We sat down with Megan Chan, an alumnus of Ramapo College of New Jersey, who is taking on our Kilimanjaro Challenge. In just four months, she's raised over 100% of her fundraising target- we figured we'd ask her to share some of her awesome methods and story with everyone.
How did you first hear about Choose a Challenge and what were your first thoughts after finding out about the Kilimanjaro trip?
"I initially learned about Choose a Challenge and the Kilimanjaro climb for WaterAid through Facebook. Our team leader, Tommy Palamidis, posted about this opportunity in a Ramapo club group I was a member of. I liked his post, and Tommy messaged me the details about the upcoming interest meeting. After attending the meeting and interacting with representatives from Choose a Challenge and WaterAid, I knew I wanted to participate in this once in a lifetime adventure."
What was the major factor that made you want to sign up?
"I’m always eager to make a positive difference, and I welcome opportunities to challenge myself. If there’s a way I can make a meaningful impact, I want to do it. I value experiences that encourage me to go beyond my comfort zone because they contribute to my self-growth and understanding of life. I relate to this quote by Neil deGrasse Tyson: “For me, I am driven by two main philosophies, know more today about the world than I knew yesterday and lessen the suffering of others.”
Had you heard of WaterAid before this? What are your thoughts on doing your challenge for WaterAid?
"I didn’t know about WaterAid prior to this, but I’m thrilled to be pursuing this challenge for them! I’ve read every section of their website and downloaded their annual reports and various publications. I believe everyone should have access to safe and clean water, sanitation, and hygiene. These are fundamental needs for every human being. We are all interconnected and interdependent, and we have to take care of each other."
What was the hardest part of getting started with fundraising?
"I wasn’t sure where to start and how to start. I was worried that I wouldn’t meet my own expectations and that I would fail. Once I let go of the self-doubt, it gave me the flexibility and freedom to focus on what I could do in the here and now. I trusted that as long as I did my best every day, the rest would follow. When you combine conscious effort with trust in the process, beautiful things happen. "
How has your charity been helpful?
"I've been in contact with my representative via telephone and email. She’s attentive, friendly, and knowledgeable. It’s evident that her values align with the vital work she does for her charity. She's been an excellent resource and guide."
What’s been the most difficult part of fundraising so far? What's been the easiest?
"The most difficult part has been asking for help and accepting it. Initially, I was only reaching out to my social group. I later asked my parents and sister to reach out to their social groups as well. I learned that you don’t have to do everything by yourself and that it’s okay to ask for help. The easiest part has been thanking my supporters. I honestly enjoy expressing my gratitude to and for others. I delight in sending individualized handwritten letters!"
What practices have you found the most successful in getting people to donate? What would you recommend to others?
"It’s not just what you do, but how you do it. One way to success is to put a lot of intention and love into your thoughts and actions. When you are driven by a cause and understand your reasoning for why you’re doing what you’re doing, you find a way to make things happen. Tell people about this incredible trek, the purpose behind it, and why it’s important to you. Be patient with yourself and your goals. Each time you share your ambitions with others, you are making progress, and progress makes anything possible!"