Every month we honor the Active Heroes who are stepping up big in their community to help support our cause of helping Military families, Veterans and active duty. Past fundraisers of the month have walked across America, hiked to mountain peaks or ran in races supporting Active Heroes. This month’s fundraiser of the month goes to Donna Yankovich!
She has been helping Active heroes for a couple of years now and this is her first time being featured. A few times a year she does her part and fights hard to help Military families at the same time. Her amazing bake sales have steadily been raising funds by getting Kroger to donate, sponsor and host the event. Lately she has been using the online fundraising pages and she loves how you can get more people involved. Her family from other states have now joined her team and together they surpassed her goals. We can’t thank her enough for the support she has given to Active Heroes. She truly does everything from small fundraisers to walks. She exemplifies a true hero for our heroes!
We interviewed Donna about how he succeeded in raising funds and here’s what he had to say:
I have been involved with supporting deployed troops since 1998 because I wanted to do something to honor my father’s 37 years of service in the PA Army National Guard. He instilled in me a love of country, was always helping others. While supporting troops and doing little fundraisers for care package items I often came across people who wanted to support troops but didnt really know how. They would donate items to me, but didnt know or didnt have the time to send things themselves. When I learned about Troy’s first hike across the United States, I was very inspired. I just thought, “here’s a guy who had a desire to help and he just did it..he didnt stop to think how far or what cost or toll it would take on him, his family, his health or his finances etc” Alot of people SAY they support our troops, but Troy was DOING something. I couldn’t help but get involved. I continue to draw inspiration from Troy, Mareike and of course, my father (whom I lost in 2002 to cancer). I just feel there isn’t one person in this country who doesnt benefit from the hard work of our troops and we should all appreciate and show our support for that hard work by doing what we can to help those military families that are struggling.
2. What did you enjoy most about getting involved?
What I enjoyed most was meeting Troy and Mareike at my first fundraiser…I wasn’t on the original plan for the hike but when things happened that allowed Troy to hike to our little area of Acworth, GA I was thrilled but also very nervous. I kept thinking about this dedicated guy who has been walking for a year and worried that when he hiked to my fundraiser, there’d be little or no support there waiting for him. I just underestimated the cause and my community…seeing Troy and Mareike arrive with others from my community hiking along side him, with a sheriff’s dept escort and hundreds of people clapping and cheering for him…that was priceless and the memory of that day, listening to Troy speak with such passion for his cause…that is what drives me to continue to work with Troy and Mareike. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing my community come out and support him and what he was doing.
3. Did you find the fundraising pages easy to use?
The fundraising pages are very easy to use and I am, according to my sons, computer illiterate so if I think they are easy to use. They are VERY easy to use LOL. It’s also a great way for my family members to contribute – they are in PA and I am in GA…they can’t attend my fundraisers but they can contribute on line through the fundraising page. I also like being able to post pictures on the page.
4. What tricks did you learn to raise funds?
I’ve had experience raising funds because I spent many years involved with a football program…and it’s not something that is easy and it’s even harder when the economy is struggling. I think being passionate about the cause is very important and having a personal connection to everything- the cause, the event you hold, the location etc….I am somewhat know in my community for donation drives I did for troops so when I do things for Active Heroes, people know I am serious and dedicated to what I am doing. I am also known because of where I work (Kroger)…many in the community see me every week so it is more personal than just sending a check to a form letter they received in the mail asking for a donation. Location is also a key to a successful fundraiser…go where the traffic is, where you’ll be recognized. If you are asking businesses for donations, go to businesses that you frequent. I also hold my events around holidays when people are more apt to “buy” or be in a generous mood. I do a donation drive for cookies and cocoa for our troops right before Christmas…I am not above “reminding” people that not everyone is home with their families for the holidays. My first fundraiser for Active Heroes was a cookout and bake sale right before Easter and I took advantage of the holiday by having all kinds of sweets and baked goods that were great for filling Easter baskets or for Easter dinner dessert. The patriotic holidays like Memorial Day, 4th of July are always great times to do fundraising for the military.
5. Will you continue to raise funds and if so what will you do next?
I started adopting deployed soldiers in 1998 and have said I will continue doing so until the day I die. I feel the same way about Active Heroes. As long as this country has military men and women putting their life on the line for me and my family, I will do what I can for them. They deserve it. I am having another cookout and bake sale June 30th and am in planning stages for some kind of sit down dinner fundraiser. And if anyone knows Donald Trump, I would like to be on Celebrity Apprentice to earn money for Active Heroes! LOL
6. What could help you succeed in raising even more funds?
Right now I pretty much count on my friends and employer for items when I do cookouts…they’ve been great helping with the cost of hot dogs, buns, making baked goods etc but if I could get local bars or restaurants to do fundraisers or donate food, I think I could raise even more money. Some of the problems are just personal- like having enough time to do all the things I’d like to do or try.
7. If you could inspire others to join and fundraise to help military families what would you tell them?