on a theme. IP members had the opportunity to meet Miracle families, participate in leadership and character-building workshops, and make friends all while leaving an IMPACT on the DM community. These exceptional miracle makers saw more fundraising than ever before and made amazing strides in setting the standard for what it means to be an impact program member. We are so grateful for all those who chose to go above and beyond in the name of Rady Children’s patients this year!
Stewardship doubled down on their efforts to make sure that every participant in DM felt seen and appreciated for their hard work. This year, we made a concentrated effort to recognize all kinds of achievements, not just those that were fundraising-related, and make sure that the DM community stayed as positive and welcoming as possible, even from afar. Stewardship also went above and beyond to thank our corporate and community partners for their continued faith in our organization, and maintained relationships we’ll enjoy for years to come.
Last, but certainly not least, the Mini Marathons team had an exceptional year. Despite the challenging circumstances, Lancerthon was able to raise over $11,000, even more than last year while reaching more students at Carlsbad High than ever. Additionally, this year brought with it a new high school and more teenage miracle makers. Vista High School’s inaugural Pantherthon was a roaring success, raising over $2,800 in just over a month. We can’t wait for these two high school programs to continue to grow, and for these partnerships to flourish into the future.
The reality is, this was a HUGE year for External, way bigger than any blog post can encompass. 2020-2021 was proof that if there’s a will there’s a way, and that no challenge is too great when it comes to changing the future for kids who need it most.