Top Fundraiser Shares Secret to Success

This summer’s walks kick off on Saturday, June 24 in Madison and we couldn’t be more excited for this year’s top notch crew of walkers and fundraisers! We reached out to Gary Sylvan, one of our top fundraisers participating in the Highland Park, IL walk, to find out his secret for fundraising success. We found it inspirational how achievable the activities are that brought him so much success – he alone has raised nearly $10,000 for scleroderma research and support! Read on to learn how he does it!

SF: Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions Gary! What motivates you to be a top fundraiser?

GS: My motivation is multi-oriented. Scleroderma is a terrible disease with no known cure. I want to see a cure that works for those inflicted. Too many are stricken with this disease at an early age. One of those is my daughter. It tears at me to see her struggle through daily tasks, work, and her family (including 3 lovely little girls). Raising money is a way to fund research which will, hopefully, find a cure.

I am a competitive person, and raising funds is part of my DNA. I want to compete to motivate others to raise funds, to see who can come out on top. Money is key to research.

I hope to be the top fundraiser, and that my team – Team Lisa Joy – will be a top team. But if that doesn’t happen, it means someone else did a better job, and  the end result is more funds for scleroderma research and support.

SF: What do you attribute your fundraising success to?

GS: My fundraising success is based upon approaching it in an organized manner. I have a list of donors that I keep on my computer, and I update it for every donation. After receiving a donation, I send out a thank you email. I also attempt to think of new donors, including personal vendors and people with whom I do business (e.g. insurance agents, auto dealers) knowing there will be attrition in my donor list. I start my fundraising early, and prepare an email to prospective donors that explains the event and the need for funds. As time grows near, I regularly email those who have not donated.

SF: What’s your #1 tip for other fundraisers?

GS: My #1 tip is to stick to it! Be intent on making the fundraising effort a priority.

SF: What inspires you to stay involved?

I’m inspired to stay involved because I WANT to see a cure! We NEED to see a cure!

Thank you to Gary and all our walk participants and fundraisers! We’re walking for the cure and together, we believe it’s within reach. If you’d like to see a schedule of our upcoming walks and other fundraising events and get involved, visit