In Our First Year - Baylor University - Dance Marathon

In Our First Year – Baylor University

  • In Our First Year – Baylor University

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    Baylor University For The Kids is a Dance Marathon organization in its second year.  As we plan for our second ever dance marathon, we have come across five touch points that we feel we lacked in the first year and are vital to our growth and success in the year to come.

    Plan:  Mapping out a dance marathon is much more about the fine details than the broad strokes.  An event is simple enough to plan.  What is not evident at the start is that in order to have a successful event, every detail of that event should be planned out.  No one should speak off the cuff.  This is not to say that anyone who speaks should be disingenuous.  It is our job as event planners to make sure that the message we convey is thought out and well formed, doing so not only makes the message of Dance Marathon sound more genuine, it truly makes the event better.

    Communication:  Lack of communication was our biggest problem as an organization during our first year.  Communication not only creates a streamlined event planning process, it also fosters members and dancers “why” for participating.  We found that there are two ways to best fix this.  First, it is important to understand that each member (and dancer) when coming into the organization is likely at a different level of understanding of Dance Marathon, because of this they are also likely at a different level of commitment.  We all know that success is best achieved when everyone is on the same page.  So how can we best unify?  The easiest answer is to bring both members and participants to as many tangible experiences as possible (i.e. hospital tours and family visits).  The harder answer is, that although communication issues are virtually universal, each solution is unique to the organization.  We have achieved better success through trial and error on different practices of communication.  Communication is still something we are struggling with.  Some of the issues stem from trying to break the habits learned in the first year, while other issues are new.  In the end, we have learned that communication is something that must be monitored continually.

    Create:  Create an environment within your organization that fosters collaboration.  No one single individual can plan a dance marathon.  We have found that the best way to do this is through monthly “Dance Marathon Interest Meetings”.  These are intended to be social events that bring participants together with the executive arm of the organization.  These socials allow us to regularly engage participants while also offering an opportunity for interested students to find out what Dance Marathon is all about.  By soliciting the participants for ideas on how to grow the message of Dance Marathon, we are able to foster their “why”.  Being actively engaged naturally allows the individual to develop a meaningful message to share with their friends and family.  This more than any other brings the message of Dance Marathon to new ears.

    It is easy to get bogged down in the details of putting on a Dance Marathon.  In the end, everyone who is a part of the dance marathon must realize what Dance Marathon aims to accomplish.  We as an organization spent a lot of time during the first year focusing on how to raise the most money for the dance marathon.  In doing this, we neglected to realize that focusing solely on raising money will not offer the greatest success.  This year our focus has changed.  We believe that cultivating meaningful relationships with dancers, will not only cause them to be our greatest advocates for participation, but also successful fundraising will follow.

© 2017 Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, a not-for-profit, section 501(c)(3)

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