Empowered Movement: Discover Your Strength

The inaugural Empowered Movement event was held on July 19th at The Baker House in East Hampton, co-presented with James Lane Post. As the name suggests, it’s an event that aims to give guests a new authority over their bodies and strength over their lives in a 30-30-30 format: a 30-minute panel discussion, a 30-minute workout, concluded by 30-minutes of networking.

We had a panel of well-received wellness industry experts— SLT’s founder Amanda Freeman, DanceBody’s co-founder and COO Courtnay Mariani, Paddle Diva’s founder and CEO Gina Bradley,  and CoreBarreFit’s co-founder Fred DeVito. They each discussed their journeys as business owners and how certain physical motions can improve mental strength to overcome obstacles. Just like power posing, there are movements we can tap into during our workouts that deliver the confidence we need to push through adversity. To apply this theory, immediately following the panel was a Hip Hop Hits class from DanceBody, intended to let go of inhibitions and discover true strength, followed by refreshments and light bites.

The better we can harness the power of mental strength the more empowered our lives will feel, and the stronger we become. “Empowered Movement: Discover Your Strength” embodies what happens when you combine the elements of connection, community, and conversation to bring a brand’s narrative to life, and it is a true representation of the Nikki On The Daily brand.

As it grows, I hope to see you at the next one.

Sponsors included: Owyn, Liquid Death, Scott’s Protein Balls, Silverspoon Specialties, Barry’s, Inner Beauty, iTri, and Platedate.

The inspiration behind Empowered Movement

Strength is often associated with physical ability, but we underestimate the power strength has on our minds. It turns out that there is a direct correlation between mental strength and physical fitness. 

You’ve likely heard the term “mind-body connection” in regards to mental health. How we feel on the inside can positively or negatively impact the way our bodies function. But mental health and mental strength are not the same. There’s another layer to the mind-body connection. While mental health addresses a mental state, mental strength deals with how we cope with our emotions. A better breakdown is that mental health is a noun and mental strength is a verb. So, while mental health is important, developing mental strength can improve cognitive function and emotional stability. What’s more, it can make us physically stronger.

Sports Psychology Today explains that “mental training is the segment of sports psychology that concentrates specifically on helping athletes break through the mental barriers that are keeping them from performing up to their peak potential.” And studies have shown that individuals who combine mental training with physical training see a significant increase in overall strength and performance. That’s because when we increase emotional resilience and awareness we are better prepared to handle adversity—the adversity we feel within and the physical challenges ahead of us.

For years I’ve used the social media hashtag #StrongNotSkinny, as a tool to bring awareness that strength should be celebrated over body type. However, it wasn’t until I started to run that I was able to truly tap into mental strength. It was the conscious effort to show up, pushing through the discomfort and stigma I long held about running, that transformed how I ran. Mental training taught me that I didn’t dislike running, I disliked the adjustment. And, most importantly, it wasn’t that I couldn’t run but rather I had to work through the mental barriers that stopped me from trying. That’s when an idea hit. If more people understood the power of mental strength would they, too, be able to accomplish more of their fitness goals? That’s how Empowered Movement was formed.

4 Tip For How To Organize A Virtual Fundraiser

A virtual fundraising event. It sounds easy right? There’s no need to physically show up somewhere on a specific day, at a specific time. It can be done from anywhere in the world. And, with the right publicity, it has the potential to reach a much wider audience of attendees, far beyond a limited geographic radius. 

Yes. A virtual fundraising event sounds easy. But, if you’re looking to plan one, don’t be fooled. Although the benefits speak for themselves, it comes with its own set of challenges. I should know, I just organized one.

I, alongside Tiffany Wagner from CIVIC Entertainment Group, co-chaired Veterinarians International’s inaugural Healthy Steps For Healthy Pets walkathon. The virtual fundraising event invited people from all over the world to participate in a month-long initiative to raise monies and awareness for animals in need of veterinary care across the globe. 

It launched in September with a brand new microsite and gave supporters a chance to order special walkathon swag. Then, on Saturday, October 3, the virtual fundraiser concluded as humans and their four-legged companions took to the sidewalks of their own neighborhoods as they walked 0.5 miles. Meanwhile, in East Hampton, an intimate group gathered at The Baker House 1650 for a celebratory, and CDC regulated, Healthy Steps For Healthy Steps in person event.

But, as with any first experience, there are lessons to be learned. Here are 4 things I learned about organizing a virtual fundraiser:

It’s Important To Set Boundaries

Now that the virtual fundraiser is over, I realize how much of my time I actually dedicated to it. All of it. Between working from home and everything being so easily accessible from my phone, I made myself available nearly 24/7. But it’s important, especially if you are volunteering, to block out designated time to plan the event. 

Schedule virtual meetings on a calendar, prepare social media days in advance, and keep as much communication as possible to emails and calls. Maybe some people enjoy doing business via text but, personally, it makes me nervous. Mentally, I perceive text messages as a social interaction rather than a professional one. I can’t keep track of text chains and they often go unanswered for hours. But in order to avoid falling behind, I was constantly looking at my phone, quick to jump when new information came in. 

I didn’t set boundaries, for myself or for others. It’s important to clearly define what mediums you’ll be communicating through and time frames you’ll be doing it. Otherwise, it’s very easy to become overwhelmed and create a burnout feeling.

Images and Copy Matter

In person events leave little room for interpretation. When you’re speaking to a room you have numerous cues that aid in your message: your tone of voice, your body language, the decor, even the crowds energy. When you host a virtual fundraiser you only have two things—images and copy. And they are interdependent.

Images and copy go hand in hand to tell a compelling story. They help each other convey a message and act as the two most important tools to achieving a fundraising goal.

Think of images as the door to your event. They attract supporters to explore a website and learn more. You need visually appealing photos that are welcoming and accurately capture the organizations overall mission. Now, think of copy as the key to your door. It is what turns a potential supporter into an active participant and unlocks your fundraisers potential. Without the door and key, your supporters are left on the outside. 

I wrote 95% of the copy for Healthy Steps For Healthy Pets. I write for a living, so it made sense to put most of my efforts there. While it was time consuming and tedious, all the editing and rewriting, it not only attracted new awareness but created a critical dialogue.

Engagement Is Key

Virtual fundraisers are just that, virtual. So, keeping participants engaged is perhaps the most important part. Since you don’t have the ability to go up to your supporters and thank them in person for “showing up” keeping a steady flow of communication goes a long way.

Social media is typically the first thing that comes to mind to engage a virtual audience. Post pics, create a hashtag, tag others, comment on everything. While that is a large part of it, do not underestimate the continued power of email blasts. When someone signs up for a fundraiser that means they are interested in a cause. Tap into that.

When our microsite launched on September 3 engagement was initially kept to social media. Then a lightbulb went off. Why not send a daily email to our supporters with fundraising tips, facts about where the money goes, and a personal story relating to the cause? So, I sent out one every day when the 10-day countdown arrived. It not only engaged our audience by connecting them to the organization on a heartfelt level but it encouraged them to go the extra mile with raising money.

Whether a participant is competing for the top prize or simply joining for fun, engaging an audience from the moment they sign-up to the event day itself can turn them into long-term supporters.

You’ll Never Regret Doing More

I truly believe I did all I could, and more, for the virtual fundraiser. But, a few weeks before October 3, an intimate, CDC regulated, in-person gathering was organized for event day. It took place at The Baker House 1650 in East Hampton where the local community and their pups enjoyed a much needed stroll to the beach and reception that followed. Originally, I was unable to attend. But as co-chair I made sure to be there. It was beautiful and well thought out.

It was here that I made my biggest, and perhaps only, mistake. Since I wasn’t part of the planning of the in person event, or the email correspondence that led up to it, I went from actively spearheading the initiative to being a passive participant. While the in person event was a success, I can still recall all the little ways I could have helped but didn’t think to in that moment. The attention is in the detail and I let my attention slip. As a professional, whether it is something I agreed to do or not, that should never happen. 

And so, the biggest lesson learned here is actually the final one. Always follow up with anything and everything that your name is attached to.  You might regret not doing enough for a fundraiser, but you will never regret doing more. Push beyond the exhaustion, physical or mental, until you cross the finish line. 

Fundraising events act as a lifeline for many non-profits. They raise necessary financial support in order to carry out the organizations mission. Plus, they draw in new potential donors through entertainment, engagement, and live auctions. Although the pandemic has cancelled most to all in person events, fortunately, virtual fundraisers took their place.

Virtual fundraisers might be the new normal for a while, but that doesn’t make them any less effective. Get creative and get excited! The potential is literally endless with what you can do.

If you need help with your virtual fundraiser reach out to me on LinkedIn at Nicole Teitler or email me at NTeitler@gmail.com