Setting up your Personal Page

When you register for the Susan G. Komen 3 Day for the Cure, one of the first things that happens is that you are designated a bit of space on the 3 Day website to manage all of your fundraising activities.  This is your Participant Center and you will come to know it very well.  As part of your Participant Center, you are also assigned a personal webpage that serves as your 3 Day face to the rest of the world.  Because this is what your donors will see when they travel to the 3 Day website, it is very important that you put some time into making your personal page all that it can be.

In this post, I'm going to walk through how to set up an effective personal page on the 3 Day website.  These are my opinions about what makes for a good page.  If you have other ideas, please share!

Step 1.  Personalize your URLs

If you visit your assigned personal page, you will notice that the URL looks something like this:

That URL is rather unwieldly and mostly comprised of what can best be described as gobbledy-gook.  Not terribly useful for sharing with friends, family and potential donors.  Luckily, it is really easy to simplify your crazy URL to something more like this:

So how do you do that?  Easy!  First, in the right hand sidebar on the main page of your Participant Center, you will find something that looks like this:


Once you find that, click on the "Update personal URLs" link.  That will take you to a really straightforward screen that looks like this (click to enlarge):

There, you can type in a simplified URL ending for your personal page and, if you're a team captain, for your team page as well.  I highly recommend that you make this something easy to remember for your donors.  Names work particularly well.  Once you're done, click Save.  Then share your new, shorter URL with the world!

Step 2.  Update the message on your personal page

To edit the content of your personal page, you need to travel to the editing page.  You can get there by clicking the pink box at the top of your Participant Center labeled "Personal Page".  Then click where it says "Click here to open this page for editing".  You are now set to put your creative juices to work.
The heart of your personal page is the message body.  The picture may be what catches your eye, but the body is what people will remember.  In my experience, the more personal the message, the better.  You are pouring your heart and soul into preparing for the 3 Day.  While leaving the default message serves the purpose, it also suggests that you are putting the minimum effort into your 3 Day experience.  You know that's not true, so why send that message out to your donors?

What kind of information should you put into the message body?  My advice would be to use the space to tell your story.  Everyone has a reason why they are doing it.  Some people are walking to honor someone else.  Some people are walking for themselves.  Some people are walking just because they think it's the right thing to do.  Everyone has a reason and every reason is legit.  Use your page to put your story out there.  The same information that makes for a compelling fundraising letter makes for a compelling personal webpage message.  This is a great place to start working out how to best tell your story to your potential donors.

The 3 Day webpages now have the option to divide your message into at least three separate sub-headings.  Take advantage of this to organize your thoughts.  My teammate Melissa Q used this to break her story down into "My History" (where she discusses her previous 3 Day experiences) and "Why I Walk" (where she talks about what brought her back this year).  I used this space to talk a bit about my team and our common reasons for walking.  Using this formatting device can be really effective.  Think about how to use this to best convey your story!

Finally, a technical note.  For security reasons, the 3 Day website will log you out after 20 minutes of inactivity.  For whatever reason, typing doesn't count as "activity".  So to give yourself ample time to write and edit your message, I highly recommend drafting your story in a word processing program first.  The additional advantage to doing this is that you now have the basics for your fundraising letter saved right on your hard drive as well!

Step 3.  Update your personal picture.

As I said above, while the message body may be the heart of your personal page, your picture is the first thing people see.  Just like with the message, you want to make your picture as personal as possible.  You want people to know that they're on your picture as soon as they get there and there's no better way to achieve that then with a personal picture.

So what kind of pictures work best?  Well, if you're a veteran 3 Day walker, pictures from previous walks are always great, no matter how long ago they were.  My teammate Melissa Q is using this picture from our walk in Atlanta in 2007:

Melissa at the end of Day 2, Atlanta 2007

For my personal page and for our team page, I used these pictures from my previous walks in 2007 and 2008 (clearly, I am partial to the flags):

Mom and I, Atlanta 2008 (L) and Melissa Q and I, Atlanta 2007 (R)

So what if you're a 3 Day newbie and don't have any event photos yet?  There are lots of options for you too!
  • Pictures from other breast cancer events, especially the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure! 

With Tommy and Marcia at the 2007 CNY Race for the Cure
  • Pictures from your fundraising events and/or training walks.
 The Walkstars team picture during training for the 2008 Atlanta 3 Day
  • Pictures of the friends and family members that you are walking for.
Jen and her mom, Jen's current personal picture

Basically, you just need to be creative!  My first year, I used a picture of my dog in her pink 3 Day bandana sticking her tongue out at cancer.  Really, anything that is personal and conveys the spirit of the 3 Day will work.   And don't hesitate to update your picture throughout your experience!

A few technical notes on the pictures.  Pictures uploaded to your personal page must be .jpg files and are limited to 200kB.  In addition, all photos are resized to 300 x 400 pixels.  Because of this, the quality of the pictures on the 3 Day is pretty low for everyone.  Don't worry too much if things are pretty pixelated.  Also, because of the dimensions, horizontal pictures work much better than vertical pictures.  Finally, you can now upload videos to your page as well.  I don't know anything about that, so I won't pretend that I do.  Just know that it's an option now!

 Shenanigans expressing her sophisticated opinion on breast cancer

4.  Set Up Your Extras

There are a few extras that you can choose to add to your personal page.  These aren't necessary (neither is the picture, actually) but it adds a nice touch, I think.

First, you can add a participant thermometer to your page to track your fundraising progress.  Be sure to set your fundraising goal on the main page of your Participant Center (and set it high!).  Seeing how close you are to your goal (or how much farther you still have to go) can motivate people to donate more.  Definitely consider the pink thermometer.

In addition, you can add an "honor roll" to recognize all of your donors.  You can opt to show the names of your donors and the amount they donated or you can limit it to just the names of your donors if you choose.  Either way, this is a great way to show off all of the people who helped you achieve your goal.

Finally, you can choose to add a "personal blog" to your page.  In my experience, this blog is really limited as to what you can post (no pictures!).  It's also something of a pain to update.  I still keep a "blog" on the bottom of my personal page to highlight major news, but obviously I do most of my blogging here.  Choose what works best for you and go to town.

5.  Save your changes!

This is a very important final step: SAVE YOUR CHANGES.  Don't just click away and assume everything was automatically saved and updated.  It won't be.  So click that "save changes" link before you migrate away.  Once you do that, start spreading that new URL around everywhere you can think off.  You have a great home page - show it off and be proud!  


Anonymous said...

Thank you for all the great info! Love your blog.

Leah said...

I'm a new walker this year (DC in October)and I'm finding your blog to be *very* helpful. Thanks so much for the wisdom and inspiration!

Kayren said...

omg omg omg- thank you thank you thank you for this entry in this blog and for your blog period- I walk on a team (team tiara) in the Breast Cancer 3 Day in DFW. This will be my 3rd year and the team's 5th year. I was working on my personal page just the other day and couldn't load a pic of my sweet Zoe... I walk for my daughter. Since my page needs some work if you want to see my story you can go to our team website- teamtiara,net and look for our personal stories (Kayren's Story). The pic of Zoe was taken when she was 3 mos old. She is turning 2 this year. I will be following your blog and am taking a moment to give you a shout out- GO WALKER!!!

Kristen Sager Cincotta said...

Thanks for all the kind words!

Kayren, I finally got over to your team page! Your daughter is a cutie. My teammate Melissa just had her first child, a girl, in November. I know she feels very similarly about walking for her! Thanks for sharing!

~ Kristen