I’m writing to thank all of you for your overwhelming generosity during the Give2Give campaign; I also want to let you know how those funds will be used to expand F3.
The first thing to let you know is that as of midnight on August 31st, we had received $117,777 for the Give2Give campaign! I say “received” on purpose, because we still expect to take in another $10,000 to $15,000 in corporate matching gifts. This is an incredible number and it is very humbling, but I can’t say it is particularly surprising. Having met so many of you over the years, I am well aware of generosity of the F3 Nation.
There are so many pax to thank, but I must start with Alex “Malko” Thrasher, the man behind MudGear and our F3 Store. Without Alex’s generosity in making MudGear available to take in donations, this fundraiser does not happen. He and his team handled the technology and spent hours of their time to give us regular updates on fundraising totals throughout the month. And now he is embarking on getting tax documentation to everyone who contributed. In particular from Malko’s team, I’d like to thank Cora, who spent hours preparing reports and stayed up until midnight on the 31st to get us a “final final” total!
The F3 Foundation was also invaluable during this process. Brendan “Haywood” Pierce was on my speed dial not only handling our large donations but also sharing fundraising advice and insight with this novice. It turns out that asking for money is easy; the tough part is making sure it goes to the right place once you get it!
Also, believe it or not, I was not the social marketing genius behind the @F3Expansion Twitter account in August! Big thanks to Jason “Chaser” Reynolds, who kept the account lively and engaging all month long while also juggling family life with four kids, a law practice and high school football coaching duties. He and I probably spent more time talking with each other in August than with our wives; September will be a big giveback month for both of us!
I know he would give it whether I wanted it or not, but thanks to the Weaselshaker, OBT, for all of his help and advice. As always, he is a huge source of smarts, encouragement, “gentle reminders” and leadership. When you do something for the first time it gives you great confidence knowing you have a leader who trusts you! Thanks, OBT!
If there was anyone whose skills were sadly under-used in all of this, it was Raleigh’s Scott “Azul” Wilson, with technology help! He had all kinds of higher-level Excel charts and graphs showing giving patterns and trends that went unused because I was still learning to crawl on this thing. Next time, Azul, we’re going to let the big dog hunt!
DoReMi and VanWinkle of the Charlotte Metro CORE group took me to lunch the first week of the campaign and gave me sage advice and basically committed to making this campaign successful. These guys led a coordinated CORE matching effort that netted almost 20% of our overall giving! Thanks, men. If you ever want to run a fundraiser(or sell something) call these guys.
There are many others I want to thank and will do personally over the next few weeks. Thank you all!
On to your next question: How is the money going to be used?
As we said throughout, the purpose of the drive was to enable us to continue our LEAP program that puts pax on planes to plant F3 in cities that our outside our concentric growth radius. It costs us about $5,000 per city to do this, which means that the money raised in August has the potential to fund more than 20 new F3 cities! At our current rate of 6-8 cities every 6 months, the money raised this month should carry us through the end of 2018.
The last three years of LEAPs has given us a lot of collective insight into what does and doesn’t work when launching new cities and laying the groundwork for long-term success. However, we have yet to compile all that knowledge in a single “playbook.” We are budgeting some of the money to support an effort to collect and compile this information into a LEAP guide that will make it easier to train pax to be LEAP Q’s and help us accelerate our launch schedule. Creating this sort of manual is essential to capturing the F3 culture and enabling us to remain a volunteer-run organization.
Thanks in large part to the efforts of Fort Mill’s Dark Helmet (Frank!) we now have a healthy Mustard Seed effort. This program supports F3 pax who move to a new, non-LEAP location that does not yet have F3 and who want to plant F3 in that new location. The money raised in August will support us in our ability to send leaders of the Mustard Seed effort downrange to visit those new locations and encourage their growth.
Finally, there’s the unknown. F3 has always been an organization that builds the road it’s driving on 43 feet ahead of where it is; that means that the Expansion and LEAP efforts need to stay nimble and continue to get smarter and better able to recognize new efficiencies and opportunities. I am guessing our expansion in 18 months will look different from the way it does today. We need to have funds available to make changes where needed and adapt to new ways of expanding!
Please also be aware that we are going to leave a giving option up on the Mudgear site. These donations will continue to be tax deductible and earmarked for Expansion. As we get to the end of the year and you start thinking about budgeting toward giving and possible corporate matching in 2018, please consider F3!
Thanks again to all of you for your generosity and support for our #GiveItAway mission. We’re excited to put this money to work and bring more men into the F3 Nation!
Jim “CR” Cotchett