Harlene Ellin, aka “Hellin Wheels,” is one of the original members of Derby Lite, Oak Park’s roller derby club, founded by Barbara Dolan two and a half years ago (“For Women Old Enough to Know Better”). In addition to elbowing each other into the boards, the 25 or so members also take part each year in the American Cancer Society’s Walk & Roll fundraiser, which takes place this Sunday, May 16, starting at 8:30 a.m. at Upper Hutchinson Field in Grant Park by the lakefront.
As competitive as they are on skates, Ellin says, “we’re supercompetitive in fundraising. We’re the little engine that could, a bunch of strong-willed women kicking up some dust.”
This year they set a loftier goal of $20,000 and met it Sunday night, Ellin says, thanks in large part to Facebook. “I used it last year, but I’ve got a lot more friends this year.” In fact, out of 472 social media “friends,” more than 100 made donations, she says.
Facebook allows a fundraiser to be more creative and less aggravating. Instead of peppering people with repetitive e-mails, you can put the fundraising pitch on your “wall” and people will see it whenever they check in.
On the creative side, she took her cue from NPR fundraising giveaways. Known for her homemade brownies, she offered to send a pan for anyone who donated a minimum amount.
“I got a response in seconds,” she says. “In one day I raised $1,100.” She mailed eight pans of brownies, including one to Boston and another to New Jersey. As of Monday, she had raised a total of $6,315.
“Facebook makes fundraising so much fun,” she says. “You can interact, post pictures. Everyone gets in the spirit.”
And some get brownies.
For more information, visit derbylite.org (or Harlene Ellin’s Facebook page).