Each year from mid-November through December 31st, Experience Camps hosts a volunteer-led fundraising campaign to raise money for our programming. Our leadership team selects “Champions” from our 10 camp locations to motivate and encourage volunteers; these “Champions” go above and beyond volunteering at camp for one week by tirelessly helping us to achieve this end-of-year fundraising goal. We set out to raise $450,000 this year in order to send 1,000 kids to camp this summer. Thanks to our volunteers, we surpassed $500,000! While we owe huge thanks to every single volunteer who participated, we want to shine the spotlight on one particular one: Chelsea Katz, co-leader of the 2021 campaign. Chelsea paved the way as a fundraising thought leader by ensuring our volunteers had the tools to succeed, and raised over $15,000 for her part of the campaign!
Where do you volunteer (which camp) and for how long?
I’ve volunteered at Experience Camps for the last three years in Maine Girls and Pennsylvania Girls. I will hopefully be returning to both programs this upcoming summer 2022!
What was your role in crowdfunding this year – what did it entail?
This year I co-led crowdfunding with the Events Manager, Margo Karp, and the Board Fundraising Chair, Aron Weingard. We collaborated on a strategy to reach and hopefully exceed our goal of raising $450,000 to send 1,000 kids to camp next summer. We worked closely with all the “Champions” on activating members of the Experience Camps community and ensuring every crowdfunder was set up for success to maximize their individual fundraising campaign. This included developing and sharing key tips for optimizing a campaign in addition to preparing the materials everyone could use to do so.
Why do you think crowdfunding is so important?/ How did you get involved?
Crowdfunding is quite literally the fuel that powers all of our wonderful camp programs. Without crowdfunding, there would be no camp! I was immediately interested in crowdfunding after my first summer volunteering at Experience Camps, and from there became a Champion focused on activating the members of my camp program. I was asked to help collaborate on the entire crowdfunding campaign this year, and it was an opportunity I could simply not pass up!
What is the biggest challenge of crowdfunding?
The biggest challenge of crowdfunding is definitely highlighting the importance, impact, and transformation our programs have on our campers. It’s easy to describe and try to convey these thoughts to those who know our programs, but it’s not always as illuminating to those who haven’t been present or participated in one of our programs. I tried to tackle this challenge by sharing memories, stories, and photos from my experiences at camp with my potential/past donors and social media networks.
What is your “why” (why did you take on this role as a volunteer, and Queen of crowdfunding)?
I started volunteering at Experience Camps after my dad unexpectedly died from a brain aneurysm my senior year of college, six years ago. Volunteering and giving back played a significant role in my dad’s life, so carrying his legacy through my work with Experience Camps is particularly special to me.
I am honored by the title; however, we all know our campers are the true royalty of camp! Taking on more responsibility with crowdfunding was an opportunity I couldn’t refuse. (I told Margo and Aron early on they didn’t even need to sell me on it!) My time volunteering at camp has really been transformed by seeing the direct impact crowdfunding has on our programs for our campers and my peer counselors. Many instances at camp this past summer left me speechless knowing that all of camp, the joy, smiles, and safe spaces were because of the work done year-round to crowdfund and fundraise for our programs.
What are you looking forward to most this summer at camp?
I am already counting down the days until summer 2022! But to keep things simple: welcoming new campers and volunteers into our incredible community, arts & crafts, witnessing all of the growth that happens over the week, and s’mores!