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Transcript for Paul Irwin-Dudek Walk Chat

 

12:55
  Hi everyone! We are about to get started!
12:56
 
Comment From Guest

hi

12:56
 
Comment From Matthew LeFluer

Hello

12:57
  Good morning/afternoon everyone... I'm so glad to see so many people joining!
12:58
 
Comment From Marsha

hi

12:58
  Is everyone ready for a wonderful "Walk Now for Autism speaks" season? While we've already had two amazing events this year (Palm beach and Miami), this weekend kicks off our non-stop schedule throughout the spinrg season. 
1:00
  Thank you all for sending inyour comments... we see them all. We will try to get through as many questions today, but know that we plan on having this “Walk Chat” as a regular series, and will be asking some of you – our dedicated supporters – to help in the discussion. 
1:00
 
Comment From Matthew LeFluer

I Wish There A Way Were Vermont Can Have This Event I Live in Vermont The Closest Walk is in NH.

1:01
  Matt, please know that we're always looking for new Walk sites. We would love to work with you to start planning an event in the future, or you can create a smaller community event to get the ball rolling. 
1:04
  For all of the comments on possible WalK Now for Autism Speaks sites, keep them coming. I'm so impressed that as an organziation that is 'truly' 6 years old, the expansion we've had in our Walk program. This year alone, we've created 7 new Walk sites in North America - totaling 95 Walks. 
1:04
Comment From Konnie


How do you suggest we find sponsors for our Walk? Most of our fundraising is from family teams.

1:05
  Konnie – Thank you so much for joining the conversation! [to our FB friends, Konnie has been a long time Walk participant and has also been involved in our Team Up with Autism Speaks events]. 

Yes, while for many of our events, the fundraising comes for our dedicated family teams, breaking into the corporate spnsorship has been difficult. But it shouldn't be...

1:06
  We need to look within our existing enviroment. I'm sure many of our wakers belomng to companies that have a corporate relations department that sponsor events similar to our Walk.... 
1:07
  Having the conversation with your staff partner and help open the corporate door for us. I know someties asking a company to give a gift is sometimes harder than asking your friend or neigbor, but we're here to help. 
1:08
  every community has the potential to get corprate sponsorship... lets look at the 'low hanging fruit'. Again, we are here to help! 
1:08
 
Comment From Jennifer Rose

Hey there! Both my Brother and Sister fall Under the Autism Spectrum...And doing this walk is something that myself and family and friends are all interested in participating in...I noticed that there are different teams involved...do we have to belong to a team to donate and participate? or can we just go as a small group? i live in NYC so i am planning on attending teh walks in NJ.

1:11
  jennifer - great question! You can join as a particpant, or start a team (we have sizes that range from 2-150+ individuals on a team). We;d love to see you at our NJ and NYC events. Trust me... the atmosphere at our walks is addicting. Once you attend one, you will want to attend all of the ones in your area - and being in NYC, you have so many to choose from. 
1:11
 
Comment From Konnie

I have always asked my friends to support my team and this year I asked them to ask their companies to participate. I haven't heard back so maybe I just need to follow up? I don't want to bother them.

1:13
  Konnie, please don't look at it as bothering them. For those of us involved in Autism Speaks, we get it...Life Happens! Sometimes phonecalls go unanswered and emails get ignored (personal ones... not business related - right :) sometime a simple reminder phone call is all that they need. 
But let me say, THANK YOU, for asking your team mebers to get their employer involved. that is one simple way to help us grow our events. 
1:13
 
Comment From Mike D.

No, you do not have to be on a team Jennifer. In fact, you can walk as an individual or form your own team.

1:14
 
Comment From Jessica B

Well I'm sure someone within the corporation is touched by autism somehow! We need to think of that! Shouldn't be hard to find a way to work with that!

1:14
 
Comment From Mandy Jones

My son has been diagnosed with Autism 2 years ago my husband and I both work in our elementary schools were we live do you think it would be okay to see if the school would send flyers out if w organized a walk?

1:16
  Mandy, ABSOLUETLY. That is how many of our local community events get started, and then they grow into larger walks. We can also provide you with a toolkit on how to start a local event within your school or in a community that isn't near one of our existing Walks.
1:17
  Email walks@autismspeaks.org and we can get you that toolkit and some supplies (brochures and posters) that you can use. 
1:17
 
Comment From Lori

Hi, we have formed a team for the walk in Potomac, MD on July 4th. Is there a way to post our fundraising to facebook? There is a link, but it does not work.

1:18
  Lori, I'm so glad you asked... we do have a couple tools you can use that integrate Facebook. 
1:19
  If you used the FB tool last year that is on your "My HQ", you have to reinstall it. It's trying to link to the webpage from last year and when we reset our new 2013 site, the link needed to be replaced. 
1:20
  Another way to post to facebook is by using our free mobile application for smart phones. Visit the apple store or iTunes store and look for “Walk Now”. It allows you to log into your existing walk “HQ” or to register for your walk if you haven’t done so already. This is a great new tool that has shown tremendous success for those participants that are using it.
1:21
  We see when people send emails asking for donations, they normally reach out to their immediate family, close friends and ‘some’ co-workers. When they tap into their social networks such as Facebook, it includes their immediate family, extended family, close friends, friends of friends, college/high school classmates, co-works, past coworkers, business contacts… The list goes on and on. Thanks, Lori, for using social media to enhance your fundraising!! 
1:21
 
Comment From Jessica

I'm a college student and would like to get my campus involved. What options are there? Thanks!

1:23
  we have a couple different options for you, one being helping us start an Autism Speaks U chapter on your campus. You can get your college involved in your local walk (if you have one near your campus) or you can help create awareness and fundraising events on campus. we have some great information onautismspeaks.org/u that can help you get your fellow classmate involved. 
1:23
 
Comment From Konnie

I noticed some teams raise tens of thousands of dollars. What's their secret?

1:25
  Konnie - love all of your questions - keep them coming. As a team captain, you cannot thank your team members enough. As a participant, you cannot thank your donors enough. 

I had the absolute pleasure of meeting the co-captain of our largest fundraising team in North America – Andrea Greenburg of Team Greenbean in LA (which by the way, for those of you in the LA area, good luck next weekend!!!!). They’ve walked past seven years… they started when their son, Tyler, was three. The LA Walk has grown, as has Team Greenbean. Each year they ask the new people that have come into their lives; new neighbors, new friends, new business partners, ect to join their team. They have over 100 team members, raising anywhere from $100 to $50k (Thank you, Lisa Katz!). They have had thousands of partners donate… many donations being $5. Whether they receive a $5 donation, or a $1000 donation, that thank each and every donor the same. They share with them the wonderful work that Autism Speaks is doing; in research, in family services, in advocacy. They stay in contact communication with their supporters. And each year, they ask for at least $1 more than last year.

1:26
  YOu want to be a $10k team... you have to ask for help. 

The number one reason why people don’t get involved (starting a team, joining a team, or donating) is because they aren’t asked. It’s one thing to tell the world that you’re walking for Autism Speaks and the reasons why you’re walking… but we all need to take the next step and actually ask people to help. 
“Hey, why don’t you join my team and help me reach our team goal of $1880,” “Would you consider making a donation to my team, Kensington’s Krusaders, and helping me support Autism Speaks?” “We’re hosting a silent auction as a team fundraiser, I’d love for you to come out and support us… and we’d love to have you join our team as well.” Once you start asking… it gets easier. Trust me. 

1:26
 
Comment From Konnie

Jessica, great point! You are so right. I need to remember that.

1:26
 
Comment From jen

how would someone go about organizing a walk in their area?

1:28
  Jen - start a conversation with your friends, your co-workers and your local community. Get a group of caring, passionate indiviiduals that want to make a difference a build a community event that will raise valuable awareness and funds. Then contactwalks@autismspeaks.org and we can help guide you in starting a walk in your area. This is the easiest way... get the people who can help organize a Walk and then watch the magic hapen. Please know, we're here to help.
1:29
 
Comment From Mike D.

Yes it is Mandy. I am on the Orlando walk committee and I know a few parents that went to the school districts and asked them to send information home with the children to give to the parents.

1:29
 
Comment From Andrea

I work for a foundation that provides information, workshops, and conferences for parents of children with Autism in Guadalajara, Mexico. We are having our 4th annual autism awareness walk April 22. How can Autism Speaks help foundations like ours, that are not in USA?

1:31
  Andrea, we provide valuable support to those areas outside of North America. Please send me an email,nationalwalk@autismspeaks.org and I can direct your information to our international team.
1:32
 
Comment From Konnie

I noticed some walks raise $1million dollars and others raise $100,000. I am not on the committee, but have participated in ones that are in the middle. How do you get to the million dollar mark?

1:34
  By having passionate individuals like you getting on the committee and helping us grow our event. In order to be a successful event (lets face it, for some communities it will be extremely difficult to raise $1m) you have to set goals on increasing your teams, your particpants, corporate support - which is coprtate teams as well as sponsorship. 
1:35
  For our committees, we need to focus on what works. Making sure we have healthy conversations with our teams, help them set their goals (and for existing teams we need to challenge them to increase their goals from last year).
1:36
  We need to make sure we are mentoring our new teams and giving them the tools to succeed (which I mentioned a couple earlier). 
1:38
  In orer to grow our events, we (as staff and our vounteer chairs / co-chairs), need to recruit individuals that can sit on our comittees and own their roles. We need people that can help recruit sponsors, recruit new teams, help us mentor some existing teams that need help, and work with our top teams to make sure others involved know how and why they are as successful. We're all working for the same goal, and we all need to support each other. 
1:38
 
Comment From Ann in DC

Lori, if you have any questions about the July 4th Autism Speaks 5K in Potomac, Maryland, just email Shawnie atautismspeaks5K@autismspeaks.org .

1:39
  Thanks Ann! 
1:39
 
Comment From Mike D.

I got a question for you. Let's say that there is currently not a walk in the Florida Keys. How would go about forming a walk there?

1:39
  start a conversation with your friends, your co-workers and your local community. Get a group of caring, passionate indiviiduals that want to make a difference a build a community event that will raise valuable awareness and funds. Then contactwalks@autismspeaks.org and we can help guide you in starting a walk in your area. This is the easiest way... get the people who can help organize a Walk and then watch the magic hapen. Please know, we're here to help.
1:40
 
Comment From Charlotte

I would like to volunteer for a Walk event, is there a way to do that before the event?

1:42
  you bet! We are a volunteer driven organziation and we need people like you to volunteer before, during and after an event. Through our Walk page (walknowforautismspeaks.org) you can identify your local event and under "event Info" you can find your local staff partner. We'd love to have you! 
1:42
 
Comment From Mandy Jones

We live in a very small town I just want to raise awareness to our community . what a great way to do so we live 1mile from a park !

1:44
  mandy, there are tons of ways to raise awareness and funds in a community - no matter where you live. I would suggest looking at some of the items under "resources" on any of our Walk pages, and to follow some of our Blog post. we're always sharing the amazing work our volunteers are doing... around the world. 
1:44
 
Comment From Andrea

Thank you Paul Irwin-Dudek!

1:45
 
Comment From michelle

i wonder if we, in the uk could do the walk or at least get some ideas from you, the u.s. seem to be far more advanced on autism that in the uk

1:47
  Michelle, we have so many tools to help everyone, no matter where you live. As i mentioned earlier, we have our LA walk next weekend... we have someone from the LA area that is stationed overseas in the military and they are doing a walk at the same time on their base to show support and compassion for their friends at home. Autism touches everyone... no matter where you're located. We're here to help. 
1:48
  Walk Now for Autism Speaks is the driving force to bringing our critical mission of Autsim Speaks to our local communities. Our passionate and dedicate walkers help fund our local and global biomedical research, raise awareness about autism in their community (just look at the amazing results of our Light It Up Blue initiative where our Walk communities lit local businesses, schools, and homes from one end of North America to the other), connect our local partners / service providers to our families, and they are our biggest advocates when it comes to helping local, state and national legislative issues get passed (or in some cases, stopped). 

As an organization, we are deeply committed to raising the funds necessary to support our goals, and Walk Now for Autism Speaks is one of the best tools we have to accomplish this. 

1:49
 
Comment From LaVava

We always seem to have the same teams at our Walk. Where do you suggest we go to get new ones?

1:51
  We love our returning teams, LaVaVa... but you're right, in order to grow we need to get new ones. With the new prevelance nubers (1 in every 88 children, 1 in every 54 boys), you're will not have to go far to find new teams... 
1:53
  I would look at enagaging your local services providers, your local faith-based institution, community groups and your local business and corporations. Ask them if you could come in and do a "lunch and learn", and educate (and provide valuable information) to their employees that have been touched by autism - and their supporters.
1:53
  You can also reach out to your schools and your colleges. 
1:55
  Stacey mentioned her favorite part of our Walk is the resource fair. 

To be honest... it's one of mine too. I’ve been in the “walk” world for some time now, and as a participant in numerous walks for various charities, there are times when you’re at an event and it looks like any other event I’ve been at. It moves me when I’m walking through one of our resource fairs and I over hear a newly dx family get chocked up because they just learned of a local service that would benefit their child. For me, it the greatest gift we can give to a family.

1:55
 
Comment From Matthew LeFluer

Is There A Way Special Olympics Can Help? With OR Support Autism Speaks. Im Just Asking. I Have Special Needs So This is New Me.

1:56
  Matt - absolulty. we have many local chapetrs of Special Olympics involved in our events. We're not in a competion with any group... we're all in this together and we need to support each other.
1:57
Comment From Marsha Arendt-Villatoro


1:57
  Thanks Marsha for sharing! What a great looking family! 
1:57
 
Comment From Mike D.

I was at the Palm Beach walk and I will be at the Tampa walk next Saturday

1:58
  Mike - we thank you for all of your support! Those are two great Walks to particpate in. 
1:59
  Thank you all for participating… this was fun! 
1:59
  Thank you again for joining, and good luck at your Walk! I hope you are able to really enjoy the day you worked so tirelessly to deliver. I wish I could be there in person to support all of you, but know that I am in spirit… actually, you have an entire organization (and over 1 million families) that will be with you in spirit!
2:00
  I want to leave on a parting note as this weekend the film BULLY is being release. Unfortunately, over 60% of children with special needs experience severe bullying. We’re proud to be part of the community promoting the new film and to raise awareness about how bullying affects children with special needs, like autism. Today we launched Combating Bullying, a new page on our website designed to provide our families with resources and information to help face this terrible issue that unfortunately plagues the special needs community. Check outspecialneeds.thebullyproject.com to learn more, and find out what you can do to help our children live in a bully free world. 

We will also be hosting a Live Chat on Wednesday, April 25th with Dr. Peter Faustino, President of the New York Association of School Psychologists, to give families the opportunity to ask questions about bullying in their communities. Sadly this is an issue that has touched many in our community and we hope that greater awareness and the tools that have been developed will help all of us to combat bullying. 

Remember, fundraising isn’t all that we do, but all that we do depends on it. Please know that the countless families around the world that Autism Speaks supports on a daily basis are so thankful for your efforts – yesterday, today, and tomorrow!