Thursday 5 November 2015

it's not as simple as how much you think you care...

I’m trying to think up ways of raising money for our MS Trust marathon fund that don’t just rely on badgering people to give us money. We raised around £7,200 doing exactly that last time around, but I’m acutely conscious that I was holding my cap out for cash not much more than six months ago, and I’m starting to do it again now. It’s just not fair to keep asking the same people for money and to expect them to contribute time after time.

I want to try to be a little more creative this time around.

Clearly, pretty much everything that could be done to raise money has already been done by someone, somewhere (doubtless with a big nose who knows)… so I’m not necessarily looking to be innovative in my fundraising, I’m just looking to do more than just badger people for cash. We did manage a cake sale last time, and, with the help, enthusiasm and baking skills of my friends at our running club, we raised more than £300 in the process, so I imagine that we will be doing more of those along the way... what with my wife being a keen baker and all. It’s really a question of what else we can do to raise the bare minimum of £3000 that we’ve committed to raise (and hopefully more).

I was thinking of a silent auction: we’ve just done one for the charity we’re supporting at work, and we raised something in excess of £3000 in a week. Once we had the prizes gathered, it was an extremely simple process to get the site together on Jumblebee and to watch the bids roll in. It’s a smart site that allows you to enter a threshold bid and it will then proxy bid on your behalf until that limit is reached, emailing you each time your bid is raised. It’s brilliantly simple and encourages you to spend more on something than you might otherwise have done by sparking your competitive juices. From a fundraiser's perspective, that’s genius. If you get people to then pay for their items using a fundraising page on Virgin Money Giving or something, they also contribute gift aid, effectively adding 25% to each item at no extra cost to them.

I’ve started hoarding things that might make half decent prizes, even though an prospective auction will be months away yet. We had Steve Redgrave in the office the other day, and I keep thinking that, if I’d been a bit more organised, I could have sourced a cool photo of him rowing and then asked him if he minded signing it. Stick that in a frame, and you’ve got a pretty reasonable auction lot right there. Well...except for the fact that, if I had a signed photo of Steve Redgrave rowing, I’d probably be keeping that for myself. I suppose I could have bid for it, but that just seems ridiculous. Anyway, I suppose the lesson is that I should keep my eyes open over the next few months to see who is coming into the office to do promotional stuff and try to tap them up. Charlotte Crosby was here the other day too, with Mark Hill the hairdresser… they’re not really my cup of tea, but someone in our silent auction just finished paid £30 for a DVD of “An Idiot Abroad 3” that Ricky Gervais had signed (his office responded to a request we put on his Twitter feed, which is pretty cool of them). Someone else paid more than £20 for a signed Al Murray DVD… so it just goes to show what’s possible. If you’ve got anything you’d like to donate to my prize fund, I’m all ears.

I’m also in the process of negotiating with both Virtual Runner and the MS Trust to see if we can get a virtual run set up. If you’re not familiar with the concept, essentially this is where you pay between £6-15 to enter a race in a particular time window. You then complete that race wherever and whenever is convenient to you, submit your time and receive a medal. It’s not run for profit, so the majority of money taken goes directly to the charity attached to each race. It’s a brilliant idea, and each month, they’re amongst the top 1% of givers on JustGiving and have raised £££££ for charity. If I can get an MS Trust run on their roster, then it will be a fantastic way of raising both money and awareness for the charity. A good medal will get all sorts of people signing up, and a run to raise money for an MS charity – if publicised in the right places – will get people with a particular interest in MS taking part. Susan, who created Virtual Runner, is in my Running Club… so I’ve got my fingers crossed that we can pull that one off.

Mind you, I wll still be shaking the bucket and looking for donations the old-fashioned way… and doubtless I will be talking about little else but running on here for the next 170-days or so.

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