As a student, Trevor Smith quickly learned of the devastation cancer can bring into one’s life and family. Losing both his father and his uncle, Trevor decided to take action against this horrible disease. He began to coordinate a memorial golf tournament to raise funds for charity. This year, the Cancer Research Institute (CRI) was the lucky beneficiary to the Fourth Annual Jim and Jerry Smith Memorial Golf Tournament which raised an impressive $6,558! We spoke with Trevor to learn more about his motivation and passion for peer-to-peer fundraising.
What inspired you to start this fundraiser?
My twin brother Connor and I were inspired to start this fundraiser about five years ago in honor of my father James Smith and uncle Jerry Smith (my dad’s twin brother) who both lost their lives to cancer about two weeks apart late in 2012. Both of them enjoyed playing golf together and we thought it would be a fun tradition to start an annual golf tournament fundraiser in their honor each year.
Why did you choose to raise money for the Cancer Research Institute?
I chose to fundraise for the Cancer Research Institute because of the vast number of cancers that immunotherapy has the potential to help treat and cure. James and Jerry lost their lives to two different types of cancer, and I thought it would be special to fundraise for an organization which could address both in the future. Also, I loved that CRI was utilizing Classy as their fundraising software for peer-to-peer fundraising. I used to work for Classy, and their mission, people, and values are still near and dear to my heart.
Why is peer-to-peer fundraising important to you and why do you think it’s a valuable vehicle to charities?
Peer-to-peer fundraising is very special to me. When I first fundraised for this golf tournament a few years back, I didn’t even know what the term peer-to-peer fundraising meant. I believe in the value of it because I think it is such a unique opportunity to tap into the power of people giving to people because of their stories. I have a unique story to tell and peer-to-peer fundraising provides me with an amazing platform not only to tell my story, but also to raise funds for an organization doing some tremendous work in the field of cancer research. I believe this is such a valuable tool for charities because it empowers their supporters to share their own stories with their networks and basically puts “fundraising boots on the ground” to amplify an organization’s mission.
What words of advice do you have for people who have never fundraised before? What should they expect on their journey as a fundraiser?
Just do it! It will be so rewarding in ways you never even expected. It might seem a tad daunting a first, but trust me it’s not. Don’t be shy about getting the word out. Use all your social media channels. Let people know that no donation amount is too small. Give yourself some runway to hit your fundraising goal—nothing great happens overnight. It’s important to thank your fundraisers. Whether it be on the activity wall of the fundraiser, or with a personal email, or even a handwritten note, a thank you goes such a long way. And most of all, have fun with it!
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Update: Trevor Smith participated in Moments from the Heart of Science in June 2019.