Choosing to run a marathon for a charity is a really rewarding thing to do. The thought that your fundraising efforts will go towards important causes and make a valuable difference, will get you through even the toughest of miles. In 2016, runners competing in the London Marathon managed to raise the incredible sum of £59.4million for a range of charities and organisations.
While fundraising and asking people for donations may seem like a daunting task and require a lot of time and effort, there are lots of innovative and fun ways to raise money. Here are some tips to help make the process as simple as possible and ensure you hit your fundraising target.
Set up a donations page
First things first, you’ll need to set up an online fundraising page. Here are a few of the most popular fundraising pages that people typically chose to use:
Tips for creating a compelling page
Your page is your opportunity to tell people your story: what inspired you to run a marathon and why you’ve chosen your specific charity. So, try to be as personal as possible. This might seem daunting and scary at first, but opening up and getting personal will encourage people to get involved, stirring their empathy (and their generosity!).
Be sure to give plenty of detail so people know exactly what you’ll be doing – this is not the time for modesty. Make sure readers are clear on how much effort you’re putting in, and how much sacrifice it will require. In doing this, your determination and commitment becomes clearly evident.
Another good tip is to include plenty of detail on what your friend’s and family’s donations will actually be used for. Try to be as specific as possible, for example ‘Your £20 donation will be used by my charity to pay for X amount of hours of research’. This will help people get a clear image of exactly what their money will be achieving, allowing them to visualise their contribution in a tangible, real-life form.
How to promote your page
Use multiple social media channels
The key here is to get your story in front of as many eyes as possible. Make sure you post your page and story on as many social media channels as possible – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, your blog (if you have one), and anywhere else you can think of. Make sure you post it often and consistently to remind people frequently about what you’re doing – if you only post it once or twice, people tend to see it when they’re busy and then forget about it. If you post it numerous times, linking it to interesting and fun content, like the beautiful sunset you saw while training, you’ll attract attention. Bear in mind that people have more time on their hands and are more likely to view your page and donate during their downtime. So time your posts to be in the evening or at the weekend when people aren’t at work.
Use your connections
You’re running for a great cause and putting in a lot of work and effort, so now is not the time to get embarrassed about asking people for their support, or to worry about being ‘annoying’. You’re doing a great thing, and people will be happy to help if you ask. Be sure to ask your friends, family and colleagues to share your posts, and, mention it to anyone who you think might be interested.
Use word of mouth
While social media is often the best way to reach the most people, don’t underestimate word of mouth either. This can be really useful, especially with older generations, who are less tech-savvy – just mention it your gran, and you’ll be surprised by how lucrative her phone calls to her friend can be!
Consider using the press
On a larger scale, make sure to contact your charity and let them know you’re running for them. They may be able to give you advice and contacts, sending you to any media channels that might be able to publicise your event. If you’re running for a more general cause, like a cancer charity, contact all the relevant associations and groups to see if they could help promote your page. Be bold and you’ll be surprised by how many people will respond!
Top tip – make sure you select the Gift Aid tick box
Charities are able to claim back the tax on donations at no expense to you if you tick the Gift Aid box. They can claim 25p for every £1 they receive and this extra money can make all the difference.
Tips for raising money
Ask people in person
People are much more likely to help and donate when approached in person. This will make the request personal, allowing you to go into detail about why you’re running, what inspired you, and how your training is going. Your passion and determination will show much more clearly face-to-face. Also, when you post online, people are able to see your page and ignore it without any real sense of guilt or awkwardness, in person you’re much more likely to get a positive response.
UPDATE YOUR SUPPORTERS WITH YOUR TRAINING
Keep your supporters updated with your progress by posting updates about how your training is and letting everyone know how it’s all going in the lead-up to the day.
Make it obvious why you’re doing it
Be very clear about your reasons for running a marathon. The more personal you get and the more passion you show, the more likely people are to respond to you.
Set a manageable target
Avoid disappointment by setting a target that is achievable. Realistically work out how many people you know that’ll be willing to help, how much each person is likely to donate, and work from there. Try to lean to a more conservative figure in your head, it’s better to be pleasantly surprised by surpassing your target, than disappointed by a smaller figure.
Consider running in costume
If your main motivation for running is to raise money and you’re not too bothered by your time, definitely consider running in a funny or thought-provoking costume that will attract people’s attention. Think of it as on the day advertising, that can help in last minute donations, while providing spectators with a laugh.
The British Heart Foundation | David Lloyd’s official charity
David Lloyd Clubs are proud to be supporting the BHF as their national charity partner and aim to raise £200,000 over the next two years to help support their pioneering research into cardiovascular disease. Our clubs across the country will be holding a series of fundraising initiatives throughout the year, taking part in BHF campaigns and events, and doing their utmost to help members lead active and healthy lives.
So far this year, we’ve raised over £174,000!
Visit our BHF page to learn more.
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