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How to Stay Involved Stateside: Past Volunteer Runs FUNdraiser for blueEnergy

By Monica Ralston -- I spent two months working on a development project in Bluefields, Nicaragua with blueEnergy shortly after my 2009 college graduation. My time with blueEnergy left a lasting impression through the following years, as I taught in Colombia, interned in DC, and subsequently moved to San Francisco for a job at a solar energy company. When I found myself in the Bay Area I decided to find a way to again become involved with blueEnergy.

After a lengthy discussion with blueEnergy’s Founder and Executive Director, Mathias Craig, I determined that the best way to start my stateside relationship with blueEnergy would be to participate in a marathon fundraiser. My training for the Avenue of the Giants Marathon in Redwoods, CA (Humboldt County) was already underway, and I was familiar with the process of fundraising through races, so it was a natural fit.
44 donors gave a total of $2,398 to support blueEnergy through my fundraising site, and the process was surprisingly easy!

Here are 5 tips for a simple yet successful race fundraiser:

  1. Pick a race that matches your interests and will be challenging for your personal fitness level.
  2. Create a FirstGiving Page, a safe and easy way for people to donate. For an example see my FirstGiving page:
  3. Brainstorm a list of potential donors (Family, friends, co-workers, etc).
  4. Contact these people via email and/or facebook.
  5. Follow-up with progress updates and thank those who have donated.
Monica crossing the finish line after 26.2 miles

I had a lot of fun training for the race, and this fundraiser helped me reconnect with blueEnergy and share their mission of working with Nicaragua's most isolated poor with a whole new group of people. So, if you are looking for a way to work with blueEnergy from your home state, this is a great way to do it. You can also come up with your own creative fundraising ideas and contact Kate Graham (blueEnergy’s Development Officer) at for assistance.

Next up: Bringing back bE trivia night. If you live in the Bay Area keep your eye out for information about the next bE trivia night fundraiser, located in San Francisco.

Monica with her boyfriend Jaime and her mom Carla,
who ran the marathon and the 10K

Monica Ralston volunteered with blueEnergy for 2 months in 2009, primarily working on a development project. She thoroughly enjoyed her time in in Bluefields, Nicaragua, running with friends, making large group dinners, and going on wild panga rides. Monica grew up in Portland, OR and went to Middlebury College in Vermont, where she studied Environmental Studies and Economics. She currently lives in San Francisco and works at a solar energy company.

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