Weinberg senior Janet Brown and McCormick senior John Park co-chair the finance committee, which is responsible for processing donations and helping dancers meet their fundraising goals.
What have you been up to during the 30 hours?
Janet: We’ve been processing a lot of donations. We are processing all the cash donations that come in through check-in, through the visitor’s table. People just come and visit and want to donate, so we make sure those all get tallied up and go toward the final total.
John: There’s obviously a lot of money switching hands between the events and things like that so we just kind of make sure all the money and change is good.
Have this year’s celebrity endorsements, including Barack Obama, moved the needle in terms of donations?
Janet: We’re still looking into that. We’re expecting to see more of that later today, but we’re definitely going to keep our eyes out for that. It’s hard to tell where the donations come from year over year. Also, it’s the 40th Anniversary, there’s been a lot of alumni outreach as well this year. There’s a lot of factors going into that.
John: It’s hard to pinpoint an increase or decrease in donations to a specific thing.
How did the Finance Committee and the dancers adjust to the new fundraising system, used for the first time this year?
Janet: The dancers really liked it. It helped them not just aim to get a $400 check from someone and use it as a $400 ticket. Instead, they can tell a story about why they’re supporting Team Joseph, why they’re involved in Dance Marathon. For a lot of people, taking the effort to do that via these fundraising pages was really helpful in getting a lot of smaller donations. More people surpassed $400, even if it was just by a little bit.
John: On the committee side, and on a more technical side, it helped things a lot. Stay Classy on the back end has a lot of really neat things that makes it easy to track and process donations. We can see things like how this specific dancer has gotten a donation or how much a specific amount has been donated.
So far, 2014 has surpassed previous year’s fundraising totals. What has made this year so successful?
Janet: I think a lot of it is people really got on their fundraising early, rather than waiting until the half-money deadline and full money deadlines. People really made DM a priority early on, and I think that was due to the new fundraising pages which made it more present and more physical for them.
John: That was one of our main goals as an exec board, to raise awareness in general and get the Northwestern community excited about DM early on. And I think we were successful.
It’s been nearly a year since Team Joseph was chosen as a beneficiary. Can you tell us about how they are preparing to use the donation they will be receiving later today?
Janet: They’re working really hard with their scientific advisers. We met with one of them, who came to the anniversary gala. It was very interesting talking to him about how they’ve had projects on the back burner that they’re really excited to implement. They’re also working on a financial assistance program based in Chicago helping families to deal with the financial burdens of a disease like Duchenne’s.
John: One of the things that really drew me to Team Joseph was that they said that they’ve had this budget all along. They’ve done a great job of knowing exactly what they’re going to do and they’ll hit the ground running as soon as the check comes in with really cutting-edge research and starting that family assistance program.