Unique Fundraising Stories: Leveling Up with Stephanie P.
Asking people directly for money to support your MuckFest mission may not be your jam. Luckily, that’s not the only way to fundraise! Throughout this Unique Fundraising Stories series, our fellow Muckers give insight and tips on how to get the most support AND fun out of your fundraising experience.
Next up? Meet Stephanie Pratt, a Boston fundraiser who gets creative with video game live streaming to support her MuckFest fundraising efforts.
After taking on her new role as a stay-at-home mom after her first child was born and being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) in 2007, Stephanie made it her quest to spread awareness of MS and raise money to find a cure through live streaming…even if that meant shoving a pie in her face or displaying her karaoke skills for the world to see.
See how Stephanie’s harnessing the power of technology to inspire not only her friends and family, but people around the globe.
Why did you first get involved in MuckFest?
I randomly saw an ad online and thought that it would be a good challenge for me. Starting in 2009, I participated in Walk MS events in Manchester, NH, after being diagnosed at the end of 2007. The last year I did Walk MS, I challenged myself to jog the entire five miles. After that, I felt I needed something more. That’s when I found MuckFest Boston in 2013, and, gosh, that first year it was the challenge for which I had been looking. It felt more “bad***.” The hype and excitement at the event are palpable, and it’s something I look forward to every year.
Tell us about MSPocketNinja and your journey/fundraising through gaming/livestreaming.
MSPocketNinja was my online alias created from a double meaning from MS and Ms. “Pocket” because I am “pocket-sized.” I am a whopping 5’ 1.5” tall (and yes, that 1.5” matters). I was beginning my journey as a stay-at-home mom, and I was missing a hobby for myself. My husband gave me the idea to start live streaming, and MSPocketNinja was born in 2015.
I had visions of helping bring awareness about MS, and I frequently explained the meaning of my name to people that came by to watch me play. I had seen a few charity Twitch streams and had some ideas of my own, so I began my MS fundraising journey on Twitch in 2016. The birth of our second child forced me away from streaming for a time, but I have recently found the itch once again and resurfaced with a new brand: PktFenix (Pocket Phoenix). As my alias assumes, my passion has been reborn, and I am looking forward to continuing my personal growth.
If someone has never watched livestreaming on Twitch before, can you help explain it to them?
Watching someone live stream is similar to watching a favorite sport, except you are watching a video game/craft and can interact in real time with the person playing and the community they have built. Fundraising that way is interactive and fun. People enjoy interacting with their favorite streamers and being part of the story.
You can see a variety of ways to acknowledge people donating. For instance, streamers may highlight the donor’s name or do silly things for certain dollar amounts donated. I’ve hit myself in the face with a shaving cream pie, sung songs badly, given away video game character plushies (called amigurumi) that I crocheted, and eaten countless “Beanboozled” jellybeans as incentives for people to donate among other things. Viewers are generally hyped up and driven with energy and excitement.
How has that impacted your fundraising?
It helped to bring in extra money that otherwise we wouldn’t have had. For me, it means a lot personally that people who have mostly only seen me through their computer screens were moved enough to help out. However, I receive a majority of my donations from reaching out to family and friends.
What tips do you have for someone who is looking to do something unique as they fundraise for MuckFest?
If there’s a will, there’s a way. Just because something hasn’t been done or tried before doesn’t mean it won’t work. The best thing you can do is try. Try again. Try something else.
What is your favorite MuckFest memory?
There are so many at this point, but my all-time favorite is from the first MuckFest in which I participated. It was just me and my husband. We crossed the finish line, and I jumped into his open arms. It was an emotional moment for me. I did it. I tried each obstacle. I jogged most of the 3 miles. If I could conquer MuckFest, I felt I could do anything. MS wasn’t going to stop me.
If you had one tip for a first-time Mucker, what would it be?
Don’t sweat it. If you can’t physically or don’t feel comfortable doing an obstacle, don’t feel obligated. With that being said, don’t be afraid to try. The support from the volunteers and other muckers is so motivating and encouraging!
Feeling inspired by Stephanie? Learn more about fundraising here or read more about muckers making a difference. Do you or someone you know have a unique fundraising tip or trick? Send them our way at info@MuckFestMS.com!