Team Run 12 are aiming to raise £25,000 this year for Breast Cancer Care and Cancer Research UK and I do not doubt for a second that we will surpass this. There are no real secrets to my fundraising success; my friends and family will tell you that I have no shame when it comes to raising money for our two very worthy charities. I often get asked 'but how?' so, I thought I'd share with you, my Five Fundamental Fundraising Rules.
* figure correct at time of publishing. Includes gift aid.
So you emailed your colleagues 12 weeks before the marathon telling them you were going to do it? Great. Dozens of them no doubt agreed to sponsor you and 'wow'd' over your determination to succeed but have you seen any cash? Unlikely!
As the big event approaches, send personalised emails to family, friends and colleagues including your Virgin Money Giving or Just Giving URL. People simply forget.
Extra Tip: Schedule your emails for two/three days after pay day.
So you've done a cake sale in the office, you've held a little raffle and now you're running out of ideas, with hundreds of pounds still to be raised... Now's time to get creative!
An average first-time marathon runner will run a 4:30 marathon. That means you could listen to around 90 3-minute songs. Ask friends and family to contribute £2 to your fund and they can pick ANY song for you to listen to during your race. Share your playlist on spotify to prove that you really are listening to Abba and The Vengaboys.
I'm very lucky to work in an industry that requires me to speak to lots of third-parties; from publishers to builders. I try and avoid 'begging' emails to these unless I have a good relationship with the supplier (and my employer's permission), but offering businesses something in return can be a sure fire way to raise cash! Make space for four logos on the reverse of your running shirt and sell the space to business owners - as little as £20, some generous businesses will pay up to £250!
Some more 'creative' ideas...
- Hold a 'what time will I finish' sweepstake: ask family, friends and colleagues to guess how long your race will take you, offer the closest guess a prize (50% of the takings or a bottle of wine if you're surrounded by generous people!)
- Contact the school/college you attended and see if they'll hold a disco or dress down day on your behalf.
- Left over chocolates from Christmas? Bag them up. Surely someone likes the coconut quality street...
Whilst thinking outside of the box is great, and a guaranteed way to secure more sponsorship than just asking, they key to successful fundraising is knowing what works!
Most of my friends are aged between 20-27, meaning the majority are quite interested in a good night out. My favourite, and biggest fundraiser to date, was the Team Run 12 launch party. We contacted a local nightclub and were given free use of a 120-person room, we then sold tickets to friend and family for £10. Throw in a magician, a cheap raffle and plenty of alcohol and you're on to a sure fire winner. We raised over £1400 in one night and four months on, everyone is still asking when we're planning to hold the next event. Make it memorable!
Some not so creative ideas...
Here's some cheesy photos of me doing a street collection in Maidstone, Kent last April for Breast Cancer Care! Always get permission from your local council before doing this!
We raised £209.46 in 6 hours!
I am a self confessed twitter addict, having tweeted over 15,000 times on my personal account and nearly 1,000 times on the Team Run 12 account. But it's proven to work, if you do it right!
Sharing photos, video clips and thoughts from your training sessions will help the people you know engage in what you're doing. Covered in mud? Tweet it! Something made you laugh whilst out running? Blog about it. A bad session? Worthy of a 'I need some motivation' facebook status surely?
Extra Tip: Don't constantly spam your link. Balance your sponsorship requests with general tweets about your life, training and tips you've picked up on the way.
Check out the Team Run 12 blog, twitter and facebook, or my old London Marathon Blog and personal twitter for ideas on utilising these tools.
Minimum sponsorship for races is going up every day. Some charities ask for £2,500+ for a place in the Virgin London Marathon, smaller races start at around £250. Whilst it's tempting to take a place from any charity you need to be realistic with your goals.
If you cannot guarantee you'll find the time to raise funds, alongside your training, let someone who can take the charity place. If you're a regular charity runner, there's only so many times friends and family will put their hands in their pockets. Fundraising takes a lot of time, effort and sometimes, more dedication than your training plan.
People often ask me why I'm putting my body through such a gruelling challenge. And having completed just one of the twelve marathons so far, I can already confirm gruelling is a huge understatement. Mentally, I'm fully equipped. Physically, my body is in shock. But my answer to the question is always the same: THE CHARITIES. If I didn't appreciate the work the charities do, I'd be on the road to quitting before I've even really started.
Team Run 12 has never been about me. It has never been about the team. It's always been about our charities. I am so passionate about the work they do, the support they offer and the life-changing discoveries they are making every day, that people cannot fail to notice. If you're running for a charity you don't believe in, it will show.
To support the work that Team Run 12 are doing on behalf of Cancer Research UK and Breast Cancer Care, please make a donation on the link below:
Every £1 donation contributes to the £25,000 we aim to raise.