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reach for the stars... tori's superstar skydivers!

Superstar skydiver Tori has organised six global skydives for the Geckos (and counting!), as well as two amazing races in Manhattan and a Global Gecko Giving Day on 11.11.11. She's raised over $90,000 for the Geckos over the past three years... we're so inspired by her enthusiasm, we just can't keep up!

The Higgins' love for Green Gecko is a family affair – Tori's mum Dot and sister Jane volunteered at Gecko in late 2008, and the whole family joined them for Christmas in Siem Reap – the first of many visits here. Her dad Jeff has thrown himself out of a plane three times in the name of fundraising fun, and recently, her sister Claire did her very first skydive for the Geckos over Dubai. And, of course, you can also check out one of Tori's many skydives here.

Tori's also written a reflection about her experiences with Green Gecko in the Qatar-based anthology How Women Succeed: Inspiring women to create their own success, which many of our friends have already enjoyed reading through our newsletter. Thank you, Tori (and the entire Higgins family)!

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Tori Ready to take off! Jeff's skydive
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:: tori's top tips for a spectacular skydive fundraiser!

1. Think of a fun activity that will appeal to people to either get involved with or part with their money. It can be as big or as small as you want it to be. As local or global as you want. As challenging or straightforward. And think about who can be included – various age groups, friends, friends of friends, schools, work places etc. The broader the reach, the more involvement and chance to raise funds. It's all about networking and through organising global skydives I've made some fabulous new friends for life.

2. So many people want to make a difference in the world but don't know how or where to start. In organising an event, you are providing them with that opportunity and I had so many people thank ME for giving them a chance to give back. If people believe in you, they will believe in the cause you have chosen and support you. Reach out to everyone you know to get involved and donate. The people I least expected who I almost didn't contact were the ones that surprised me the most in either doing the skydive or with significant donations for the Geckos. You don't know if you don't try.

3. The majority of your friends will not have visited or will never visit Cambodia and the Green Gecko children. Therefore it's so important you tell them your personal story, why you are doing this for these children, how you feel about it, and why you think it is important to give back. Make your cause personal. I wrote a short account of my time with the Gecko children, my adventures with them and my feelings about helping them. Even if you haven't had the opportunity to visit the Geckos, you will feel passionate about the Gecko cause and giving children a chance of a childhood. Explain that to your friends and why it's personal to you.

4. Create an identity for your event. You can't underestimate this. For every race around Manhattan, every skydive, I have always organised Gecko team t-shirts for participants. This pulls the team together and creates a sense of unity for the same cause. Having Geckos on our t-shirts is also something the children can identify with when they see pictures and videos afterwards. It also unites a group that may not know each other to start with and creates an identity towards the same goal: raising money for the Gecko children.

5. Cambodia is a very different world to where you live and it's hard to imagine that world if you haven't been. People want to know how their money is making a difference. I found it very important to let friends know how far their money can go in Cambodia, the huge impact it can make in Geckoland. For example, that the cost of one drink in New York, $10, can put a child in school for a month in Cambodia. I approach my fundraising with the mindset if I can encourage a lot of friends to give small donations at the very least, this all adds up to a large group donation. And that's what it's all about in the end.

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Tori and mum Dot with the Geckos Dubai's Palm Jumeirah The Higgins family
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:: setting up your own fundraiser page

Be a Gecko hero and set your own personal challenge! From fun runs to head shaves and even skydives... your challenge can be as creative as you like and is limited only by your imagination.

Setting up your own fundraising page gives you a quick and easy way to collect donations from family and friends around the world. Our fundraising sites process donations by credit card and automatically send out receipts... so all you need to do is decide on your own personal challenge and get started! To set up your fundraising page just follow the instructions for your country by clicking below. If you have any questions or need help, please drop us a line.

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Awkoon tom tom (thank you big big!) for your support, from all of the Geckos. :)

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