Five Qs: Michael Melfi on Running for Water

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Michael S. Melfi, partner at Birmingham-based Melfi Associates, will be one of thousands to participate in the 2014 Detroit Free Press/Talmer Bank Marathon on Oct. 19. He spoke with DBusiness Daily News about his goal to raise $5,000 for Hope Water Project, which will use the funds to bring a fresh water well to the Pokot African tribes.

1. DDN: What drew you to this particular charity?

MM: When I was introduced to the Hope Water Project, it was an aha moment for me. It made me realize that we live in a society where we can hop into a convenience store or sit down for dinner and order tap or bottled water, while there are people in (developing) countries who are drinking contaminated water just to survive. It’s become a passion project of mine, and I’ve been raising money for different water projects for the past two years.

2. DDN: How do you find time to train for the marathon?

MM: The work-life balance is a challenge all of us face, but when I get committed to a project and put it out there to people, there’s a certain amount of accountability. So I kind of created a support structure of people, including other colleagues, friends, and clients, who run with me in the morning or in the late evening. I usually have to be a weekend warrior, so I have to get two out of five runs in on the weekend.

3. DDN: What crowdfunding platform you are using?

MM: I’m the general counsel for Funderbuilt.com, which launched in July. We offer reward, donation, and equity-based projects on the portal, so were one of the first of its kind to offer all three types of projects at once. This is my first campaign on the site, and it’s just short of reaching $4,000.

4. DDN: What makes for a good fundraising campaign?

MM: Crowdfunding can be use to fund anything. It really comes down to if you have a good idea and if you’re passionate and dedicated. That’s what people are looking for, and it requires that regular kind of effort and perseverance to spread the message to gain awareness and share your story. (For my campaign), providing water to these people is my attempt to shine light in a dark place.

5. DDN: Do you have plans to continue fundraising beyond the marathon?

MM: I actually have another one I’m doing right after this. It’s for waterislife.com. I’ll also being using Funderbuilt.com for that as well.

To learn more about Melfi’s “Why I Run” campaign, click here.

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