The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Dance Marathon fixated more on event’s importance rather than reaching a donation goal

The Daily Iowan; Photo by Ben Al
UI Dance Marathon representatives Madison Woodfine, Alex Linden, and Dylan Lloyd stand inside the IMU main ballroom on Monday, Jan. 29, 2018. Woodfine is the UIDM Event Director, Linden is the Executive Director, and Lloyd is the Moral Director. UIDM is one of the largest of the nationwide Dance Marathon event. Indiana and Florida host the top sports for most dollars raised in the country. (Ben Allan Smith/The Daily Iowan)

Board members of the 24th-annual University of Iowa Dance Marathon say they chose not to set a goal in donations this year to avoid overshadowing the spirit and importance of the Big Event.

The 22nd UI Dance Marathon in 2016 met its goal of $2.4 million for its cause of helping find cures for pediatric cancer. However, the 2017 event aimed for a higher goal of around $2.75 million and fell approximately $200,000 short.

Dance Marathon Executive Director Alex Linden wasn’t part of the committee that set the 2017 goal, but he said he and his fellow Dance Marathon participants were still dismayed when the goal wasn’t reached.

“$2.5 million, that’s incredible. That’s huge,” Linden said. “But it wasn’t the celebration it should’ve been, because people were fixated on the fact that we didn’t hit a goal. This year … we looked back on that, thought about what it means to have a goal, and chose not to do it.”

Linden said organizers wanted whatever was raised to be less numbers-driven and more focused on the cause.

RELATED: Video: Dance Marathon member optimistic as Big Event approaches

Participants began collecting donations for the 2018 Dance Marathon on April 1, 2017, and they will continue until the Big Event takes place.

Morale director Dylan Lloyd said fundraising volunteers were given leeway on what events they put on to raise money.

“We give them the tools and the resources required to raise funds by any means they can,” Lloyd said. “People really like to get creative, especially as we get closer to the Big Event.”

Linden listed door-to-door fundraising and letter-writing campaigns as some of the ways volunteers helped the cause.

“We always have registration going on, we’re always raising awareness for what we’re doing,” said Maddy Woodfine, the event director for this year’s Dance Marathon campaign. “We have our morale captains there, creating those relationships and giving out resources. We try to get creative with those, too.”

For the past two years, Dance Marathon hosted an After Dark event during On Iowa, the Orientation program for incoming students, in which they spent time at the IMU after that day’s activities, Woodfine said.

RELATED: UI Dance Marathon commits $2 million to first student-funded faculty position

Linden said he expects a larger turnout for the February Dance Marathon event than last year. He said there were just under 2,800 participants in 2017; his team has received more than 2,900 applications for this year’s event.

“We’ll see people within the next few days still registering to be a part of the organization,” he said. “Not strictly UI students; we have high-school students … we have community leaders and UI staff who also register and raise funds for us.”

Lloyd said donations continue to be collected, but the Dance Marathon board will not reveal the grand total before Saturday.

“There’s a running total of donations in our database so far … a rough ballpark of what we want to hit,” he said. “At the end of the day, we don’t want to put a constraint on what our fundraising is at the reveal, because no matter what, we know that every donation is for this cause and we would hate for a goal not met to overshadow any dollar amount raised.”

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