Fundraising can be a pretty daunting experience, especially if you’ve never done it before. I had never done anything like it, so the thought of putting myself in the public eye to ask for donations – even for an incredibly compelling cause such as Raleigh’s – made my stomach turn. Yet, despite all the worries and challenges, here I am, writing this blog post, having raised £1500 and undertaken the most bonkers journey to achieve it. So, don’t worry, it can be done. Here are some tips I learnt on my fundraising journey.
I raised most of my fundraising through my flagship idea – hitchhiking from John O’Groats to Land’s End without spending a penny of money along the way. But I did have other ideas that I planned and mapped out. I didn’t use every idea, but it was nevertheless incredibly helpful that I planned them out, otherwise I may never have thought of using my work-life network with a cake sale or washing my neighbours’ cars. I found the more ideas I had the better. That way there’s always something to fall back on should your leading ideas not raise as much as you’d hoped.
With all the courage you can muster and a few solid ideas under your belt, the next best thing to do is to network. Sit down, think, and map out all the possible networks you know that you can make use of. I reached out to my grandparents and the management team of the shopping centre I work in. The more you reach out to the merrier. You want everyone to know about the amazing charity fundraiser events you’re running so talk about them, all the time, to everyone, and they will love them and donate. More importantly, reach out to networks in as many ways as you can. I used social media, texts, phone calls, emails, I even posted a letter to a local radio station. Use whichever way is best to contact a network, there’s no point in sending a Facebook message to your grandparents if they don’t use Facebook.
Despite all your best efforts, it’s impossible not to run into some complications. For instance, initially one of my main ideas was to run a car-washing event. I spent a lot of time asking supermarkets and locals schools if I could use their carparks for this, but to no avail. I had to go back to the drawing board and re-think things. What if I don’t need a large public space to wash cars? Why don’t I just go door-to-door and wash people’s cars on their drives? This worked better and I raised another £100 in a day’s work (and met Simon Pegg’s Uncle). The importance here is being adaptable. If a fundraising idea doesn’t look like it’s going to pan out, rework it, or scrap it all together, you always have those other ideas to fall back on!
Realistically though, this all means nothing unless you actually just do it. It took me at least a month and a half to plan out the hitchhike across the UK, a little longer when I count the two other smaller events I ran. However, there was only so much planning I could do before I had to just get out there and start doing them, and that’s when people become truly invested. So, just do it.
This may sound difficult and stressful, but when you actually do it; it isn’t. Fundraising is some of the most fun I’ve had, you meet some incredible new people who have some amazing experiences and insights to share with you. It brings the best out of people. So above all the planning and go-getting, just enjoy it.
Fundraising is a great opportunity to challenge yourself. Check out our Fundraising Pack for lots of ideas on how you can fundraise for your Raleigh programme.