Is your new year’s resolution to give back this year, but don’t know where to start? We asked three fundraisers what it takes to run a charity event.
Develop the idea
For her 60th birthday, Julie Brailey asked 60 people to raise at least £600 for the Alzheimer’s Society and the 60 600 Challenge was born. The Brailey family went on to win the Alzheimer Society’s Fundraiser of the Year (Group) Award at the Dementia Friendly Awards 2017.
“My mum died from Alzheimer’s, so I set up the 60 600 Challenge. We raised more than £85,000 – well over our target.”
“We set the challenge over 12 months to make it easier for people to take part. One of the events was a mass spin class at the Institute of Sport – two sessions with 100 people in each and a team of coaches. Every challenger set up a JustGiving page and we had a core group of supporters – lots of people will initially say ‘yes’ but people can fall away, so have a conversation about what you’re looking for to make it easier to match skills to tasks. Also, throw away your inhibitions and ask for prizes to support your fundraising – many organisations are happy to help.”
Consider the logistics
Una Lacey of Formula 4 Fitness ran The Windy Long One, a four-day fundraiser comprising swimming, biking and running to raise money for John van Geest Cancer Research. She is affiliated with UK Athletics.
“UK Athletics gives me the confidence that I’m putting on a legally robust event. The Windy spanned four days, with different locations for overnight stays. Participants need to know what they’re getting for their money, where they need to be and when, how much training they need to do and what kit they need. As an organiser, you need to decide how flexible you’ll be and how you’ll support them.”
“I asked businesses for sponsorship of a specific element (e.g., cycling jerseys, swim hats). I gave them options to share the cost with another sponsor. I found a phone call to be most effective and offered to place company logos on event clothing and social media in return. Thank your sponsors visibly and have a visible handing over of the cheque, so the sponsors and those who’ve donated see their money has gone where it should.”
Publicise your event
Kesha Armour, RealBody Fitness, ran a charity week to raise money for Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) after being diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome. CRY offers free heart screenings for people aged 14 to 35.
“My aim was to encourage people to get screened; all week I handed out the charity’s information packs. I ran one-to-one sessions but without charge; all I asked was they made a small donation to CRY. I was overwhelmed when every client donated their full fee. CRY provides me with new ideas for fundraisers and the materials I need (banners, t-shirts, etc.).
“I advertise at least one month in advance, so I get a feel for how many people will attend and give enough notice. Word of mouth is great but contacting radio stations and newspapers helps. I’ve had donations from people who heard about it in the media. Facebook is amazing for reaching out to people and raising awareness.
“You can help publicise events by letting people know how previous fundraisers went. I wrote articles for local companies who wanted to know about my event, which provided me with support for subsequent events.”