Thoughts about Giving: Little Tiny Things Add Up

By Erich Fasnacht, Vice President of Development
Fundraising profiles by Kaitlyn Gallagher

EVERYTHING that the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America does is made possible by tiny acts of kindness that happen every day. A small fundraising activity can make a significant impact on providing free programs and services to the MS community. Will you consider doing a small fundraising activity for MSAA so that we can help even more people with MS?

Usually, we would be asking our supporters to participate in a variety of in-person fundraising events and create your own fundraisers, such as bake sales and coin tosses. However, with the COVID-19 outbreak and social distancing, we know that these types of activities are not possible – and we need everyone to stay safe during these difficult times.

Fortunately, fundraising options are available that not only keep you safe in your own space, but help to fill your time and motivate you with an activity of your choice! Team MSAA’s Virtual Adventure allows you to customize your fundraising experience, choose your adventure, and complete it on your own time. With no set location or specific times or dates for a virtual event, Team MSAA members from across the country and around the world can participate from wherever they are, whenever they want.

All you need to do is register your virtual event with MSAA at Team MSAA’s Virtual Adventure. Please note that our Virtual Adventure ends on June 30, 2020 and all participants need to register by May 15, 2020. You can choose your own solo or household activity, such as running on a treadmill, jumping jacks, reading a certain number of books, or any other physical or just-for- fun activity – and set your personal goal. The sky is the limit! You can also share your adventure along the way on social media using #TeamMSAAGoesVirtual.

We LOVE the stories we hear of how a tiny idea for a fundraiser can turn into a fun online event. These fundraisers are great ways to connect virtually with family and friends, and we REALLY need your help in our 50th Anniversary year. If you have any questions, I would be happy to help you get started. MSAA’s Development & Special Events Coordinator Christy Phillips (at is also available to assist.

In addition to online fundraising events, please contact me directly with any thoughts you may have on donating to MSAA today, or making MSAA part of your legacy giving.

Thank you.

Erich Fasnacht
(800) 532-7667, ext. 101

Game On! Stream Your Favorite Video Game for MSAA!

Game OnVideo games are a great way to pass the time while interacting with friends and family in a virtual world… but did you know you can game in support of your favorite nonprofit, too? The next time you turn on your favorite video game, we encourage you to fundraise on a streaming platform to raise funds for MSAA’s free programs and services! MSAA is now accepting live streaming donations via Tiltify. This innovative fundraising platform allows streamers to easily collect donations for causes you care about while hosting gaming tournaments, completing missions, or reaching goals in any game of your choosing!

Video game streamer, Heather Smith was recently diagnosed with MS in July 2019. “Once I got diagnosed and wasn’t able to get out of the house as often, [streaming] started to be my way of making friends and connecting with people,” said Heather. In March, in honor of MS Awareness Month, Heather raised nearly $400 for MSAA’s free programs and services!

To learn more about live streaming, please visit MSAA’s Tiltify page.

A “Swim-pressive” Swim for MS Challenge

Our Swim for MS participants are never short on creativity when it comes to thinking up new ideas for Swim challenges… and Amy Proctor of Michigan is no exception! In August 2020, Amy will swim in a race called “Mighty Mac Swim,” a four-mile swim across the Straits of Mackinac (Michigan’s Lower Peninsula to the Upper Peninsula) in honor of her friend Jen who is living with multiple sclerosis. Amy and Jen taught at the same high school for 15 years before Jen had to medically retire due to her MS.

Amy has been hard at work since the fall to help prepare for the big event — she’s even raised close to $2,000 during her training in support of our free programs and services! “I began training at the end of October 2019…I started out by swimming twice a week before work and am now swimming three-four times a week,” said Amy. “Every so often, I swim with three-to-five friends who are also registered for the Mighty Mac. Additionally, we have a group text where we share workouts/how we are progressing, etc. It’s a great source of support and training ideas.”

We wish Amy the best of luck this summer as she takes on her open-water Swim challenge!

Going Virtual for a Good Cause

Jen Gaynor

Sometimes, life does not go as planned. In May 2020, MSAA’s Special Events Manager, Jen Gaynor, planned to participate in a 24-hour (yes, 24-hour!) track race which was unfortunately canceled due to COVID-19. Jen had devoted a lot of time and effort to prepare for her 24-hour race and figured her motivation should not go to waste. Thanks to Team MSAA’s Virtual Adventure fundraising initiative, Jen is still able to run in a safe and healthy environment around her own home in support of the multiple sclerosis community!

“Even though our daily routines have changed, people are still living with MS and trying to navigate their new normal,” said Jen. “It’s important now more than ever to make sure people stay aware of those who are in need.” Jen has created a Virtual Adventure fundraising page that encourages her friends and family to donate $25 for each hour she runs – and hopes to raise $600 during her Virtual Adventure fundraiser. This is enough to supply eight four-wheel walkers, or four cooling vests, or one MRI to members of the MS community!

So far, fundraising has been a breeze for Jen by connecting her Virtual Adventure fundraising page to her Facebook, which makes it easy for her friends and family to donate while they are scrolling social media. Her supporters can even share her fundraiser on their own social media pages to help spread the word about Jen’s Virtual Adventure!