Part 3 – How do you prepare to run across a continent? – Fundraising

Route… Check. Logistics… Check. Corporate sponsors… Check. So what’s next to prepare for you cross continent run? Well as mentioned last week, the majority of crossers will raise money and awareness for a charity close to their heart, by now you will know that my charity of choice is the awesome Spinal Research.

Route… Check. Logistics… Check. Corporate sponsors… Check. So what’s next to prepare for you cross continent run? Well as mentioned last week, the majority of crossers will raise money and awareness for a charity close to their heart, by now you will know that my charity of choice is the awesome Spinal Research.

Now i’m not claiming to be the greatest fundraiser around, far from it, but over the last 4 and a half years of raising money for Spinal Research I have definitely picked up plenty of useful tips and ideas about how to raise the most amount of money possible within your time frame. For a lot of people, facing a target set to you by the charity is daunting, especially when it is for a big event like the London Marathon (Most charities will ask you to raise £2,000+ for your place in the race). The way which I always start my fundraising is to break up the time I have into sections, be it months, weeks or seasons at a time. This way you can concentrate on planning and fundraising in smaller chunks instead of stressing about that big total deadline in a year’s time!

One thing that is worth noting is that no matter what idea you have for fundraising it is worth doing. It doesn’t matter if it brings in £5 or £1,000, all the money adds to your total. Have a look at the sporting calendar and see what big events are coming up, the summer always has multiple events going on; Rugby world cup, crickets, Olympics, Athletics championships, Euros, Skiing, the sporting lists are endless. Use them to your advantage, organise a sweepstake in advance, you can even run multiple ones at the same time, at work, your local pub and amongst your friends. £5 per team at the Euros and you have potted yourself £120 towards you charity for every sweepstake that you do! Obviously it helps if you can offer some awesome prizes, this is where your corporate sponsorship skills will come in handy 😉 If you can’t offer prizes then you can always do a 50/50 prize pot where half the takings goes to the charity and the other half is split between the winners. With a little bit of thought and planning it can be applied to almost all sporting events.

Make sure you talk with you charity’s fundraising co-ordinators, they are their to help you and have a wealth of knowledge behind them.

As I mentioned before that no idea is a bad idea, no matter how small. You may think that bake sales might be a waste of time or not worth the effort, but personally I have raised over £200 from selling cakes and buns at work and the local bars. The best thing is you don’t even have to bake them all, get your friends and family to donate them and the sell them all back to each other, it’s cheeky but they love it and it adds to your total. Most workplaces will be more than happy to help out with you fundraising events at work, be it raffles, fancy dress day, or something larger. Get the whole office involved and make a fundraising week, you could even recruit one or 2 of your work colleagues to spread the word of your fundraising to all of their friends and contacts and bring in more donations! Whilst on the subject of your workplace, be sure to check with your boss or head office as many companies will take part in something called matched fundraising. This is where the will match what you raise for charity up until a certain point, this can be a huge weight off your shoulders as your target has just been halved.

Make sure you talk with you charity’s fundraising co-ordinators, they are their to help you and have a wealth of knowledge behind them. If you are struggling to gain as many donations as you were expecting then they will always help you come up with creative ways to get the rolling in again, after all it is their job.

Looking at the other side of the fundraising spectrum, if you have the time and energy then why not create you own large fundraising event. Be it an Awards Night, Black tie dinner, Late night DJ party, Sports day or car wash, the list can go on as far as you imagination. Again you can call on your number one resource with fundraising… family and friends to help organise and run things. Coordinate with your charity’s fundraising coordinator to make sure that you are covered and haven’t missed any bits of paperwork to make your event “legal” so to speak (Running tombolas, raffles, and events with betting or gambling normally requires permission from the local council, the same applies for street collections). Make sure you keep in mind the 3:1 fundraising ratio whilst running your events. This means that for every £1 you spend on the event you want to try and bring in £3 in donations. So you spend £100 on a fundraising event and you want to try and bring in £300 for your chosen charity. Obviously you want to bring in more than this but keep it in mind as a minimum.

Most people who are fundraising for charity use an online fundraising service as it means that almost anybody anywhere can donate to your cause. When choosing which website to go with make sure that you always check their service charges. I have seens some websites take up to 10% of every donation made! If you are in the fundraising within the UK then I would highly recommend using MyDonate, which is totally funded from the profits of BT. Outside the usual credit card charges they will take none of your donations to fund the website or their services. Ok their pages look a little dated, but for me it is a small price to pay for the charity not losing out on donations.

Remember to have fun with your fundraising, it is not supposed to be a stressful thing to do, you want to enjoy what you are doing as it is an amazing thing. Ill list a few fundraising ideas below for you to try out!

  • Daily steps challenge for a month
  • Party with tombola, face painting and party games
  • Adults party with DJ, date auction and drinks specials
  • Battle of the bands night
  • Local awards evening
  • Sports day
  • Bake sale
  • Swear jar
  • Sweepstakes
  • Street collection
  • Swim-a-thon
  • Bingo night
  • Easter Egg hunt
  • Cookoff
  • Sponsored walk
  • Golf Tourniment
  • Penny Drive
  • Workout challenge
  • BBQ Competition
  • Head shave

HAVE FUN!