Jimmy Fund Walk Makes the Jump to the Internet

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The Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk exceeded its $3.3 million fundraising goal for 2000 by nearly $500,000, because of online registration and the ability to make online financial contributions, Jimmy Fund officials said.

Though the Jimmy Fund has hosted the Jimmyfund.org Web site for four years, this was the first year that participants could register and make financial contributions online. The walk was held Sept. 24.

Previously the walk was promoted by a mass mailing to alumni and brochures in selected stores and banks. Last year the Jimmy Fund sent out 13,000 mailings to alumni and distributed 50,000 brochures to Sovereign Bank, CVS and Stop & Shop.

The number of event participants increased from 6,849 in 1999 to 8,104 in 2000. Of the 8,104 who participated in the 12th annual walk, 1,897, or 24 percent, registered online.

"We knew online registration would make the process of getting involved easier for people," said walk director Emily Swymer. "Everyone is so busy, but the success of this year's walk proves that philanthropy is an important part of people's lives."

As they prepare for Walk 2001, set for Sept. 30, Jimmy Fund Walk organizers plan to rely even more on the nonprofit's Web presence to increase participation and donations. Plans include expanding Web capability and efficiency and adding fundraising totals and updates on the progress of fundraising efforts.

The walk benefits the Jimmy Fund, named after a 12-year-old cancer patient -- named "Jimmy" to protect his privacy -- who helped launch the fund in 1948. Boston's Dana-Farber Cancer Institute cares for cancer patients while searching for a cure through basic and clinical research. The Jimmy Fund Clinic is the part of the institute that cares for and treats pediatric oncology patients.

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