THON Overall Series: Vicki Marone, Finance
As a part of Onward State’s commitment to help establish more immediate access to THON to the Penn State community, of which it is such a huge part, I have conducted a series of interviews with the each of the 2011-2012 overalls. These are the students who have taken the initiative to lead this organization, so may we all take a moment to learn from their words and help implement their ideas into our continued fight against pediatric cancer. May we always “Brighten Every Journey.”
Onward State: Summarize some of the responsibilities of the Finance Committee, and then the role you play as the Overall within those responsibilities.
Vicki Marone: Finance’s main responsibility is to process all donations made to the Penn State Dance Marathon throughout the year, with the qualification of online donations. We never handle them specifically because it’s a credit card donation, but any other cash or check donation is touched by a Finance Captain before it is deposited to the Penn State Dance Marathon.
Check donations are far and away the largest time commitment. We get a lot of check donations because of the THONvelope campaign. THONvelopes are an extremely successful letter-writing campaign just because of the personal touch that goes along with sending someone that you know a THONvelope.
Otherwise, most of our cash donations come in throughout the year through fundraisers organizations do, like canning. That’s the other big responsibility of the Finance Captain Committee, which is to process and count all the money that comes back through Canning Drop Off the four Mondays after canning weekends. It’s called CDO, and it happens in the HUB. It’s a full day of money counting, and Finance Committee Members help out with that as well.
Finance Committee Members also help to enter checks in their meetings. That’s one of their main work responsibilities in addition to just being a THON Committee Member, which is pretty consistent across all committees.
My role is to oversee all the parts. Donations to THON come in through a multitude of avenues. I also oversee where THON spends money because we absolutely have expenses. When the Summary of Fundraising Activities is released for 2011, you can see all the ways that we spent money last year. Katherine, the Finance Overall of 2011 oversaw all those expenses, but I created the Summary of Fundraising Activities for THON 2011. THON has a budget – that information is never released – and all of the committees are told in advance what they need to spend money on; we absolutely keep our expenses to a dead minimum. Our donation ratio was about 92% last year, and this year it is higher. The American Institute of Philanthropy defines an extremely efficient philanthropy as someone who can donate 75% of their revenues to a charity, and we donate over 90%.
OS: What made you want to take on the position of Overall of the Finance Committee?
VM: I knew that I wanted to last year after seeing Katherine do it. The impact she had on me, I wanted to have on other Finance Captains and the THON community in general. Since my freshman year I have been extremely passionate about THON, and wanted to give back and do more. The first question on basically all the applications for THON positions is “Why do you want to be in this position?” and doing more was always my mentality. It’s standing there THON Weekend, and you look back on what you did that year, and you’re like, “You know what, I wish I could have done more. I wish had given more time, more of myself.”
OS: What are you looking to change/do differently this year with the Finance Committee to help improve it?
VM: Something that’s going to change, in general, is that the THON Store is going to be operating more as its own business this year, which is exciting.
We’re also making an effort with DAR [Donor & Alumni Relations] and Finance to track data better, in all senses of numbers, volunteers, and stuff like that. We have a new focus group called Data FG – Data Focus Group, not that exciting of a name – made up of captains and overalls to really make an effort to track of numbers as they come back in.
OS: What moment or moments are you most looking forward to during this upcoming THON year? Be as specific or vague as you want.
VM: I think the best moments of THON creep up on you when you least expect it, and that’s kind of the beauty of people’s favorite THON memories. That it was kind of a one-off thing that just happened to them; a child did something or something happened that was fantastic. But I don’t think I can anticipate that.
Something I am definitely looking forward to is revealing the theme for THON 2012, and seeing Penn State’s, and all of our volunteers’ reaction to it because I think it’s very indicative of what we as an Overall Committee want to see as the vision for THON 2012.
OS: Why do you THON?
VM: I am passionate about helping people, and I always have been. In my life, I have always been involved in service, and this is such a unique opportunity to truly impact the lives of families and children who are real, and who you can talk to, and who you can get feedback from. It’s a little bit different than donating to a charity, which is gratifying in itself, but this is gratifying in so much more of a tangible way. As a 21-year-old college student, to truly have an impact on others is something that very few other 21-year-olds in the country – in the world – have.
And cancer affects everyone. Cancer has affected my family, so I THON for my family members as well.
OS: Name an event or two that you think will make this year’s Line Dance.
VM: I feel like there’s already been so many. The hurricanes / floods. Osama Bin Laden. I feel like that will be in there too.
OS: Finally, if you could be any dinosaur, which one would you be, and why?
VM: Definitely a pterodactyl so that I could fly.
For more information on THON 2011-2012, make sure to check out the installments of the Overall Series: Merchandise, Hospitality, Morale, Technology, Donor & Alumni Relations, Rules & Regulations, Public Relations, Communications, Supply Logistics, & Special Events, as well as my 10 questions with THON Overall Elaine Tanella. Also, catch up on the rest of the recent THON content: Social Media Pledges Raise Thousands, THON on the TODAY Show, Get Fit for THON Weekend, Color Wars Kick Off, How-To Dancer Mail, 2012 Dancer List, THON Announces Canning Workshops, Mr. & Mrs. THON, Johnson & Johnson Dedicated to THON, THON 2012 Theme, FT5K 2011, THON 2012 Theme, Overall Life Lessons, 2011 Summary of Fundraising Activities, Canning Map Weekend #1, Canning “Do”s & “Don’t”s, New to THON, Canning Weekend #2 Tips, Go Green FTK.