Fundraising Secrets from Yuko Uchikawa

Posted by on May 8, 2014 in Blog, Portfolio, Punch-a-thon | 0 comments

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Yuko punching at CAE’s 2012 Punch-a-thon.

Yuko has been a member of the CAE community for more than 20 years and has consistently been one of the top fundraisers for CAE during Punch-a-thon. Here, Yuko shares some of the secrets to her fundraising success.

Why do you participate in CAE’s Punch-a-thon?

Someone once said, this is ironic, punching to end violence? But this is precisely what I love about the Punch-a-thon. It makes people think about the relationship between violence and peace. Martial arts has that inherent contradiction, the more we train to fight, the less we are inclined. Why? Because what we really build is an inner peace and confidence so that we walk away from violence. We achieve peace through training. This event is one of many ways that we build peace.

What are your fundraising secrets?

If you are able to, attach a little something for people to look at—a photograph or video. One year I attached a short video of a Karate form I presented. That email got a lot of responses. It’s important to write a personal thank you email to those who give.

I cycle through my list and add new people in each year. I also quiet the voice that says, “people are going to be tired of my asking them again.” When I flip it and think about when people ask me each year to support their cause, do I think “I’m tired of being asked”? I don’t. I am either happy to give, or I don’t give for whatever reason. The point is, the request doesn’t make me “tired.” So it is just my fear. Knowing that, I push through my fear and ask. They can say no, and that is ok. Enough people say yes, and that’s been the case every year.


When you give, you realize how that makes you feel—great—and you stand on that side of the equation and realize it is beautiful to give, and a privilege to be offered the opportunity to support something. Knowing that gives me the strength to ask.

Do you have any tips to offer new punchers?

  • Be generous. Give to receive
  • Think big and be bold
  • Set a high bar
  • Ask from the heart
  • Convey a lot of gratitude

I’m on the fence about saying “no donation too small.” You might think that would get more people to give, but I think it might be better not to direct people that way.

Why do you fundraise for CAE?

CAE is truly an amazing organization. It is a direct service, so you can see the results—you see CAE’s participants get stronger, more confident, and safer. Simply put: I believe in what CAE does.

What is it about CAE that is special to you that you take so much time & energy to fundraise?

I have been privileged to be with CAE for over twenty years and it has given me the gift of a life-long practice in the martial arts, self-defense skills, and a supportive community. How can I not give back?

CAE’s 9th Annual Punch-a-thon is Sunday, June 1st at 11 a.m. in Prospect Park! Register Now!