Wow! “Move Your Mission’s” Founder, Taralyn Kohler, was featured in Competitor Running Magazine for bringing her ideas to life at CORE Foundation. She authored “Race With Purpose” which is a fundraising program that offers athletes competing in CORE Foundation’s events an opportunity to raise money for a cause that they are passionate about. RWP makes those training miles count. When athletes that participated in “Race With Purpose” stepped up to the starting line on race day, they had already one. Together, they raised an additional $10,000 which was then seeded back into the community.
You can read the article below.
“Life is like riding a bicycle, in order to keep your balance you must keep moving.”
– Albert Einstein
If you read my first blog, “What’s In a Name,” you know that the name “Move Your Mission” was conceived while I was out on a training run for Ironman 70.3 North Carolina. In fact, most of my best ideas are formulated during those quiet miles spent by myself training whether it be running, biking or swimming. It was during one of those training sessions that I sketched out in my head what I wanted MYM’s logo, website design, and associated content to look like. I’m finding that my recent clients have an active athletic component whether they use athletics to fundraise or are involved in selling merchandise in this space.
The Barnett Searing National Cancer Foundation and Ironheart Foundation raise much needed dollars through personal fundraising campaigns triathlon and running events. CORE Foundation runs the largest sprint triathlon in Northern Virginia with 1000 athletes and sells out in 24 hours. They also use golf tournaments as a means of fundraising for various causes which give a hand up not a hand out to those in need. Significant dollars are raised in programs for these organizations while athletes are “Racing With Purpose.” Organizations like The Yoga Foundation of Fredericksburg provide yoga services to the underserved as they believe that yoga is for everyone. Working with this type of client feels like family.
When creating MYM’s branding, appealing to these clients and others wanting to move their missions forward showing forward progression in a visual and active way was important. I visualized a circle design because that shape universally represents perfection and wholeness. Taking that one step further, I wanted to use elements that were meaningful to me just as I would advise my clients to do. Given my love of cycling, bicycle parts were an obvious choice. But, using just a bike wheel would have been predictable. I wanted my logo and site to be memorable and unique. So, I chose to make MYM’s logo a circle out of bike chains.
Bike chains need grease. They are sometimes full of grit depending on the ride and conditions. Chains can get stuck between gears. My first triathlon taught me that sometimes chains even fall out of place causing the rider to stop and make adjustments so they can move forward. Business operations can be a lot like a bike chain. They can become crusty and require attention, cleaning, or lubrication.
When working with a client, in the simplest form I encourage them to consider two questions:
What do you want to be when you grow up?
How will you stand out?
My advice is always to choose branding and messaging that represents you and has special meaning. It should have an edge and be striking and memorable. You shouldn’t choose blue and green because you think people like blue and green. Choose blue and green because it speaks to you, and you have a specific, purposeful reason driving that decision. Your logo, website and messaging should excite and energize you. If it doesn’t it certainly won’t excite the community or following that you are trying to attract.
For branding and website, I chose pink and monochromes: greys, black and and white with accents of blue. Those colors excite me! They show my passion and are true to who I am as a leader. The photos we shot for marketing echo this same sentiment. My amazingly talented photographer friend, Gene Wozny, embraced all of my ideas. We went for an edge with the right amount of sass and a bit of badass. We used bike parts and leather elements were possible. This demonstrates edge, and that MYM will aggressively fight for our client’s success.
As they say …your vibe attracts your tribe.
I’m often asked how my company came to be and why the name “Move Your Mission” was chosen. The truth is I didn’t seek a consulting career; it found me. Growing up, my mom always said to do what I love, and the work will come. And she was spot on. Helping organizations grow sets my soul on fire, and it’s a natural fit blending my business acumen skills and my love for energizing causes.
Professionally, most people know of my work as a sales ninja in telecommunications. I’m often asked how I ended up working with non-profit organizations. Volunteerism has always been important to me. I was raised to help others at a very young age. In high school, I took Russian and was an exchange student at the end of the Cold War. I had a chance to witness poverty and other cultures at an impressionable age. After retiring from a very successful telecom career, I was given the gift of time and became heavily involved with philanthropy and fundraising.
One of my favorite fundraising projects was Co-Chairing Navy Elementary’s Silent Auction Gala to celebrate the 100-year anniversary of the school. We put on an elegant upscale event and raised more than $21,000 in one night. This was the most successful event of this kind that the school had ever seen. We gleaned donations from American Girl Doll, Disney, and many local businesses. The event was highly visible and when word traveled of our success, I began being asked to consult non-profits on fundraising, building communities, board development, and more. Each engagement was a bit different, but the common theme was that these organizations had the desire to expand, grow and take their mission to the next level through thought leadership.
One of these organizations, Ironheart Foundation, which encourages victims of heart disease to thrive by leading a healthy lifestyle and doing something epic through sport, had a particular impact on me. In looking at how we could spread inspiration for the Foundation, I co-created a campaign called “The Stories Project,” where we gathered and shared on social media motivational stories of members thriving with heart disease. This resulted in a growth in membership and increased donations and personal fundraising.
What I wasn’t expecting was that my involvement in this project would motivate me to take ownership of my own health. A new journey began, and I started running with a goal of running the Army Ten Miler that fall. That then lead me to try triathlons. Now, several years later I just completed my first Ironman 70.3 triathlon which includes a 1.2 mile swim, a 56 mile bike, and a 13.1 mile run.
The actual name “Move Your Mission” was, in fact, conceived while I was out for a long run on a beautiful spring day. I’d been searching for the perfect business name, and triathlon training gave me a lot of time by myself to process, create, plan, and cultivate. Those quiet miles allowed me to generate my most energetic, powerful ideas. As I ran, I processed the question, “What does your company do?” My answer, “I find creative ways to help organizations move their mission forward.” That was an “ah-ha’ moment and the name was born. Fortunately, the domain name was available too!
“Move Your Mission” is an organic organization. We’ve grown with zero marketing on good vibes and recognized success. It’s been an incredible journey so far, and I’m extraordinarily grateful to those clients who have trusted me to guide and grow their business. The most successful clients have adopted MYM’s approach that non-profits need to think of themselves in sales organization … selling their mission. (And, I will elaborate on that another blog article very soon.)
MYM’s business plan has continued to expand with corporate clients taking me back to my sales roots. I’ve been afforded the opportunity to travel for clients, meet some incredible people, had articles published several times in various outlets. It gives me an incredible amount of gratification knowing that my work is making a difference. I’m excited to see where they take me next!
Curious about working together or want to hire MYM for an assignment? Shoot me email at email@example.com.
Founder and Change Maker
Non-profit leaders are phenomenal people. In fact, they are some of the most inspirational people that I know. They volunteer their time and talents unselfishly to their chosen organization. Many of these leaders found themselves involved with that organization because of a personal connection, passion, or tragedy. Their charity work is a labor of love.
Throughout the years of working with non-profit leaders preparing for #givingtuesday and end-of-year giving campaigns, a common theme has resonated. Many organizations are just not comfortable asking for donations. Sound familiar?
Wait! Let me get this straight. Your organization is a 501(c)3 sanctioned to carry out a specific mission on a tax-exempt basis. The only way to keep the lights on and do more good is to build a sustainable donor base and capture donations. But the organization is uncomfortable asking for support. If the organization isn’t asking for support then how in the world do they expect to receive it? How else exactly do you expect to stay in the green?
Fund development in philanthropy is the key to success. Every member of the team must be personally involved in fundraising and be a voice for the organization.
If leaders aren’t comfortable asking for money, the organization’s messaging and mission statement might need sprucing. So let’s talk about that. What does the mission statement currently say? Simply stated, it should encapsulate who you are, who are serve and how you serve that group. A strong mission statement should be clear and concise not filled with fluff. It should announce to the world why you exist. Nail it with simplicity and one that rolls off the tongue easily. A strong mission statement should be concise, memorable and inspiring. Your programs should then align with your mission.
If you tweak your organization’s messaging and get bold and confident, that is the first step. The second step is that everyone in the organization needs to buy in to evangelizing the message as an ambassador; don’t expect everyone to embrace the change. Expect some shakeout. Some employees and volunteers may leave. Let them. Find new enthusiastic employees and volunteers who will buy into your mission, your goals and your vision. Stay the course and have the confidence to lead. The results will follow.
Success starts with making an ask. In the Bible in Mathew 7:7 refers to making an ask. “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”
Repeat after me … We are a 501(c)3, and starting today I will stop apologizing. I will ask for your time, talent, or treasury because I believe in this cause and our impact. I will not eat humble pie.
So, how do you make the ask?
Powerful questions that you can use to garner support are: Can we count on your support? Will you help us? Use them! I stole “Can we count on your support?” from “In The Bag.” In The Bag raises $145,000 in a one-day purse auction event that benefits the National Capital Region of the American Red Cross. The group of amazing ladies pictured in red dresses ask and ask and ask unapologetically for support.
When you ask nicely, it makes it hard for people to say “no.” So be brave and never apologize for doing good! People are giving to some organization because they were asked. It might as well be yours!